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Issue 5
Sunday July 3, 2011





Letter from the Editor

Welcome back to the latest issue of the Shoestring Entrepreneur Newsletter!

I want to wish everyone a happy Fourth of July!

I'm looking forward to relaxing with family, eating good food, and just enjoying the day. Of course there will be some competitiveness to the holiday.

Whenever my family gets together for any special event one thing is sure - we will be playing some kind of sport. Whether that be basketball, football, volleyball, street hockey or whatever. It can get intense sometimes and I love every minute of it.

This weekend is a time to get away from your business for a bit and get refreshed and energized. Enjoy the time and remember how great this country, with all the freedoms we have, is and those who sacrificed to give us these gifts in the first place.

In this week's newsletter, I'll share an article titled "Testimonials" which is the fifth part of my Marketing 101 series.

To your success,
Brian Carson


Marketing 101: Testimonials

by Brian Carson

Testimonials, also known as social proof, are one of the most powerful sales tools in your marketing arsenal.

Testimonials from your clients and customers provide proof of your claims and position you as the #1 choice in your market.

The most potent form of testimonials are not ones that talk about how great you and your products are. Strong testimonials are filled with stories of how you helped your customer. They are full of details and specific results achieved.

Don’t just settle for written testimonials either. Go for the gusto.

With the deep penetration of broadband in most American homes, video is now becoming king on the Internet. Take advantage of it.

Instead of just text, use audio and video testimonials for massive social proof on a worldwide scale.

Inexpensive video cameras like the Flip Camera are everywhere. Grab one and take it with you whenever you interact with your customers.

Always get the testimonial when they are the happiest with your product or service. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials. Shyness will get you nowhere but broke.

Try not to coach the client what to say in a testimonial unless you have to. The more open and spontaneous the better.

The best way to be a collector of testimonials is to interview your client asking specific questions such as:

  1. Why did you choose us?
  2. What was your experience like?
  3. What benefits did you get by using our product/service?
  4. How did we perform for you?
  5. Were we easy to work with?
  6. Would you choose us again?
  7. Would you tell others about us?

These are just some examples to use as a template. Please add your own questions based on your business situation and interests.

If you are just starting out and have zero customers or clients, then offer a freebie in exchange for a testimonial or give your main product or service away on a trial basis in exchange for a testimonial.

 


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Maufactured Proof

Even if you're just starting out and have zero testimonials you can still win by manufacturing social proof using case studies, statistics and research done by others that highlights what your products or services are about..

In order to get repeat business three factors are needed: 1.) the customer wants the product or service again; 2.) you created unbelievable value; 3.) the customer was happy with the quality and service rendered the first time.

A second purchase is your cue to begin building a deep, lasting relationship with that customer. Don’t let it go to waste. This is how the big money is made. If they are happy, ask for the testimonial right away and get them in many forms as we talked about earlier. That includes audio, video, and written.

Social Proof With Guarantees

The type of proof we're talking aboout comes in three forms: social, documented and guarantees.

You must use all three if you want to get the most from your efforts.

The guarantee, while mentioned least of the trio, can be the most important., provided your guarantee is powerful enough.

A strong guarantee can reduce resistance almost immediately. A power guarantee can be so persuasive that when combined with a compelling offer is almost impossible to ignore. It can turn prospect's emotions into a frenzy where they have to have what your selling. That's the goal to strive for. Creating customer evangilists.

You want to turn repeat buyers into champions for your business. You want them to be word of mouth, tipping point, buzz marketers for your business and brand. Just like Apple, Starbucks, and Google have done.

There are two types of guarantees - conditional and unconditional. If you can, always strive for the unconditional. It's more powerful and will actually reduce refunds.

Get Social Proof By Going Social

Another effective way to drum up social proof is by using social media.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others can help you build a strong brand and give you loads of social proof to use in your marketing arsenal.

But be careful.

The flipside is also true. If you provide mediocre products or lackluster services the word will get out and your reputation could be damaged beyond repair. Always strive to provide outstanding value and quality in whatever you do.

Be creative and put your thinking cap on and you’ll be able to come up with some great ideas for your testimonial collecting.

Don’t take collecting testimonials lightly. With distrust levels at an all-time high, gaining solid social proof is not an afterthought, but a necessity for every business, online and off.

You can never get enough testimonials. Make collecting them a top priority in your business and marketing efforts.

Brian Carson

Brian Carson is the president and CEO of the Market Ownership Group. Before founding the Market Ownership Group, a marketing consulting/business coaching company, Brian owned three brick-and-mortar businesses that he ran profitably for over 15 years. Brian sold them off to focus all his attention to the formation of the Market Ownership Group, founded in 2008. Brian has created marketing strategies, done for you marketing materials and given advice in a diverse range of businesses, from restaurants to barber shops to online only businesses to small retail stores, and financial advisors. If you would like to grow your business to new levels of profit and growth, or if you need help starting a business from scratch, email the Market Ownership Group at bricar@marketownership.com.

 

The Brian and Lee Show

On this week's episode of THE BRIAN AND LEE SHOW, Brian and Lee interview speaker, success coach, author and founder of the Millionaire Mindset Entrepreneurship Coaching program ™, Carol Sankar.Her new anthology entitled Cheers! To Your Success, is a powerful compilation of testimonies from various visionaries sharing their journey of success through the peril of struggle. Carol has been featured in several business journals, radio shows and magazines, including a recent feature in Career Magazine as a “Mover & Shaker Under40.” Mrs. Sankar is an inspiring visionary who coaches her clients to live life with abundant vision.

 

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Brian and Lee Resources

Copyright 2011 The Brian and Lee Show and the Market Ownership Group. All Rights Reserved.