Here are three alternatives to increase your testimonial numbers or their quality.
Create an online diary or blog, use an auto responder method, set up a form on your web site or set up a survey.
1 -- Set up an Online Diary
Usually an online diary is a fun way to keep friends and family up to date on what is going on in your life. Online diaries can also be used for testimonial submissions with conversational style recommendations about your product/service. Online diaries are offered on many web sites, even famous persons like Oprah, Dr. Phil, or Tony Robbins do them.
You set it up on their site and paste the page link into your "thank you for your purchase" auto responder on your web site or into other marketing materials. Include a 1-2-3 learning experience on what is included in a good testimonial with various examples. People will appreciate the learning opportunity by taking the time to complete the process. In addition, their quality will increase.
Online diaries are updated frequently, thus giving a higher perceived value. They also have a warmer conversational style that increases reader connection. Because a diary is considered "private", it increases curiosity and they will read longer.
Two additional blessings are that you will save transfer time and others will read the other comments.
The offside is that you will want to monitor the entries to avoid some kids having fun.
You can also enter regularly updated customer comments received through other means on how the product/service improved their life.
You can increase credibility by including the customer's profile. Include their picture or audio testimonial or a video segment of them using the product. You can also scan in and include handwritten letters or notes you receive.
A blog is an upgrade of the online diary with additional controls.
There was once an online diary software available to help you set up your own online diary, however, blog software replaced it.
Set up your own diary at: http://www.diaryland.com/
. They provide a personalized URL: your-name.diaryland.com. I recommend this resource because I like the personalization
Here is a course on how to set up an online diary at: http://personalweb.about.com/cs/htmltutorials/a/310emailcourse.htm
Here is some great startup information on blogs:
2 -- Auto responder Method
After they make a purchase or receive a freebie, set up an automatic auto responder requesting a testimonial. You can include a link to the online diary as the only choice or as part of multiple submission options.
If you offer an ecourse, forward them a progress report request. This can easily be set up in the auto responder system for easier production. Ask them no more than 3-5 questions that don't encourage yes/ no answers. Ask them to rate their learning experience or make suggestions too.
All about auto responders:
How to Write a High-Profit Auto responder Series
How to Use an Automatic Responder for Effective Prospect
3 -- Fill-in-the-Blank or Multiple Choice Form
You can design a "fill in the blank" or "multiple choice" form in HTML or in text. HTML is easier to complete yet it can take too long to download if they are long and some international browsers also take long to download HTML.
You can send the form through an auto responder system before or after completing something. They make the purchase before/after you automatically send them the form. The form makes submissions easier for them to complete and will increase the response rate.
There are software packages and vendors who will set up this form and track the results for you.
How to Write HTML forms:
3. Web Survey Collecting
Use web surveys to gather their recommendations. There is software to help you create surveys and track the results. Survey hosting can be an online based or PC-based product.
Web Survey Software
Perseus Software: Free trial offered, several versions available, price range $495-$995
Hosted Software http://www.hostedsurvey.com/
Survey Pro http://apian.com/
. Basic is free, upgrade is $19.95. They offer a great comparison chart that I found very interesting.
Free White Papers, Articles, and ebooks on Survey How-tos.
How to conduct a web survey:
Top-10 Web Survey Issues and How to Address Them
Set Your Web Survey Goals
Perseus offers seven different white papers that will expand your knowledge on taking surveys.
*** BONUS ***
Four areas that will increase the quality of your testimonials:
1. Ask them what their goal was for using the product/service.
2. What positive emotions did they experience by using the product/service?
3. Did they experience any reduction in fears and concerns after using the product/service? What worries were removed from their lives? (Before and after picture)
4. How did _______ help other people in their lives?