During a business expo hosted by the Maple Valley Chamber, I was flipping through a handout from a certain non-profit.
I noticed that the pamphlet I had been given contained several testimonials singing the praises of the organization.
Then an idea popped into my head.
Why not create a testimonials page for our shop’s website? We had plenty of happy customers who would surely be willing to share how glad they were to do business with us. Thankfully, I was correct.
Our Testimonials page provides a way for new customers to see what of our present clients have to say about the shop.
I’ve heard that the secret to good marketing is to study the methods of those who are doing it best and then copy them. This is how military forces the world over better themselves, the principle being equally applicable to business.
Taking a look at several nearby businesses, I saw that all of the best ones used testimonials from their clients.
One non-profit in Federal Way has a series of blog posts dedicated to relating stories of people their organization has helped. They often carry an emotional tinge to them, meant to pull heartstrings and summon the reader to action.
Elsewhere, a local car dealership has a whole page dedicated to allowing customers to share their experiences buying cars through the firm. This shows that they trust their customer base and that they’re willing to listen to them.
Having resolved to create such a page for the shop, I immediately began sending out messages to some of our most loyal clients in order to obtain testimonials from them.
This was much easier than I anticipated. Several of our clients were more than happy to provide detailed statements explaining how happy they were with our services. This was quite encouraging.
A little later, Kristin, our graphic designer, had a brand new Testimonials page up and running on our website! We plan to add to it as we get more testimonials.
In a nutshell, testimonials are a great way to hype your business because they give you credibility by bringing in a third party, like a witness in a court case, to validate your product or service.
We strongly encourage you to let your customers speak for themselves when it comes to marketing your business. Give your fans a means of communicating their happiness with you, and they’ll do the rest.
Early on in my career at the Renton Printery, my boss told me about the importance of SWAG.
““What’s ‘SWAG?’” you ask? According to my boss, SWAG stands for “Stuff We All Get.”
You collect a great amount of it whenever you go to a trade show or business expo where the booths hand out free stuff to those attending.
Handing out SWAG is not only a great way to increase brand loyalty, but it is also reminds people in a fun way that your business exists.
What type of SWAG is best for your business depends on what sort of business you run. But SWAG is important to all businesses who want to establish a strong following of loyal customers.
SWAG can be anything from pens, notepads, and bumper stickers to refrigerator magnets, tote bags, and key chains.
Two features define SWAG:
For example, whenever we go to a trade show, my boss and I always make sure to bring free football schedule refrigerator magnets, free window decals, free notepads, and so forth.
But why must your business flood the market with (more) cheap junk? You’d think that people have had enough of these things already!
The truth is that people can never get enough of this stuff. The power of free is never to be underestimated. You never know who might want your company’s branded tote-bag when they see it offered at your booth.
Maybe this person wants to re-gift it her friend whose shopping bag is to getting old and worn.
Maybe someone else has a proud tote-bag collection and is eager to add more to it. I have at least two such bags, and I cherish them dearly.
The power of “free” combined with the psychology of gift-giving endears people to your business. They associate the value of what they received with the giver.
For instance, low quality SWAG leads people to think of the giver as a source of low quality goods or services, never mind what their actual product is.
By contrast, useful, cool, or fun SWAG, like my trusty green tote-bag, is a reminder that this company helped you.
To put it another way, the moment you think of a product you need or want, and you know that the person who provided your prized SWAG is looking to sell you that product, who’s the first person you’re going to call
Now that you’ve been convinced of the power of SWAG, gentle reader, you might be asking, “Well, that’s all well and good, but what kind of junk— err, I mean SWAG, should I give out?”
As stated, the Renton Printery gives out notepads, window decals, and magnets, but what about your business? It all depends on what kind of business you run and the customers you want to attract.
If you’re a bank, for instance, you want to provide SWAG that is useful, like my tote-bag, and therefore makes the recipient believe that the services of that bank are also useful.
If you’re a B2B commercial printer, like us, then you want to provide SWAG that communicates the soundness of your product and that might be used by someone who spends a lot of time jotting down notes. Hence, our notepads!
SWAG is a staple of marketing, and has helped our sales efforts here at the shop greatly. Pens, notepads, and magnets are like candy to customers. They’ll eat up your free stuff and might later feed you business.
A strong knowledge of your products and customers combined with a little creative will help you utilize this tactic to the greatest degree. If you understand these two things, you will know just what sort of SWAG to use!
Marketing Director at the Renton Printery. Providing advice on print-buying and business, along with notes on the state of the shop.