Gaining the trust of your customers is serious business these days. A company’s reputation, and therefore its bottom line, literally rests in the hands of anyone with a smartphone. The widespread use of social media and review platforms means small businesses are under just as much scrutiny as giant corporations. The playing field has been leveled like never before.
Why are customer testimonials useful?
When considering a purchase, 92% of consumers will read online testimonials and reviews first. And a whopping 84% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. No matter how well run it is, a business-backed by positive reviews will create more confidence in a prospective customer.
They provide social proof
People are always going to trust other people first, and third party endorsements tap right into our conformity bias—otherwise known as the “bandwagon effect”. In other words, we’re more likely to trust something when we see other people trusting it—especially if we can relate to these people. This is known as “social proof”, and it’s a tremendously powerful marketing tool in the age where almost all the media we consume is… well, social.
They reinforce your personal brand
Building customers’ trust through positive endorsements is about more than just increasing sales figures. In a world where e-commerce is king and face-to-face interactions are in short supply, how much people trust your company is a reflection of how much they trust you, personally. Put simply, customer testimonials reinforce your personal brand.
They attract your ideal customer
Customer testimonials help solidify your brand identity even further by showcasing who your ideal customer is. For example, if your product is aimed at mothers who work outside the home, you should gather testimonials from people who match those criteria. When your prospects see positive endorsements coming from people like them, they’ll envision themselves happily using your product or service too. You’re also letting them know you understand their needs because you’re familiar with your target market — and likewise, your target market is familiar with you.
When your potential consumers feel your brand is aware of and actively responding to real people who have the same needs or interests as them, they will form a positive impression of your brand from the get-go.
Five types of customer testimonials
Now that we’ve unpacked who customer testimonials are so important let’s take a look at a few different formats testimonials can take!
Companies have been using quotes from satisfied customers as testimonials since the dawn of print media advertising, and surprisingly—they still work! As you peruse the interwebs, you’ll find customer endorsements appearing directly on product pages to make visitors feel confident about the service or product they’re considering.
But while quotes remain one of the most natural types of testimonial to gather, they’re also one of the easiest to fabricate—and that can raise suspicion. (We’ve all seen those glowing five-star reviews online which seem a little too good to be true).
To get around this, many companies add photos of the customer giving the quote to prove they really stand behind their testimonials. When 161 Driving Academy swapped stock photos out for pictures of their actual customers, for example, their conversion rate increased by a mind-blowing 161%.
2. Social media testimonials
Social media testimonials are a cut above traditional quote testimonials. Why? Potential customers know off the bat they’ve been written by a real person who is willing to put their name, face, and profile behind their endorsement — and let all their friends and followers see it too.
Keep your eyes open for praise for your product or service across every social platform. If your business’ Facebook page is flooded with positive comments, or you’re trending on Twitter or killing it on Insta, you’ll find plenty of material to beef up your testimonial page.
3. Reviews using other platforms
If you haven’t already, look up your business on the plethora of review sites relevant to your industry—like Yelp—or external websites that sell your product—like Amazon. Chances are, you’ll find paragraphs of praise you can work into your testimonials.
If your product is still relatively short on reviews, reach out to your satisfied clients directly, post-purchase, and ask them to write an endorsement on one of these sites. Then, with their permission, use their review as a testimonial on your website.
4. Case studies/customer stories
Everyone loves a good story, and one of the best ways to gather stories is to invite your customers to share their experiences with your business. Let them walk your audience through their personal transformation before, during, and after working with you, and how their lives improved for the better. Your prospects have likely found your business because they want to achieve a similar result, so give them proof it’s possible!
5. Video testimonials
Potential customers can read written reviews until their eyes cross, but nothing beats watching a satisfied customer in action. There was a time not too long ago when only big corporations with oversized budgets could afford to record video testimonials. Today, anyone with a smartphone can capture high definition video of their customers’ candid thoughts.
Video is now one of the top marketing channels for businesses of any size. In fact, a study by Copypress found that over half of marketing professionals worldwide report that video gives the best ROI out of any other content type.
How to get customer testimonials
For new entrepreneurs, gaining social proof is like playing chicken before the egg. You won’t be able to gain customers without having had customers who are willing to express the positive experience they had working with you. We’ve put together some helpful tips for how to get testimonials for both service-based businesses or product-driven businesses.
For service-based companies:
- Strike while the iron is hot. If you’ve just finished up a project with a client and they’re happy with the results, ask for their testimonial as soon as possible while the good vibes are still fresh. Give them three to four questions to make it easy for them.
Here are some suggestions:
- Why did you choose to work with me?
- What did you enjoy about working with me?
- What was unique about working with me?
- Would you recommend me, and why?
- If you haven’t been collecting testimonials from the start, send an email survey out to all your former customers to get the good word out of the woodwork.
- Ask specific customers you’ve had a great or unique experience with to do a case study with you.
Grab some spur of the moment video footage when you’re actually with a client—with permission, of course. If they’ve given you praise, ask them if they wouldn’t mind repeating it on camera. The result: a candid testimonial to slap on your landing page, Youtube, video ads, or even transcribe as a quote.
For product-based businesses:
- Include requests for reviews in your newsletter. Anyone who’s signed up to hear from you is already a fan, so tap into that.
- Incentivize it! Example: “review us on Facebook, Google and/or Yelp, and you’ll get a free (blank) or a coupon for (blank).” Remember, the best rewards often result in the most reviews—so don’t be stingy.
- Send your customers a friendly follow up email after they’ve made a purchase with a review request.
- Use what people are already saying! If you’re seeing positive reviews pop up on social media or other sites, ask permission to use these kind words as testimonials on your website.
- Always keep your eyes and ears open for on-the-fly endorsements. Sometimes when you’re working on a project with a client, a positive comment will pop out which would make a great testimonial. When this happens, ask their permission to use it in your marketing material. Job done!
How to use testimonials to bring in new business
Now that we’ve covered a few types of testimonials and how to get them, let’s go over how and where to use them to your advantage!
Stick them on your website
Realistically, you could place your customer testimonials anywhere. But there are certainly more strategic places to put customer reviews than others. Here are our recommendations:
- Your homepage. This is the most visited page on your website, so put your testimonials where the most eyeballs will fall on them.
- A dedicated page for client testimonials. Gather up your good reviews and put them all in one place — then direct prospective clients to this page of praise.
- Sidebars. Many websites have a sidebar that hangs out to the right of any given page at all times. Put your testimonials there, and they’ll remain visible as visitors click around different pages.
Use them in social media images
You don’t have to keep your reviews confined to text blocks on your webpage — turn them into visual content to get the “word out”! Social media is all about the visuals, so go ahead and repurpose your favorite customer quotations into postable, shareable graphics.
View this post on Instagram
Meet Giulia, creator of Queerwine 🌈🍷. Hailing from Italy, Giulia didn't want to be just any ordinary wine blogger. Instead, they added their own unique twist and created a personal blog to share their love of wine from a queer perspective. Follow Giulia's journey at @queer_wine. . . . . . #blogger #blog #bloggerlife #wine #winelover #wineblogger #wineblog #queerwriters #queer #italian #italianwriter #startingabusiness #entrepreneur #inspirationalquotes #customerquote #lookadesign #lookastories #startup #logodesign #businessadvice #smallbusiness #branding_design #logo_showcase #brandingmob #bloggersofinstagram
You don’t have to get too fancy about it! Using graphics editing software, select a simple background and font, preferably in your brand colors, and input the review as text. Just make sure you get your logo somewhere on there, so your customers know the endorsement is for you at first glance.
Work them into your newsletter
Dedicate a brief article in your email newsletter to a “success story” featuring one of your clients who found great personal value in your product or service. You can also encourage a customer who used your product in a unique or interesting way to contribute their story. Keep it consistent and make it a regular feature—even ask your readers to contribute their own stories. If you’re short on space, an anecdote will do.
Join over 20k entrepreneurs subscribed to our newsletter!
Use them in your video ads
Video testimonials are the shortcut to adding the all-important “human element” to your advertising. Ask your customers to whip out their smartphones and record a quick video—no more than 60 seconds—about what they like most about your brand. Then, with their permission, work these clips into your video ad campaigns. They get a bit of airtime, and in turn, you get memorable content. Have fun with it!
Everyone wants their business to go viral — but for the right reasons. In this day and age, where everyone’s voices can be heard, customer testimonials will help your brand rise above the noise and stand out in the best possible way.