How To Write Testimonials

What Does Google Like?

I’ve written before about the holy trinity of the Google Caffeine algorithm – Content, Backlinks and Activity – these are vital to persuading the Google spiders that your site is worth pushing up the rankings for your chosen keywords.

Having testimonials praising your work/service/product is a great way to show that, not only do you provide a great service, but that people are reading and interacting with your site. Happy clients should be encouraged to register their satisfaction on your website.

How To Write Testimonials

However, your satisfied customers need to know how to write testimonials that will encourage prospective clients to pick up the phone but also please the Google spiders. It is not enough for your regular patrons to express their gratitude in monosyllabic superlatives. ‘Great’, ‘Fabulous’ and ‘Outstanding’ are wonderful in a face-to-face reference but, for the purposes of local search engine optimisation, they are far too generalised and, therefore, meaningless.

Any review needs to be a complete sentence which includes a few of the keywords that relate to the site/service/product/industry in question. So, whether it’s a massage that sorted out your injury, a website design service that drove traffic to your business or a yoga class that you enjoyed, those specific words need to be mentioned in the testimonial in order for the comment to be indexed in the correct place by Google. However, care should be taken to ensure that the wording does not seem too contrived as this will lose credibility with the search engines – it isn’t always necessary to be geographically or product specific at all times. For example, you don’t have to specify the type of massage or yoga every time you mention those generic terms.

And, as with any content search engine optimisation, all accompanying pictures should also include relevant keywords in their ‘alt’ tag.

Done with care and combined with great content and relevant backlinks, the writing of testimonials can be a key part of your local SEO strategy.

Having said all that, you should not overload the site with such praise – five to seven should be sufficient – and any additional testimonials should be directed towards some of the free local listing or social search sites on which you are listed, such as Yelp, Free Index or Qype. Some business owners even offer some form of incentive to encourage their clientele to do this – 10% off on their next visit, that sort of thing.

Computer-savvy customers can also be persuaded to ‘like’ your fan page on Facebook, tweet the url of your website on Twitter and bookmark informative pages or posts on social media sites like Stumbleupon, Digg or Delicious.

Great service is no longer about being personally thanked vocally or by letter, it’s getting your expertise out to the wider audience and, if your clients know how to write testimonials effectively, these can really help your Google ranking.

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Social Media Marketing for Business Framework

A really useful list of criteria for setting up a social media marketing for business framework from Social Media Examiner. It’s all very well talking about using social media for advertising but you need to have a proper strategy that addresses the method behind achieving a positive end result.


#1: What is the goal?

You’d think this is an obvious one… but you’d be surprised how often people skip this step. Another tip: start with the business goal, not the communications goal.

#2: Who is the audience?

Give yourself some depth here. Go beyond demographics and ask yourself what do they look like, sound like and whom do they hang out with when they’re using your product?

#3: Where is the audience?

This an obvious question, especially when you consider social networking platforms. But go beyond the obvious to the not-so-obvious, as in where they are in their lives. It will add a lot of depth to your analysis.

#4: How can I connect with my audience?

Don’t just define this in terms of channels. Ask yourself – from a creative, offer or conversation perspective – how can you best connect with your audience?

#5: How do I extend the conversation?

This is where that yin and yang thing really comes into play. Once you’ve made that initial contact and gained permission to have an ongoing conversation, what do you plan to do next?

#6: How can I get my audience to introduce me to others?

When was the last time you saw this section in a marketing plan overview? Don’t let that be a reason to leave it out of your plan. If you’re going to do something truly integrated, you have to think beyond the conversation to the recommendation. Recommendation is where the real money lies, so think about how you can get your customer to give you one.

The Value of Integrated Thinking

Which do you think would be more effective today – simply pushing the same message in all channels or customizing the role of each channel (and the message) to fully leverage the power and limit the weakness of each channel? And if the answer is obvious to you, why do you think more companies and brands aren’t doing it?


Tom Martin
is Founder of Converse Digital. He works with companies and ad agencies to help them monitor, create and engage in digital conversations to grow market share or increase customer loyalty.

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Creating Website Content for Small Business Customer Relationship Management

Despite what some experts may tell you, engaging in social media marketing for business will not produce results quickly. This is a long-term game with connections being made and interaction being undertaken.

However, one of the main problems is learning exactly what to say to promote small business customer relationship management on Twitter. You only have 140 characters and, as I’ve mentioned before, endlessly Tweeting uplifting but recycled quotes is going to become tiresome. This is why you need to utilise a blog or RSS feed for creating website content that is interesting and informative which can then be referred to via a link in a Tweet or Facebook status update.

As a writer, with a bit of research, I can produce relevant articles that address the needs of a website’s audience but this should also be accompanied by a mixture of other transmission methods because not everyone learns effectively through the same type of media. This is why content creation should involve video, audio as well as written posts. Sometimes, it is possible to just transpose my own writing into audio or visual media but at others I need to be a curator – searching the internet for information that will appeal to the website’s audience, whether it be by links, utilising article directories, retweets or rewriting less well composed articles to better relate the ideas.

The next area to be addressed is the question of frequency. How often do you need to post to satisfy both your reader and the Google algorithm’s need for refreshed content. You don’t want to come across as just another marketer by overloading people with useless information, but you don’t want to give the impression that furnishing your site with new content is low on your list of priorities.

And, finally, quality control. It’s all very well having software and automation in the form of RSS feeds, but you need to check what’s being submitted in your/your client’s name prior to publication. You must watch the videos and read the articles that you are offering to your audience as informative content on your client’s behalf. Vet everything, as poorly written content or bad advice will not reflect well and could damage your site’s reputation rather than enhance it.

The best advice when creating website content is to choose your output carefully to ensure that you become a trusted source of valuable information and drip-feed its release.

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Social Media Marketing For Business

A 2009 survey by Alterian discovered that 66% of companies will be investing in social media marketing for business strategy in 2010.

Listening first and then communicating and engaging have become “musts” for any successful social media campaign and a large proportion of those companies plan to utilise more than 20% of their traditional direct marketing budget in social media.

However, it’s all very well saying that but how should a small local business get the best out of any social media interaction? We know that just bombarding potential customers with direct messages or continually linking to products just turns their attention away so what’s the best method of engaging and connecting?

Here’s a great post that talks about how to integrate social media marketing for business with traditional advertising methods.

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Business EMarketing – Social Media Marketing Is Dying

When I read this article by Duncan Wierman, I have to admit that I agreed with him. I get so many people who either friend me or thank me for following them on Twitter by sending a Direct Message.

Invariably this is just a ruse to send me a link to their affiliate/product page. This is a really bad way to go about your business emarketing.

The way social media is supposed to work for marketing is that you friend people in order to build a relationship with them. You don’t sell… unless they ask you to. And they won’t ask you to unless you have built up a level of trust.

It’s all very well using software to search Twitter and Facebook for those individuals who are talking about keywords that relate to your product/industry so that you can interact with them – but they’re not stupid. If you only do it to bombard them with ads every time you post anything, they’re going to delete you pretty damn quick.

Certainly that’s what I do when it happens because I suddenly realise that I have an inbox full of ‘spam’. So the strategy really does have to be slowly and softly. You make them aware of your brand through the Twitter User Name or Facebook Fan Page but, otherwise, you don’t mention your product or services.

The whole thing that needs to be remembered when formulating a business marketing plan is that it takes seven exposures to your brand for someone to be ready to buy. That’s subliminal messages to their brain, be it through the logo on your company van, an ad in the local newspaper, a post on a relevent blog, a signature in a forum account on the subject, your Twitter account or Facebook Fan page.

Just like a virtual Derren Brown, you are sending them cues that will hardwire their brain to put forward your name if and when they have a problem that could be solved by your product/service.

Constantly ramming it down their throat will only cause immunity, bad feeling or deletion.

I thought long and hard about actually including the article because it is an article with a resource box that refers you to a type of software that builds leads by not using social media. However, in the spirit of article marketing, I have done the right thing as I think he makes some valid points.

Social Media Marketing is Dying
By Duncan Wierman (c) 2010

If nothing is certain, one thing is – social media is losing its magic. What once was a new and improved way to keep in touch with your closest loved ones has become just another sales pitch to convince you to sign up to another dreadful business prospect, newsletter, product, or service. There is no opening or closing – simply raw advertisements that lack sincerity. The people advertising their products don’t care about you or your general interests. They’re too set on the idea that you’re going to sign up and turn them into a success.

What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that the advertisements lack taste and real value, or could it be that the people who want your business care less about who you are and what you are interested in?

What business entrepreneurs are forgetting is that they are on the other side of the fence of social media. They are on the advertising end, which means without a real connection to the “the people,” they are getting nowhere. At some point, a real connection needs to be established or otherwise all efforts to make a sale or spread the word are pointless.

The truth? No one cares about you unless you care about them, particularly when it comes to social media. Let’s say that you’ve got an account with Facebook. Each day when you see those tiny red notifications, you’re dead sure that they signify a message from your friends or family. Unfortunately, you open your inbox and all you see are loud advertisements. What do you do? You delete them, and you do so automatically without any interest whatsoever about what they say.

Advertising gurus are no longer “gurus,” they are simply annoying spammers who have no clue what they are doing. Business owners are missing the point. If their emails are getting read, it’s only by other advertisers just so they can compare tactics and techniques. Another sad part of it all is that no one is coming up with new techniques. Everybody is following someone who they think is successful, but in reality, no one is making any money because of their lack of effort and knowledge.

If you haven’t noticed (and you most likely have), all online entrepreneurs go about advertising their businesses in the same way. First, they request you as a fríend or become a follower (Twitter). Some of them may greet you with a “thanks for the request” or some other similar phrase, while others jump straight to the point and start bombarding you with their “winníng” sales pitch. Who are you more likely to communicate with? Nothing screams “delete” louder and faster than a sales pitch.

Some of the “thanks for the request” people might actually make it, as long as they don’t jump the gun too quickly. Unfortunately, the majority of them end it right there and automatically go on a link-posting frenzy, and immediately begin flooding your inbox with details about their products with no mention of how they might benefit you individually. It’s almost as if they are “demanding” that you purchase from them without any clear reason as to why.

On the other hand, some people are making sales. They are the ones who take their time in getting to know people. They ask questions and take a true interest in their prospects. Developing customer relationships is the most important part of advertising on social media because in the real world, customer relationships are a must.

It helps to wear the shoe on the other foot. Picture walking into a store with workers that aren’t friendly and don’t seem to have your interest anywhere in their top priorities. They are anxious for you to purchase something and that is it. They don’t care what you purchase or why, they just want your money. When you leave, they want you to come back over and over, even if you’re not interested in what they’ve got. It’s a horrible experience for both you and them.

When you look at it from a different perspective, it helps to see why social media is dying for your company. What people want is warmth and a display of interest in who they are, not lousy sales pitches. As soon as business professionals establish a connection, then they might have a chance, but until then, it’s best to just stick to more familiar means of advertising and leave social media to what it was always meant for. Bring common sense back to your marketing.

About The Author
Former Software CEO turned Internet Marketer. Duncan Wierman shows you how to use creative marketing methods to create a full time income online. Duncan is the original creator of the software that finds business LEADS and converts them to income. Get a trial copy at:
http://www.onlineleadfinder.com/

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