Want to Boost Conversions? Promote Positive Customer Feedback

by Chris Birk

Positive customer feedback is to entrepreneurs what a vacant U.S. Senate seat was to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich: A [bleeping] valuable thing.

Who else loves a pat on the back? I know I doI relish in it just like Blago. And why not? If you use the feedback right, those glowing recommendations and words of praise are powerful tools for strengthening your brand and credibility with consumers.

The problem is that scores of website owners fail to capitalize on the great feedback loyal subscribers and customers provide them. Or worse, they don’t know how to solicit that type of feedback, and what, exactly, to do with it once they’ve got it.

You already know how great you are. So do your satisfied customers. Why not embrace your inner-Blago and let them do the bragging for you? And if you’re stuck, here are a five ways to capitalize on your positive consumer feedback:

1. Encourage Feedback of All Kinds

When you encourage all types of feedback, you can learn a lot about your customers and how they feel about your products and services.

Now you may not want nutty screeds and expletive-laden rants, but you don’t just want the touchy-feely stuff either. Remember, the negative feedback is key because it helps you discover how you can address potential sales objections on your website.

Tip: Encourage all types of feedback by asking for it explicitly, both on your website and in more individualized communication.

2. Reward Feedback with a Gift

So you want all types of feedback, but how do you get your customers to give you it?

You can give away a gift or other promotional items to people who take the time to provide thoughtful feedback, positive or negative. Granted, people tend to say nice things when they’re getting rewarded, but remember, you need positive consumer feedback anyway.

And if you’re looking to get some negative feedback, allowing anonymous contributions will help you get inside the mind of all of your customers.

Tip: If you’re looking for some gifts to give away, some of your existing sponsors may want to lend a hand by offering their products or services because it’s another unique way to get more website promotion.

3. Create a Testimonials Page

Once you’ve culled enough positive responses via email, submission forms, and even handwritten correspondence, you should put together a clean and crisp customer testimonials page.

Now you may think this feels like shameless self-promotion, but don’t worry. When people are about to plunk down some of their hard-earned cash, they’ll want some reassurance.

How should you highlight your customer feedback? You should choose your most compelling testimonials, ask your customers for permission to use them, and for even better results, encourage your customers to give you a photo or video too.

Remember, credibility is a big hurdle with testimonials. You must ensure that your potential customers believe that they’re real. To do this, consider following this checklist:

  1. Do you have your customer’s full name?
  2. Did you highlight where your customer lives?
  3. Did you include a picture of your customer?
  4. For your business customers, did you highlight their logo?
  5. If customers submitted an email, be sure to include the greeting (for example, “Dear Bill”).

In short, do whatever it takes to quell any questions about the authenticity of your testimonials. If you want to see a company going it right, check out the customer wall at 37 signals.

Tip: The testimonials page for our VA loan company is one of the most important pages on our site—borrowers routinely reference the anecdotes when contacting us. When you’re creating your testimonials page ensure that each testimonial connects with a potential customer in a similar situation.

4. Develop a Separate Customer Testimonials Website

Sometimes that single testimonials page isn’t enough. Often times, disgruntled customers, whether they have a legit gripe or not, will render their displeasure in blog posts, comment fields, and other social media avenues.

While you should encourage all types of feedback, you don’t want the negative stuff cluttering up your search results, which is why a separate testimonial website serves as a key role in what industry experts call online reputation management.

Tip: How can you begin tackling these complaints? You could use a premium service like Trackur, or you could set up Google Alerts, use Twitter search proactively, scour Google Blog search, or sort search results with the new time-stamp search on Google, which is found under “more search tools.”

5. Write Full-Blown Customer Profiles

This concept requires much more time and effort, but the payoffs make it more than worthwhile because nothing shows more authenticity than a full-blown article detailing how one customer or company uses your product.

Now you may be wondering, “what do you mean by a customer profile?”

To elaborate, It’s a miniature profile,  500- 750-word story, of your customer and what brought them to seek your product or service. More specifically, you should illustrate the generalized theme and struggle of your customer, and explain, unobstruvisely, how your company cured the customer’s problem, or otherwise made their life better.

The challenge here is two-fold: finding the right customers who are willing to share their story and then carving out time to obtain and then reconstruct their stories for consumption. To get you started, here are four quick tips:

  1. Avoid first-person pronouns and strive for a more objective, journalistic tone.
  2. Let your customers convey their personal experiences in their words, meaning, use lots of quotes.
  3. Put a premium on your customer privacy. Make sure people know that their name, picture, and problem will be broadcast to the masses, and give your customers an opportunity to scrutinize the final draft.
  4. Customer profiles can be time consuming for your customers. Incentivize them with a gift, or future discounts.

Tip: If you wanted to take a different approach, you can let your customers write the profile themselves. It’s more personal, and can be quite persuasive because it’s coming directly from your customer. As an example, earlier this year, Alex Fraiser showed us how he makes money online with Thesis, and it was a huge hit.

About the Author: Chris Birk is director of content and communications for Military United, the nation’s leading VA lender. A recovering journalist, he also blogs at Write Short Live Long.

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