One of the biggest excuses we get from people wanting to move from 1:1 client service work to the 1:many model in the digital world, is that it’ll be harder to grow because there is no referral based system. In the service world (in-person) we know you rely heavily on the testimonials and referrals of others who love your service. So, when looking at moving to the 1:many model you clam up by thinking that you’ll have to find each and every one of your clients or customers yourself.
Well, clam up no further, boss! There are tools you can easily implement to recreate the power of word-of-mouth (bonus: they’re free!).
So, we all know that asking for testimonials and reviews is great for business. It helps you get feedback from that client or customer so you can tweak your process if need be, and it gives you copy to use to market your product or service in the future. The issue at hand is not that you don’t know you should be asking for reviews or testimonials, but how you’re asking for them.
WHAT TO ASK
We tend to base our asking for the referral or testimony in the way that we are asked for them as consumers. Think to when you get that extra code on the bottom of your Target or Starbucks receipt for you to answer a quick survey for a chance to win a million dollar gift card.
They ask questions like:
How would you rate your experience (insert number or star rating scale)
Would you come back to this establishment?
Was it clean?
Was the service you received a good value you for the money?
Did those questions just put you to sleep? Sorry, we nodded off.
The problem with questions like this is not only are the boring, but you get boring responses in return. You get a lot of “yeses” “5’s” and some arbitrary star rating with no context. This does nothing for you.
For Target, yes, it helps them meet certain data stats that they can then use to make high level decisions. That data isn’t useful for the small business owner, so stop asking for it.
Instead we need to be reframing our way of asking so we begin to get the answers we’re wanting. No, we’re not saying you can hack a positive review with just how you ask it, but you can begin to formulate glowing (lengthy) testimonies just by how you phrase the question.
Consider the questions we ask our students after they complete our recent Trello for Business course. First, we name the survey “Tell Us How Trello Changed Your Life”. Here is a quick glance at the survey our students fill out.
Can you begin to see how we could turn around and use their responses to market our program? We could say X number of students say they’re “totally addicted to Trello” because of Trello for Business. We could say here’s an example of what your life might look like right now (insert someone’s Pre-Trello for Business life) and here are they things you could begin to accomplish (insert someone’s a-ha moments since using Trello for Business).
So, take a look at your own products or services. What things would you want to be able to say about them? How could you form that into a question so you know when your clients or customers answer them you’ll get useable data?
HOW TO ASK
Now that you know the super sexy enticing questions that will get you the response you need for future marketing materials how do you actually get the questions in front of your clients or customers?
It doesn’t have to be rocket science.
We personally like doing survey or form type questionnaires that are simple, short, and sweet. We personally make ours inside our website, Squarespace, we just keep the page unlinked so you can only find it if we give it to you.
We like making course and product specific surveys so we can fine tune our responses even more. For the survey that our Trello for Business students take, we’ve built it right into the program as a lesson. So their profile doesn’t even look “complete” until they click to take the survey. It’s built into Teachable as a lesson with just a link that takes them to the form we’ve built on our site.
Now, you’ve just got to deliver it to them. You can either follow our method and add the link or embed the form directly into your offer (could be at the end of a PDF lesson or built into the course page), email them the direct link, or make it a public page on your site.
It truly depends on what you offer or how you want your audience to see your survey. Adding incentive is something you could try, but it’s not something we’ve ever done. We just focus on creating a bombass product that people are chomping at the bit to tell us how they feel about it.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE SURVEY
Maybe a survey doesn’t make sense or you’ve done the survey and you’re wanting even more personalized feedback. For a few of our programs that are more in-depth like Biz Chic Co-op or The Money Making Creative we include a chance to give us a testimony as part of an email sequence.
It’s setup similar to this:
Purchase the program
Get welcome email with program info
Get at least one check in email to see progress
Get a final email after they’ve been enrolled for at least 90 days asking for their story
This 4th email is titled “Make us ugly cry at our desks”. We thank them again for investing, ask them how the program is or was going, and ask them to get real with us. We want the whole enchilada. Why did they buy? What’s happened in their business since buying? We want to feel like proud mama bears so it’s their chance to go to bragtown.
People love this email.
They never know when they might be a case study or be featured on the sales page or social media when we talk about the course so they truly give it all.
Does this route of asking for testimonies make sense for your business?
Okay, so now we’ve got the testimonies and reviews down, but what about referrals? How can you get word-of-mouth about what you’ve got to offer spread like wildfire?
Seriously, it’s that easy and one of the biggest missing pieces for today’s online entrepreneur. Here’s how we do it. When we host a webinar you have to pop in your email to sign up for it. Once you do you’ll get added to a webinar email sequence. The first email is your confirmation that you’re registered and the second is asking you to share about it. But we don’t just ask….
We use the subject line “open if you need something to post on Instagram today”
We provide at least two images/graphics for you to share
We provide a full paragraph or two for you to add to your caption that’s ready to simply copy and paste
We provide a tweetable that’s as easy as click-to-tweet
We thank you for doing it
We’ve gotten so much great feedback from these emails. People are excited that they have a post taken care of for that day (we know you’re flying by the seat of your pants) and we’ve made it super simple for them to do so.
It may start small with just a few people sharing here and there, but that’s okay. It’s still nice to see the tag pop up on Instagram that someone shared your image and about your offer. This isn’t just limited to webinars either! We’ve done this same strategy when we’ve sold seats to workshops, courses, etc. You can tweak this strategy to fit whatever makes sense for your business.
So there you have it. The meat and potatoes of how we capture raving reviews and glowing testimonials from our audience. The goal here is to create an easy to use system not only for you, but for your purchaser as well. The simpler the better.
Formulate the questions to get the answers you need
Make it simple to use and access
Ask your audience to share for you
Can you try any of these methods in your own business?
Let us know which one you’re going to implement in the comments!