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Another Simple Tactic For Increasing Your Customer Base and Growing Your Small Business

Aug 17, 2007
Entrepreneurs often find it difficult to grow their small businesses. They struggle with the effort and expense involved in traditional marketing methods, and the limited budgets they have to work with. However, there are four extremely powerful and practically free marketing tools that we all have at our disposal, but we often over look.

Let's take a look at one of the easiest techniques for growing a small business on a shoestring budget:

Take Advantage Of Customer Testimonials

The next best thing to customer referrals is customer testimonials. Testimonials help put your customers at ease. They break down doubt and buying resistance. Plus, the customer who gave the testimonial becomes more loyal (just like the customer who gave a referral).

We all know that testimonials are extremely powerful, but it still amazes me how few small businesses actually use them. Every single bit of marketing you do should include customer testimonials. Every sales letter, every display ad, every radio spot. Even your brochures and business cards will be more effective if they contain testimonials. So, from here on out, get in the habit of including testimonials on everything!

What's that you said? You don't have any testimonials? Well, start collecting them NOW by using the following tips:

1. Create a mechanism for collecting testimonials. A fill-in-the-blanks form works great in most circumstances. Be sure to ask for your client's full name and permission to publish the testimonial.

2. Ask for a testimonial right away. This strategy has two benefits. First, the details of your service will still be fresh in your customer's mind. Second, buyer's remorse and refund requests will be reduced once the client has "taken a stand" for your service.

3. Ask for a specific testimonial. For instance, you can say, "Kathy can you jot down a brief description of how we took care of your squeaky brakes?"

4. Ask your customer to describe the problem she was having before using your product or service. This helps your prospect identify with the customer giving a testimonial, and also helps aggravate the pain the prospect is experiencing (aggravation is part of the selling process).

5. Try to get a picture of your customer to use along with the testimonial. Keep a Polaroid or digital camera handy for this purpose.

So, what should you do with all these testimonials once you've collected them? First and foremost, use them in every single bit of marketing that you generate. Here are a few more ideas:

1. Compile your testimonials into an "Important Tips" free report and use it as a lead generator.

2. Create a CD of audio testimonials that you can send to prospects.

3. Play a DVD of video testimonials on a loop in your waiting room. This is especially effective if you have testimonials about products or services that many of your customers aren't aware that you offer. This makes great covert "advertising".

4. Plaster your written, audio and video testimonials all over your website.

5. Post your testimonials on a huge bulletin board in your lobby and include photos of your customers if you have them.

6. Use corresponding testimonials in your advertising. Are you creating a coupon for a coolant flush? Include testimonials about how great your coolant flush service is.

7. Use complimentary testimonials in your advertising. Running an oil change special? Include testimonials about your tire rotation service.

And just like referrals, it is absolutely imperative that you come up with a special way to thank the customers who gave you testimonials. More than likely, the clients who give referrals and testimonials are your best and most loyal customers - and you want to keep it that way!
About the Author
Karen Scharf helps entrepreneurs and small business owners attract and retain more clients. Karen offers several coaching programs and a Marketing Makeover to turn your current, ineffective advertising into a new and improved system. She also accepts full service marketing assignments. Check out her FREE reports at http://www.ModernImage.com.
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