Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 21 – Why Customer Testimonial Videos Are Effective

Today has not been my friend. It's one of those days where nothing seems to be going right and I'm racing against the clock and losing badly. So as i try to get this video and blog out first thing in the morning, I realize that sometimes that is not going to happen and I need to just live with it.

Anyway, one of the reasons I was rushing today was the fact that I was shooting a customer testimonial for one of my clients. Because of that, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about why testimonial videos are so effective.

You may have seen my recent episode about selling experiences which got a really great response. The point of the video was that people can most likely find what you’re selling from multiple sources but they buy from you and come back because of a positive experience. That’s why authentic customer testimonials are really effective because they are telling that story.

When we share those positive customer experiences we are establishing credibility and laying a foundation to build trust. That’s because this customer giving a testimonial had such a great experience that they were willing to go on camera and share it. That is so much more compelling and believable than you telling me you offer the best service.

Don't believe me? Check out this testimonial we shot for the same client last fall:

When shooting a testimonial, the focus should be on how the client felt at all stages of the process. That’s what your potential customers will connect with because really, we all want to be that success story, to know we put our trust in your company and had a positive experience from start to finish.

So ask yourself who are your clients with the best stories, the ones that make you look like a superhero who went above and beyond the call of duty. That’s who you want telling your story.

See you next week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 20 – Avoid Wasting Advertising Dollars

Today I want to talk about how easy it can be to throw money at advertising and hope for the best. Well hope no more, here are 3 simple things that you can do to avoid wasting your advertising dollar.

 

I know a lot of businesses that still invest in print and in certain markets and certain publications, that is still effective. This is a public service announcement/rant that I want to share with you about a call I received a while ago from someone selling print advertising but it illustrates a lot of vulnerability that I think we all have when it comes to any form of advertising.

I live in a relatively small town, cottage country sort of area and I know pretty much all of the print publications that are around. One day someone calls me to tell me about this amazing opportunity to advertise in a magazine that goes out to all of the country clubs in the area. He’s telling me that it is the best way to get in front of wealthy clientele (which is not really my target) but he went on and on about other businesses that were eager to advertise with him. He also insisted that I commit today.

I asked him to send me more information. I wanted to see more demographics, distribution numbers etc. It was kind of a nice way of saying I’m not interested but if it really is a good opportunity I may bring it to the attention of some of my clients.

So red flag number 1, I had never heard of this magazine. To me it sounds like a pretty good scam to assume that I don’t frequent country clubs and therefore I would just forgive the fact that I’ve never seen it before. But red flag #2 was the urgency. I managed to get off the call with “I’ll think about it” and he called me the very next day. At this point I told him flat out, no, I’m not interested. That’s when I discovered how full of it this guy actually was. He pretended to act surprised, almost hurt claiming “wow, no one has ever said no before, I’m seriously surprised”. Really? You’re cold calling and you’ve never heard no before? Shut the front door...

My point is that there are lots of great and legitimate advertising opportunities out there. However, this call pointed out how easy it can be to waste your money because we all want it to be easy. We want to pay money so that we can get more business and that’s it. I wouldn’t doubt that this salesperson has made sales because that’s exactly what he was selling and he was doing a pretty good job right up until he turned into Dwight Schrute.

So here are 3 simple things that you can do to ensure that your advertising dollars are not wasted:

  1. Always ask for demographics - The onus is on the advertiser to show and prove that their audience is right for you. If they can’t or don’t provide enough information then it might not be worth it.

  2. Track your success - Digital advertising can be easier than traditional media but you want to actually review those results. Back in my direct response advertising days we had complex tracking involving unique phone numbers for each channel and publication and we would review our responses weekly and cut anything that was not working and invest more into what was working. Now I don’t expect you to be as thorough as that but you can easily create different email addresses, or simply ask new clients how they heard of you. It’s not perfect but it can give you some sense of what is performing and what is not.

  3. It might be your ad - It’s not always the channel that isn’t performing. Consider that your ad may need to change. It may be that it doesn’t stand out, the message isn’t right, or the call to action gets lost. There are a lot of reasons why an ad doesn’t work so switch it up.People don’t like seeing the same thing over and over again anyway so keep it fresh.

I know that might not make things as easy as you would prefer. I just hate to see people throwing their money away. If you can just take a little bit of extra time to plan things out, get informed and try new things, your advertising will do better and so will your business.

See you next week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 19 – Selling Experiences

Do you sell a product or service that cannot be found anywhere else in the world? Probably not. So why do your customers go to you and not someone else? It’s all about the experience.

No matter what business you’re in, no matter what product or service you are selling, the experience is what your clients are buying. So stop focusing on product features and benefits and let’s talk about how we can improve your marketing by selling experiences.

Tourism is a great example because it is without a doubt selling experiences but most tourism advertisers still don’t seem to realize this. They continue to focus on features and benefits. What do I mean by this? Well a few months ago I was seeing a lot of ads in my Instagram feed for visit Japan and visit Alberta. These are two very different parts of the world but the ads looked almost exactly the same. Both were showing mountain ranges and hiking, eating at a restaurant... These are merely features. I mean wow, you have mountains, trails and restaurants? Why should I visit yours over another? Oh right Japan, you have some pretty cool architecture... That’s a benefit but it is in no way compelling me to experience that specific country.  

Seriously, advertising in this way is the equivalent of saying, hey buy my car because it has 4 wheels, a steering wheel and a radio. Um, ya, so does every car in the world.

An experience is actually connecting me to the journey of not only seeing the sights, but igniting my other senses and emotions as well. I am also using this example because I've had a lot of success marketing tourism destinations with more of a focus on experience. Check out our most popular example here - http://bfresh.media/2016/10/25/newfoundland-in-ten-days-a-viral-success/

 

It sounds complicated but it’s really about telling great stories. Here are some tips on how to actually do that:

  1. Use Video - video is one of the most efficient tools when it comes to storytelling. You will be able to say more and connect with your audience more quickly and effectively with video.
  2. Focus on a positive customer experience and tell that story. Testimonials are great for this. Another example is the fast food chain A&W ran a campaign not too long ago where they introduced people on the street to their hamburger. So it was not trying to introduce us to the entire menu but 1 single product and they captured authentic reactions of people trying this hamburger. They were also told a little bit about the quality of the ingredients (the benefits) as they ate them but the focus was not on those ingredients but rather the customer’s reaction and how that information made them feel.   Check out that video here: https://youtu.be/lT_POsrIIBs
  3. Simplify your message. Just like the A&W campaign, focus on one item from the menu, convince me that it’s made with heart and passion and I will order the combo. Going back to the tourism example, don’t try to show me the entire country. You’re not doing it any justice by showing me that you have mountains, trails, restaurants and beaches.
  4. Target your (simplified) message. We have the technology! It’s really not hard to target your advertising to specific age groups and interests. So if you are marketing to seniors, show seniors. If you are marketing to millennials, show millennials because those audiences want to see themselves in the experience. Don’t try to create a one size fits all because it just won’t work.

So ask yourself what is the experience I’m selling and how can I communicate that to my audience. Your marketing will be better for it, I promise. 

See you next week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 18 – Greatest Lesson In Customer Service

This is the greatest customer service lesson I learned when working in retail. It’s simple, it is “always return the toaster.”

Let’s say that someone came to your business, to return a toaster but the problem is that you don’t sell toasters. What do you do?

Well this actually happened once when I was working at a “Sporting Lifestyle” store. If you don’t know what that means, it’s just a pretentious way of saying that they don’t sell equipment that you might expect but instead mostly clothing and even Prada activewear. So they definitely were not in the business of selling toasters.

One day a customer came in with a toaster in a bag, no box, no receipt, and they wanted to return it. There was no convincing them that they did not purchase the toaster from that store. They were certain that they bought it there, paid $30 and they were not satisfied so they wanted their money back.

Now here is the situation, I’m not saying that you should let people take advantage of you but look at the big picture. In this case, the customer had a purchase history, they spent a lot of money at the store, multiple times in the past. We knew this because the store asked for your phone number and kept a record of sales by customer number. Despite that, there was no record of a toaster being purchased nor was that item even in the system. Yet the customer still wouldn’t back down.

Also I will say, in their defence, there was a small table near the checkout where a lot of odd nicknacks would end up. With that in mind, there was a slight chance that they did in fact purchase it from that store... but still unlikely.

So what did the manager do? They returned it and gave the customer a $30 in-store credit. Because at the end of the day that is the equivalent of maybe a 10% discount or less based on average sales at that store. It’s was nothing to make that person happy and to send them in to the store to shop instead of storming out to tell everyone about the terrible experience they had.

From that experience I learned the very definition of the cliche “the customer is always right” and I never forgot. So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation just remember to always, always, always return the toaster.

See you next week!

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