Social proof is an important part of purchasing; one of the strongest forms of proof is through customer testimonials. Try out these tips to make testimonials work for you.
The power of customer testimonials
Testimonials are stories of a customer’s experience with your brand, told from that customer’s perspective. They provide social proof while helping to market your business and grow sales. And they can turn customers into loyal fans.
According to hawkeye, 71 percent of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77 percent in the evaluation stage cited testimonials and case studies as the most influential types of content. This is because testimonials create an emotional appeal and communicate how your brand connects with customers. But more importantly, testimonials build trust and credibility about your product and your company because they come from happy customers. That could be why Testimonial Engine found that 72 percent of customers don’t take action until they’ve read reviews.
Testimonials boost search visibility by having rich content that you don’t have to write yourself. Search is organically improved and gives customers information to make a smart purchase decision.
The best ways to gather and display testimonials
Getting testimonials doesn’t have to be a mystery. One way is to make a list of customers that you feel comfortable talking to about their experience; ask if they’d be willing to write and be featured in a testimonial. Have an idea of what you want them to focus on — such as cleanliness or speed of service — to make the process clear and simple for them as they write their feedback. And always check back with them before publishing anything.
Another option includes asking for testimonials through emails, surveys or your website. Whatever approach you take, be sure to thank customers for their testimonials. A written letter or a coupon are thoughtful options.
Once you’ve collected a few testimonials, display them on your website. If you just have a few, a banner at the end of the home page or in an “about us” section can be good places. If you’ve got a more robust collection, consider building a “customer stories” page to stand on its own.
And don’t forget to use your blog, direct mail and social channels to showcase or point to your testimonials. Share as many places as possible to draw attention to the positive experiences customers are having with your business.
What not to do
We’ll make this quick. Avoid these four things when creating testimonials:
- Don’t make the process difficult: Make sure to tell customers they only need to write a few lines and there’s not a tight deadline
- Don’t publish without getting permission: Always ask for permission before publishing someone’s words and get it in writing; bonus points for asking how customers want their name and credentials to appear
- Don’t talk your company up too much: The more details and praise in a testimonial, the phonier your business will look
- Don’t mislead: The law says testimonials and endorsements must not only be truthful but also unbiased — meaning you have to disclose personal relationships with the person giving the testimonial
Effective testimonial pages
To spark ideas for your own testimonial layout, we’ll dive into a few businesses who have used theirs effectively.
ZenDesk is visually appealing and easy to use. Filtering allows customers to find something that fits their specific needs by narrowing “customer stories” down by industry, region and products.
Bizzabo’s testimonial page is simple and clean, with short and sweet messages from real customers. The positive testimonials help back up the “you are the center of our universe” headline, and lines such as “your success is our purpose” further illustrate that Bizzabo is all about its customers.
Codecademy uses written and video testimonials. Their page is full of success stories about customers who’ve experienced and enjoyed their learning platform.
Testimonials offer a powerful way to promote your company, products and services through the mouths of your current customers, and you’d better believe that potential customers will take heed. Follow the featured tips to gather testimonials, use them effectively and put them to work for you.