Customer testimonials are one of the best ways to improve your sales and marketing efforts. Whether you include them in your marketing materials, place them on your website or use them as email content you can reap three major rewards:
- Improving trust – People, especially young people, do not trust advertising. Testimonials have a huge impact on consumer trust because they are not written by you. They are generated by existing, happy customers. Prospects do not have to worry about the spin you are using because it is in a completely different voice.
- Overcoming objections – Powerful testimonials can convince even the most difficult prospects that your company has something to offer. If they are harboring objections in their mind, testimonials can overcome them without your sales team doing the heavy lifting.
- Lowering costs – Testimonials are generated by customers and do not cost anything to add to your newsletter or website. Because they are so cost-effective, they will have an immediate impact on your ROI.
Unfortunately, many companies are ill-equipped to gather and distribute testimonials effectively. Here are five important tips on how you can earn and promote powerful customer testimonials:
1. Ask the right customers
The best testimonial is from somebody that your audience finds relatable. It is important for prospects to see that your company has helped clients similar to them. Therefore, you need to ask customers that are closely in-line with your target audience. The more targeted your campaign is, the more finely you need to screen your testimonials.
You will also need to make sure your audience knows exactly how relatable they are. If you are targeting small tech companies, make sure the testimonial includes that information. If you are targeting men specifically, make sure to include the customer’s gender in their testimonial.
2. Feature positive reviews throughout your marketing materials
If you have a website that you use to drive business, including testimonials everywhere you can is a must. Put your most flattering ones right on your homepage, even if it is just a simple quote or two. Wherever you have any sales copy, make sure to include at least one relevant testimonial. You will also want to create a page dedicated to customer reviews and feedback. Make it easy for prospects to find one relevant to them by allowing them to sort testimonials by criteria such as product, feature, benefit, or type of customer.
3. Have clients share before-and-after scenarios
It is not enough to prove that your company can provide value to your prospects, you need to prove that you can provide more value than the competition. Encourage your customers to share exactly what solutions they have implemented prior to yours, or if there were any others they tried and did not see the same results with. This sets you apart from the rest of your competition and proves that you are a prospect’s best option.
4. Leverage social media
This can help to build trust among potential customers who enjoy knowing that their peers are already fans of your product or service. Before you begin promoting anyone’s testimonial as sales collateral, remember to ask for explicit permission to use it first.
5. Create a checklist or template
Testimonials are only effective if they are believable. If a prospect suspects that a testimonial was fabricated it could hurt your credibility. That is why, in 2013, Yelp purged almost a quarter of all its user-submitted reviews which seemed fraudulent.
In order to ensure that your testimonials are believable and high-quality, certain things must be included. A useful way is to create a template or checklist and ask customers to include the following in their testimonial:
- Specifics – They must describe exactly which features were especially beneficial, and exactly what impact they had. Request statistics or percentages too.
- Relevance – A testimonial will be more influential to potential customers if it describes issues and features that are relevant to your target audience. Do not be afraid to ask your customers to expand on a particularly important issue.
- Key identifying information – In order to be believable, prospects must understand that these testimonials are coming from other people. Require that testimonials not be anonymous. At a minimum, you should include first and last initials, plus their title and company. With your customer’s permission, provide their headshot too.
In the end, the best way to receive great testimonials is by simply asking. If you are able to approach every happy customer with a simple testimonial request, you will quickly have more than enough to boost sales and improve your marketing materials.