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Newsletter #830: The “How to Get Great Testimonials and Reviews” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

If you’ve been following the blog this week, you know we’ve had a review and testimonial theme going on. Today’s newsletter continues that thread by focusing on exactly what you need to do to get great reviews and put them in front of prospective customers.

What to do:

1> Ask for testimonials and reviews
2> Get permission to share them
3> Your press releases
4> Link to compliments already on the web
5> Check it out: Amazon’s funniest reviews

1> Ask for testimonials and reviews

Happy customers are glad to give you a review or testimonial. But they won’t think to do it without a little prompting. Try something simple like, “Would you mind giving me a short recommendation?” You should also have a form on your website where anyone can submit feedback of any sort. You’ll be surprised by how many customers take advantage of the opportunity to tell you what they think.

The lesson: Your fans would love to help — usually all you have to do is simply ask.

2> Get permission to share them

It’s important you get permission to use a customer’s testimonial in your marketing material. It doesn’t have to be a formal contract, but do get an explicit okay in writing or in email. The easiest way to do it is to add a simple checkbox to your feedback forms. Or, anytime you get an unsolicited compliment, feel free to send a note that says something like, “Thanks for the kind words. May I quote you in our marketing materials?”

The lesson: The only thing worse than having no testimonials is having great ones that you can’t use because you forgot to get permission.

3> Put it all on your website

This is the whole point! Now that you’ve got great reviews, testimonials, and recommendations from your happy customers, put them where everyone can see them. Put them on your homepage, on your sales or product pages, in your footers, and anywhere else visitors might see them.

The lesson: Love from your fans isn’t worth much unless your potential customers can actually see it.

4> Link to compliments already on the web

Once you’ve got a website full of positive word of mouth, go surfing for anything else online. You’ll find a ton on blogs, posted on Twitter, and in forums. Link to all of these. As long as it’s posted publicly, you don’t need explicit permission.

The lesson: Encouraging happy customers to post new reviews is great — but don’t forget about all the existing praise already online.

5> Check it out: Amazon’s funniest reviews

Most of the reviews on Amazon are simple, genuine, and helpful blurbs about the quality of a product. But every once in a while, a product comes along that inspires an entire community of Amazon reviewers to post hilarious mock reviews. To get an idea of how great these can be, check out David Pogue’s exploration of the reviews for the Laptop Steering Wheel Desk (and be sure to check the comments section for other gems).

Check it out: The New York Times

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