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Rave Reviews

On the web, customer testimonials speak louder than advertising.

Putting testimonials on your website can persuade visitors to become your customers. But don't passively wait for visitors to find your business--use testimonials placed on other sites as a beacon.

If you sell products, promote your items in shopping communities such as Amazon.com, BizRate, eBay, Overstock.com, PriceGrabber.com and Shopping.com. Not only will you reach a whole new audience of shoppers, but these customers can also give you glowing merchant reviews within that community, which will persuade even more shoppers to buy from you. And because shoppers can often sort merchants by the number of reviews or review ratings, scoring well gives your business extra exposure.

To encourage your happy customers to write reviews, just ask them. Request it in your order confirmation and shipping confirmation e-mails. Add this to your packing slip, too. Remind customers every chance you get.

Do you sell services, not products? No problem. Although customers probably won't promote your company on their company's website, they may happily recommend your service on their blog. That's because blogs are generally used to share information. Getting praised on blogs is great, especially if bloggers link to your website. Prospects will see these testimonials and follow the links to your company. Plus, when prospects look up relevant keywords in a search engine, the blog post that praises your company may appear in the top search results. That's a priceless perk that costs you nothing.

It's also OK to ask for what you want to be written. For example, want to spread the word about your stellar customer service? Then ask your clients to write about it. If you want customers to talk about the results they achieved thanks to your product or service, ask them. You can give your customers ideas for what to write, and you'll help shape the message that's being shared about you online.

Testimonials may be small pieces of content, but you can leverage them to bring in prospects as well as close more business.

Catherine Seda, a 12-year internet marketing strategist, is author of How to Win Sales & Influence Spiders and dean of LA College International. Get her free "Top 10 Internet Marketing Mistakes" report at www.catherineseda.com.

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This article was originally published in the June 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Rave Reviews.

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