Talking Testimonials: Why they’re Important and How to Get Them

Testimonials are like a 24-hour online marketing team who’s always working, but you never have to pay. Still, many small businesses make the costly error of leaving them off their website, not realizing the power of peer praise.

How effective are they? According to Nielsen research, “92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”

Could customer testimonials be the key to increasing your conversion rates or generating more leads? Test these testimonial and content marketing tips to see for yourself!

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Show off your Social Proof

Even if you’ve been marketing under a rock and haven’t heard the term “social proof,” you’ve probably already leveraged it to promote your products and services at some point.

Tech Crunch describes the phenomenon as, “the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. It’s also known as informational social influence…In other words, people are wired to learn from the actions of others, and this can be a huge driver of consumer behavior.”

Put simply, it’s word-of-mouth marketing at its most basic level.

Testimonials are a compelling form of social proof. Here are some others you might recognize (or use):

  • Celebrities and social media influencers. Celebs have long heralded trends and helped solidify brands. But, thanks to social media, how we define celebrity is changing. From YouTube sensations to Instagram stars, there’s a new social sway afoot. Read more about cultivating influencer marketing strategies for your business.
  • Crowds and masses. It’s an “all these people can’t be wrong, join us” mentality that’s been used by big brands from McDonalds (1 Billion Served) to record companies (Platinum status records).
  • Friends and acquaintances. You, just like your customers, probably trust the opinions of people you know more than anyone else. Size those personal recommendations up against pretty much any digital marketing tactic and it’s no contest which will win out.
  • Experts and industry leaders. Though you may not know them individually, experts like doctors are great for giving your brand more credibility. The same goes for anyone who is well known in your industry like a CEO or thought leader.
  • Users and past customers. Here’s where testimonials really take off. Getting a vote of confidence from someone you’ve already worked with speaks volumes. This goes double if the recs come from someone “just like you.”

But how do you go about getting them? That’s our next point of discussion.

Gathering Testimonials

Ask for testimonials and you’ll receive. That is if you request them from the right folks in the right way.

You see, a random selection of customers just won’t do. You’ll need to be more strategic in your ask.

Start with clients or customers you’ve done business with recently. Get them while you’re fresh on their mind and they’re more likely to take the time to give you feedback about their experience. You can use a site like Survey Monkey or simply make your own using Google Forms.

You might also consider creating an email drip campaign that will go out to anyone with whom you’ve completed a sale or project. You can set it up to send a few follow-up reminders, but don’t flood their inbox with requests lest the become tone deaf to your email marketing entirely.

It’s always best if you reach out to customers that you worked with directly, but getting a marketable testimonial may require some probing.

Giving them the following parameters about what they saved and what they gained could help you solicit a more compelling response:

  • Did you save/time money? How much, specifically?
  • Were you able to gain leads/increase your sales/etc? By what percentage?
  • What was the biggest benefit of working with us?
  • What did you enjoy most about our brand? (e.g. : Customer service, finished product, speed of delivery, etc.)

Make sure you also collect pertinent info like name, title, location, the date of service, and if at all possible, a photo of the person giving the recommendation. It’ll help personalize the testimonial.
Working with a business? Include their logo as part of the praise.

Marketing Customer Testimonials

Once you’ve gathered your endorsements, time to have your marketing department (or digital marketing agency) show them off.

There’s technically no wrong way to display your customer accolades, but here are some avenues that will give it the most exposure.

1. Case studies. Customer case studies can be as in-depth or condensed as you like. Whether you pull some compelling stats or give readers the play-by-play, they’re great ways to showcase customer successes.
2. Video testimonials. Audio and video testimonials from happy clients are much more intimate than the written word. Just make sure you have a prepared interviewer and good editor on staff to make sure it translates on film.
3. Social media. It’s a big part of your online presence. Whether you upload that vid rec you just wrapped or simply post a candid photo with your product and heartfelt quote, this is a surefire way for your testimonial to gain traction.
4. Site sidebars. You never want an endorsement to be distracting. However, the sidebars of your blog reel (or really anywhere with ample white space) are great reminders to your increasing unique monthly visitors.
5. Individual pages of your website. You might consider giving your testimonials and case studies their own individual pages on your site. You can also add them to your products and services page, strategically placed near CTAs that urge a potential customer to commit.

Though features like Google Reviews and sites like Yelp are a great way to get eyes on your brand, you don’t have to wait for customers to submit a review on their own. Armed with the right ask and good implementation, you can take testimonials into your own hands!

Need some help marketing your hard-earned testimonials? We can help.