Customer reviews and testimonials matter… a lot.
In today’s world of social media influencers, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Amazon, we look for and act on the recommendations of others when it comes to all areas of our life, but specifically when it comes to making a purchasing decision.
In fact, according to Nielsen research, 92 percent of people will “trust a recommendation from a peer” and 70 percent will trust a recommendation from “someone they don’t even know.”
And while these recommendations can come in many forms, testimonials are a great way to establish your brand’s credibility and to sell your product to consumers. The one key difference between testimonials and other word-of-mouth and third-party reviews is that they are sought and selected by you, the marketer. This gives you greater control over what is said and how it is displayed.
But how can you get a great testimonial?
The short answer to this question is that you must ask. Approach your best customers individually and personalize the request with the person’s name, the product he or she purchased as well as any other information that might be relevant. It’s also smart to approach recent customers – maybe some you’re just beginning to form relationships with – as a way to both follow up on the work you did or the project you sold and to get their honest opinion while the purchase is still fresh in their minds.
Next, you must ask the right questions. Don’t just ask for a “testimonial”. Be specific in your request. Ideally, your objective is to extract examples of how your product or service has benefited them. You can do this by asking questions like:
- How much money did our product save you?
- What’s the biggest benefit you’ve seen as a result of using our product?
- What made you choose us/ our product?
- Do you have any ROI feedback as to how successful the piece was at reaching your target market?
Make sure to provide a guideline for the customer or client. Not only does this help you control the response, but it also increases the probability that he or she will respond to you since you’ve made the process more manageable by outlining it with questions.
Once you have a nice pool of responses, make sure to edit them properly – this is a testimonial, not an essay. Edit out any irrelevant chatter (if it’s a video) or unnecessary sentences (if it’s a written response) to keep the focus on information that’s going to help potential customers overcome objections and decide to purchase.
When you have a few strong testimonials you’re pleased with, the next and possibly most important part is that you use it strategically. After all, a testimonial is no help if your customers don’t see it. Consider adding them to your website, email blasts or case studies. Furthermore, experimenting with paid ads or using shorter testimonials on social media can also drive traffic to your website and, eventually, convert followers into customers.