Word of mouth (WOM) advertising is one of the best, and free, forms available to all businesses, from the very large corporation to the solo entrepreneur. All of us, as customers, trust products that others have recommended to us. If you aren’t incorporating testimonials into your marketing plan, you are missing out.

If you aren’t using testimonials, I’m betting it is because you are too shy or modest to ask for them. If you truly believe in your product or service and its value to your customer, then you know they appreciate it. Customers are often far more willing to recommend you than you think. Just ask! A key factor in success in all of life, and business, is asking for what you need.

If you are having difficulty doing this, there are some easy ways to get started. Social media allows you to as from a distance. LinkedIn offers a recommendation feature and you can ask people you have worked with or for to provide you with a recommendation. Once received, you can repurpose this into a variety of media: your Web site, your business cards, your brochure. Be sure to ask for recommendations from people you are willing to recommend. This simple exchange helps you both.

You can also send out survey cards to customers. Ask them to return a pre-posted card with some feedback (you’ll want the good and the bad for your own information) about your goods or services. Provide a small check box asking if you can use their input in marketing materials and then give them some sort of “freebie” for returning the card.

Similar to the mailed survey cards is an online survey. If they are small surveys, you can find free services to do this. Larger surveys might cost you but are still more affordable than postage. Be sure that you are continually collecting your customers’ email addresses so that you are able to implement this.

For those customers who are extremely loyal and who you have strong personal relationships with, ask if you can get a quick video testimonial from them. You can use most camera phones to record 30 second video. An affordable Flip UltraHD Camcorder
is another great, easy-to-use tool for this. Carry the camera with you and you’ll find more opportunities to capture recommendations than you thought. Ask your customer what they appreciated about working with you or how they benefited from your product. Keep it simple, make sure specifics are discussed and then plug it onto your Web site.

Try these simple techniques to improve your WOM marketing and to build a loyal customer community.


by Steven Schlagel