Your customers are always mindful of budgets, but even more so in tough economic times. Prospects do not want to act as a beta group. Your product must deliver what it promises – saving your customers money, making them money, or providing the tools to make more efficient use of the money they have. Testimonials and endorsements are persuasive because word of mouth is the number one influencer of purchasing decisions and reason why people buy.

Successful companies know that a pool of reputable and satisfied customers is critical to sales success. In fact, some companies even have specific employees whose job it is to gather case studies and distribute them to their prospects. Most small business owners do not have the resources to designate a “case study” specialist, but they can easily adopt some of the techniques used by the world’s most successful companies. One proven strategy is to steal a page from the Apple playbook and invite your customers to share the spotlight, either in person, on video, or at the very least through quotes. The most effective way nowadays is video. Build a gallery of testimonials you can share through social media, on your website or at any potential events!

Don’t forget the media. Sharing the stage with publications that rave about your product will improve your message. Although Americans rate journalists among the least trustworthy professionals (only one step above politicians), a favorable endorsement from a top-tier media outlet or blogger still carries weight, giving buyers confidence that they are making a wise choice. Successful companies that launch a splashy new product usually have tested it with a group of partners who have agreed to endorse it publicly or distribute review copies to the media and influencers. This arrangement gives those companies instant references, endorsements, and testimonials. Your customers need a reason to believe in you, and they want to minimize the risk associated with a new product or service. Having experts, customers, or partners testify to the effectiveness of your product will help you overcome the psychological barrier to participation.

Director’s Advice

  1. Upon release of a new product or service, make sure you have customers who tested the product and are available to back your claims. Media reviews are also helpful, especially from highly reputable publications or popular blogs.
  2. Incorporate testimonials into your presentation. The easiest way is to videotape your customer talking about your product, edit the tape to no more than two minutes in length, and insert it into your presentation.
  3. Publicly thank employees, partners, and customers. Do it often.

Resources That Could Help You Get Your Product Notice

HARO – Help a Reporter Out

Peter Shankman’s “original baby” has been around as a Facebook group since 2008. It works just like ProfNet, and it is currently owned by Vocus, whose services (for example PRWeb) are in direct competition to PR Newswire. HARO, or Help a Report Out is more popular than ProfNet since it’s based on a freemium model. There are paid subscription packages too, each with its own benefits, but the average company can use their service without charge. HARO offers sources real-time media opportunities, straight from journalists on a deadline needing a source. Trusted by reporters from Yahoo!, Reuters, Inc.com, SheKnows.com and many others. Make use of this service to advance your PR efforts.

My Blog U

Myblogu is a free service for bloggers, journalists, and experts to help each other with ideas and finding sources. Upload your content there for others to reference, brainstorm with media sources and writers. The site was opened in 2014 and is relatively new, but its creation is about helping people build on what they have and know while using a teamwork format when help is needed.

Cision

Cision offers you software for your publishing and PR needs. You buy their software and can use that to access various sources, as well as use their system of templates and tools. You can also use their media and blogger database with more than 1.6 million contacts to reach influencers, build awareness, and publish content to sites like Fast Company, Time, and CNN. Their software also allows you to track media coverage across the net.

Muck Rack

Muck Rack is designed for communications professionals, to connect with journalists and bloggers in meaningful ways. It is membership based, with the cheapest plan at $99 per month. All plans include features such as custom media lists updated in real-time as journalists change jobs or positions and alerts when journalists tweet or link to your company, industry, client or competitors’ stories. So you can pitch them, locate, follow, hire, or scoop journalists by searching their beats, titles, tweets, and full-text articles, pitches, and much more.