Competitor Research: Don’t Dismiss the Nobody

I got an interesting note from a client the other day:

I just got an email from Awesome Propsect that they went with another vendor. I’ve asked for feedback but suspect I won’t get much but if I do I’ll send to you.  I do know that the other two vendors I had never heard of before so it wasn’t a major competitor they went with.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind: Just because you’ve never heard of the person or company you’re losing business to doesn’t mean the person or company isn’t a major competitor. Heck, there was a time when most people had never heard of Google (yes, really). Anybody you lose business to is someone to watch, to consider, and to see what they’re doing right.

Don’t dismiss. Pay attention. That’s one of the most important things you can do when it comes to competitor research and buyer personas.

Email Marketing Tip Quickie

I’ve been writing email newsletters since I’ve been in business. But for some reason, I’ve overlooked this obvious and easy email marketing tip. So I thought I’d share.

Send your email newsletter TWICE in one month. The first time should be to your regular list during your regular ship date. But then schedule it to send on the last day of the month to only those who’ve subscribed since your last newsletter went out.

Constant Contact makes it super easy to do this (and I’m sure the other major vendors, like MailChimp, do as well). In Constant Contact, simply do the following:

  1. Select your email campaign.
  2. Click on “Resend Options.”
  3. Select “New contacts since email was last sent.”


Two things to keep in mind: to make it easier, do any data entry of email addresses to your “Contacts” list before you go through this process. And if your newsletter is dated in any way (e.g. you wish people a Happy Thanksgiving), you’ll need to copy your email campaign, remove dated references, and schedule a send to yourself only. Then, you should copy the list of new email addresses and then follow steps 1 and 2 above. For step #3, you’ll select “Enter email addresses Info” and paste the list of new email addresses.

How to Use Customer Testimonials: 13 Ideas

Wondering how to use customer testimonials? Here are 13 ideas.

1. On your website. Here are some ideas:

  • Home page
  • As scrolling text (scrolling testimonials) on the header graphic of your website
  • On specific service or industry pages
  • In a “Testimonials” or “Happy Customers” section

2. On the back of your business card. Don’t waste this valuable space — use it!

3. On press/speaking materials.

4. On a “Testimonials” or “Review” section on Facebook.

5. As the inspiration for a blog post or newsletter topic. Pick an idea or theme from one of your testimonials and write a blog post around it. For example, in the testimonial Lise gave me above, she mentions my ability to turn “geek speak” into approachable copy. Well, “5 Tips for De-Geeking Copy” would make a fun blog post or newsletter article.

6. On email signatures. Call it “Happy Customer Quote” or “Fan Mail” and put it after your signature and use a new one every month. Opt for short, punchy, even funny ones, or testimonials that are super, super specific and talk about the type of business you want to get more of. Different people in your company can use different testimonials specific to their jobs and talents.

7. On LinkedIn. This involves an extra step of asking your client, provided you’re connected to him or her, to write the testimonial on LinkedIn. But most people are happy to do so.

8. On invoices.

9. In newsletters (electronic or print). They make great sidebar items.

10. In brochures.They work well as call-outs in the body copy, especially if they’re reinforcing a particular message.

11. On packaging.

12. On auto responder emails. For example, think of the welcome letter people receive when they subscribe to your newsletter through Constant Contact (or some other email vendor like Mail Chimp).

13. In advertising. Again, used as a call out, it can help reinforce the message.

What other ways do you use testimonials? I’d love to hear about them. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how to solicit customer testimonials, follow this strategy:

  • Ask (be clear how you’re going to use it and ask if you can use the person’s relevant info, like name and company).
  • Receive (always in writing — keep these permissions on file).
  • Show gratitude. A heartfelt thank you is always appreciated. And pay it forward by offering to write a testimonial for someone else who does a great job for you.