Customer testimonials add credibility to your brand. The heart of a good testimonial is a story, and nothing captures emotion like a story. Stories are scientifically proven to pull us in and make us feel something, and 89% of B2B marketers consider testimonials a powerful marketing tool. B2B decision-makers also trust them – 62% say peer recommendations are a strong purchasing trigger.
But before you throw quotes onto your homepage, you must think about strategically generating and using customer testimonials to drive conversations and generate new leads.
Use these tips to help you improve the conversation about your brand online with better testimonials.
Start with customers who already love working with you
As you think about building your arsenal of customer testimonials, start with the customers who already love working with you – you’ve exceeded expectations, they refer you, and they come back for more. These customers are also your ‘best fit’ customers and the kind you want more of.
Listen for opportunities
Testimonials happen every day – it’s up to you to hear them and turn them into opportunities.
Here’s what the start of a testimonial could look like:
- A thank you email from a customer
- A 5-star review on social media or Google My Business
- Handwritten notes (because who doesn’t feel special when they get a handwritten card these days?)!
- When a customer refers you to a peer
Train yourself and your employees to notice these and take them seriously. These customers are telling you how they feel, which is where testimonials start! If it’s appropriate, ask them if they wouldn’t mind letting you develop the conversation further into a case study or review.
Consider how you ask customers to share their stories
There are many ways to ask customers to share their story. You could send them a questionnaire via email or call them on the phone – but if you’re looking for authenticity, one method to have a third party talk to the customer directly. After they agree to let you use their story, people are more likely to be honest with a third party. This approach may allow for a more open conversation.
Consider what “type” of testimonial works best
There are many types of testimonials to showcase your great work. Here are a few examples:
- Social media – Many companies prefer testimonials pulled directly from social media because they feel more natural, truthful, and organic. They often get right to the point and focus on sharing an experience they had with your brand. These can spark valuable online conversations about your services. Need help getting more consistent online reviews? Check out this blog post!
Video – Video testimonials often require the most significant investment for both your customer and your team, but they can give the highest reward. Video is a great way to capture emotions that don’t translate to text – body language and facial expressions mean a lot.
Case study – A case study is a detailed analysis that identifies a problem a company was facing, directly positions your product or service as the best solution, and backs up the claim with real results. They should be a story where your brand is the hero. Case studies are great content to have available on your website for potential customers to download. (One thing to note is that case studies shouldn’t be all about YOU. Yes, your brand is the hero, but the story should focus on the customer and how you fixed their problems and helped them reach their goals. If you need a place to start, check out our guide to creating better customer case studies here.)
- Direct quotes – A direct quote can be from an influential customer and can go on your homepage, products/services pages, in special offer emails and newsletters, etc.
Never fake it
It’s easy to tell when a review or testimonial isn’t genuine, and you WILL get called out, so don’t do it. If you have no customers willing to give you a good review, it’s time to step back and address those underlying issues with your business.
Make it easy
Sometimes (a lot of times) people are lazy. If you don’t plainly explain what you’re asking them to do and give them an easy, quick way to do so, they probably won’t bother. Even if the customer loves doing business with you, they won’t enjoy jumping through hoops to sing your praises. How can you avoid vague directions or pressuring clients to come up with something on the spot? What might be confusing? Try review services like Grade.Us for help getting started! Asking the right questions makes the process easier on your customer and yourself, so take time to nail down the right questions to ask in testimonial conversations.
Customer testimonials can make or break a sale. If you can prove you’ve solved similar problems for other companies and show positive results, you can build trust and close sales. If you need help getting started or would like an experienced partner to conduct case study interviews, contact us today!