Testimonials Key for Small Businesses Looking to Capture Word of Mouth

How to have the most effective advertising.

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Becky McCray
You already know that the most effective advertising for your business is one person telling another. That kind of natural word-of-mouth referral carries more weight than all the advertising you can buy. Testimonials are how you capture and share that enthusiasm.

When a customer, employee, vendor or anyone else starts telling you how great your business, service, or product is, ask them immediately to share it. Get creative about the format.

Write it down. Hand them a piece of paper, or offer to make notes as they talk.

Pick up the camera. Shoot a picture of them with your product. In fact, why not invite people to submit their own photos?

Pick up the phone. Have an Utterli account? Dial it up, start the recording, introduce the person, and act like you're doing an interview. Ask them why they like you, and hand them the phone. Ask a couple of follow-up questions, because they'll get more comfortable and start to sound more natural as you go on.

Turn your camera to movie mode. Do simple video interviews, just like with audio.

Give them something. Hand over some stickers, coupons, or just about anything with your brand on it. You're giving people a reason to share their enthusiasm with others.

Save the E- mails. When you get a happy E-mail, immediately reply to ask permission to share those kind words in the future.

Give them online sharing tools. Add delicious, StumbleUpon, and other buttons to your site so people can endorse you with a click.

Next week, we'll discuss some innovative ways to share those newly captured testimonials.

Becky McCray is a small-town entrepreneur, the co-owner of a liquor store and cattle ranch. She writes about small business and rural issues at Small Biz Survival, based on her own successes and failures. As a consultant, she helps small businesses and small-town governments to get funding and get things done. Becky is also a noted speaker on small-business issues. She blogs at Small Biz Survival.

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