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Okay, this week we're moving on to "higher education" with Website Conversion 101. It's a practical lesson and so easy to apply you'll wish someone had told you about it sooner.
Now, as you already know, people are skeptical as hell. They don’t trust anybody… especially on the Internet. The intangible nature of web businesses makes them inherently shady to an already skeptical consumer. That's a problem.
Fortunately, you know the solution: the #1 most powerful way to overcome skepticism is with testimonials. There's nothing like a little "he said/she said" to convince consumers how much people just like them have benefited from your product, service or expertise.
Let someone do the bragging for you instead of tooting you own horn. (Although you do have to toot your own horn from time to time as well.)
And instant "killer copy." Testimonials are worth their weights to gold. The words and "trust me, this works" message they convey can beef-up your headlines, web copy, email messages, order page language, P.S., follow-up emails… whatever.
Even though you might not use every testimonial immediately, you'll want to gather as many as you can to use in the future. Think of them as "something for a rainy day."
I don’t really care how many testimonials you have right now; you need more. It's like the old MTV slogan says: "Too much is never enough."
The bottom line is that you can never have too many testimonials. Here's why:
Let's say you're doing a sales letter and have 50 testimonials in your "pocket." You don't have to include all of them in the letter. Pick the best of the best… the most enthusiastic and flattering of the bunch… and use them. You don't even have to use them in their entirety!
You can feature snippets from the Top 10 and then have a link that opens up a new page with the complete testimonial and the other 40 that didn't make the first cut.
This way, you don't interrupt the flow of your letter with a huge block of testimonials. Instead, you give your reader a option to "Click Here" if they want to see more “proof”.
Okay, that's my theory on testimonials. Now let's get to the action you need to take…
Instead of hoping and praying that your customers might send you a testimonial whenever they feel like it, you need to chase them down like a Kodiak bear goes after Alaskan salmon.
The best way to do that is to build your request right into your marketing message! That your “system” automatically collects testimonials for you.
Or are you worried that you're going to need a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen?
Come on! You know me better than that! I wouldn't steer you towards a complex, difficult-to-manage business process. My two favorite letters in the alphabet are E-Z.
And testimonial "farming" is actually quite E-Z to automate.
First of all, you've gotta make sure they’ve used your product. If your customers haven’t used and benefited from what you offer, how the heck can you get a testimonial from them?
Let’s say you’re selling the Widget Weigh Station, a piece of exercise equipment with a built-in scale. It's in your best interest to find a way that's effective and cost-effective to "facilitate use."
It could be a manual, could be a video, could be a DVD. Whatever. The key is to provide the support, motivation, and impetus to get your customers to actually USE the darn thing.
To make it more likely that your customers do their "reps" and see the results of their workout with the Weigh Station, include some sort of instructions on how to assemble the machine and how to use it.
Most people don't want to find their own way. They're looking for leadership… someone to point them in the right direction. And you know what I always say:
Give the people what they want! Lead them!
If you’re selling an information product like the $397 Widget Real Estate Home Study Course, include a quick jump-start CD or a step-by-step guide on how to study or “consume” the course.
Start with this CD first, and then read that manual, and then watch this DVD… you get the idea?
Now, remember, this is the first step on the road to Testimonial Acres. Because the more people use/consume your product, the more benefits they enjoy. And the more benefits they enjoy the more satisfied they are.
And the most satisfied they are, the more likely you are to get mountains and mountains of rave reviews and solid-gold testimonials.
Of course…this all assumes that your product/service is exceptional and deserves the accolades! If you're trying to pass off a sow's ear as silk, none of this applies.
But, I assume you're one of the good guys (or gals) in the world of business and that you're selling a product or service of genuine value. So let's move on to the next step.
Set up an autoresponder series
Did you just break out into a cold sweat, horrified at the prospect that you're going to have to write a bunch of killer emails? Well take a deep breath and calm down…
I've got a gift for you.
You don't have to beg, borrow, steal, or (heaven forbid) create your first message. I've got a prototype you can have with my blessings. I don’t mind. (But do send me an email and thank me though)
You'll certainly want to "tweak" the contents and modify it until it fits your business like a hand-tailored suit, but this will give you an idea.
Were you surprised to see that I asked for a photo and an audio testimonials? Don't be.
Through extensive testing, I’ve found out that a testimonial with a photo and an audio produces pulls much better compared to just a plain old written testimonial.
But don’t believe what I say, why not test it and see for yourself?
I use Audio Generator (http://www.danlokrecommends.com/audiogenerator.html) for this important function. When I signed up with the service, I was given a personal toll-free testimonial number where my clients can just call in and record their testimonials.
It doesn't cost them a penny and it's convenient.
People can be lazy or procrastinate about things that are important to THEM, let alone something like a testimonial that's important to YOU.
That's why you want to make it E-Z (there are those letters again!) for your customers to share their thoughts.
Think about the alternative: you have software that sits on your desktop that can convert MP3 into a flash audio button.
Seems good for you, but what about your customers?
THEY have to record the testimonial on their own, send it to you, and then you convert it to a flash audio button. What a pain in the butt.
And, ultimately, not so good for you, after all.
Here's something else that's not so good: vagueness.
Vague testimonials are not believable because they don't communicate anything tangible. “Oh, I love Widgets” and "I think Widgets are very good.” are compliments, but they don't describe how a consumer benefited from using widgets.
A good testimonial is descriptive.
It communicates exactly how the customer benefited. "Thanks to Widget, I lost my love handles and gained the love of my life." or "Now that I use Widget Fertilizer, my tomatoes are twice as big and twice as tasty."
A great testimonial builds up trust, but that trust can be lost in the blink of an eye.
Imagine this scenario: you see a great testimonial saying how great a product is. You're all fired up that "someone like me" has weighed in, but when you read further, the testimonial is signed "John" or "J.S."
Talk about "buzz" kill.
People don't trust initials. They're one step above an attribution of "Anonymous" and do nothing to inspire confidence.
The attribution information is your customer's way of saying, "I stand behind my words." To avoid Initial Shock, get permission to use the customer’s full name, business name, occupation, URL, or business address, if appropriate. The more details you have, the more believable your testimonial will be.
Oh, one more quick tip:
Whenever, someone sends you a nice email with praise, thanks, or any kind of compliment, you should immediately respond with a thank–you. And while you're at it…
Ask permission to use the content of the note as a testimonial. (Get them while they’re HOT!)
Okay, that's it.
You're now ready to go bag some testimonials... and with your "automatic weapons" you should be able to get quite a few.
Today, more testimonials… tomorrow, more inquiries, more prospects, more customers, and more sales.
That's a Lok!
--------------------------------------------------------------------- Dan Lok is known as "The World's #1 Website Conversion Expert", with a proven track record of selling over $25.7 million dollars of merchandise and services. Dan has resuscitated copy that was previously in "critical condition" and helped his clients to double and triple their conversion rates… some as much as 417%!!! More than 200 websites have been "Lok-ed" and loaded for Internet action. Go to: http://www.WebsiteConversionExpert.com