Despite economic recession most small business customers do not expect a decline in revenue over the next year and expect to make additional investments in website design, search engine optimization and email marketing to expand their business, according to a survey released by Register.com
The findings highlights are
- 55% of respondents have registered more than one domain name for their business
- 41% saw more than a quarter of their total revenue from web sales
- 20% don’t know how much revenue they are getting through their site
- 70% of the respondents don’t expect their web revenue to decline despite economic conditions
- Top areas for technology investment are website design (53%), SEO (43%), and email marketing (41%).
Register.com CEO Larry Kutscher said "Having a website has become more than a luxury for small businesses and entrepreneurs, it is a necessity." Kutscher continued "Our small business customers know that investing in a great website is a more effective way to reach potential customers and stay in contact with existing clients. The response to our survey shows the result of this investment, as a majority of customers expect no decline – and many expect growth – in their web revenues over the next year."
Register.com received replies from more than 800 of its small business customers, 72% of which responded that they are an owner or partner of a small business. The survey was conducted over a three week period, April 28 – May 16, 2008.
Testimonials for your website are a powerful marketing tool. Your website is a great place to advertise the wonderful things your customers might say about you. Testimonials are great way to differentiate your company website from your competition. If you are particularly customer service driven or you have the widest selection of products then this will bear out in comments your customers will make about you. So how do you ask for a testimonial for your website without pestering customers and how do you accurately record it without demanding a signed, written statement from a customer.
The ‘How’ of Getting a Testimonial
The best way for you to get a testimonial will really will depend on your business. If you have a restaurant, then a customer comment card might be a good idea. Just put on the card that comments may be used on your website. If you have satisfied regulars that you chat with you could explain that you are looking for some feedback from your very best customers and would they mind you using their comments on your website. If they are happy to fill out a form or comment card, great, otherwise just make short accurate notes. Other B2C (business to customer) businesses could use a similar approach to using comment cards but if you work on a B2B (business to business) basis then you have a couple of options. You could send a personal letter asking for feedback or as part of a questionnaire but I find a customer service phone call is the best way to elicit useful feedback. This really has to be a customer service call and not a sales call, so first explain why you are calling and check they have the time to spare for this. Start with asking them about the products or services you have provided and make a few short accurate notes as they talk. Once they have covered all the ground that they want to and you have handled any issues they may be having, you can be sure that you have a satisfied customer. At this point you can simply ask them, it is as simple as that. I would say something like, ‘Thank you for your time today and thank you for your feedback. Would it be OK with you if I posted some of your comments in the testimonials section on our website?’ If they are genuinely happy then nine times out of ten they will be fine with having their comments posted.
The ‘When’ of Getting Testimonials
There is definitely a right and wrong time to ask for a testimonial. The right time is shortly after a successful sale. In the restaurant this could be as the coffees are served (assuming you will have checked that they have been happy with their meal). With a B2B sale this could be a few days or a few weeks after the product was delivered and could be incorporated into any usual customer service calls you might make. The key is to strike after the sale while the customer is most excited about your product, before that enthusiasm dies down.
A Final Note about Website Testimonials
Some marketers and Website Owners believe that testimonials should be written and signed by the customer but this is a bit over the top. Using the methods I’ve outlined above will get you plenty of genuine feedback that you can use. Also, some marketers and Website Owners will make something up and then get then the customer to OK it (and some customers ask for this also). This approach has two issues. Firstly you are missing a genuine opportunity to connect with your customer and make sure that they are happy with your service and secondly, your testimonials will all sound the same and represent the message you want to go out rather than the genuine advantages your business offers that your customers find important.
Ok, so by now we have all heard about Social Media how it works, how much time it takes and what’s involved, but maximising time for such web Marketing remains a challenge.
We were brain storming the other day during a meeting on how we could increase our productivity within the company’s networking activity. How we could still be active on our twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blog accounts while:
- It doesn’t consume all of our time
- We get a ROI on the time we do commit
Here are some of the suggestions that we came up with and thought we would share them:
- Be firm with either yourself or your staff’s time. Allocate an amount of time that you are going to participate in networking/social media and stick to it, there comes a point where ‘you can do no more’ to increase effectiveness so don’t waste valuable time.
- Don’t be shy at offering links, interaction buttons or even invitations wherever possible.
- Send out an E Newsletter to promote, publish and round up the months networking activities.
- Link your networking together with apps like http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/twitter-tools/
- Don’t *over do it*. Blogging, tweeting and profile updates that are done too often, seem to lose credibility quickly. Post often (@ least once a week), and post quality.
- Give things away. Don’t worry we’re not suggesting you give away a secret formula just give away enough to make your followers a) keep following and b) recommend you as a valuable/credible source.
- Measure! See our previous article. The above will all be totally pointless if you don’t.