Social proof is a well-known marketing strategy that is withstanding the test of time and is one of the staples of digital marketing too. Testimonials are an indispensable aspect of social proof, and adding them next to your products can increase conversions by 190-380%.
While it's probably better to start adding customer testimonials if you currently have none, you can't expect a drastic conversion increase just by taking random actions – you need a sound plan.
This article will give you 5 steps to bring your customer testimonial game to the next level. By the time your mom finishes reading it, you will have a clear testimonial plan that will help your brand build social proof, which will later result in steady conversion increases.
Step #1: Give some ideas to customers when asking for a testimonial
While reaching out to your new customer after a few weeks is a necessary step if you want them to leave a testimonial, only doing that is not good enough.
When they see your generic "Please leave a testimonial by clicking on this link, it means a lot to us" email, the first thing they will probably think of will be "I don't know what to say." And when that happens, the chances of getting quality feedback are close to none – even if they do leave something, it might feel fake.
That's why you need to help them by leaving them some clues in the email or by creating a survey with a series of questions you can use as material for their testimonial (with their permission, of course).
Some of the questions you might add are:
- Can you describe how our product improved your workflow?
- Did you use similar products, and how do we compare to them?
- Which features of the product are the most useful to you?
- How satisfied are you with the onboarding process and our customer service?
- Would you recommend our product to colleagues and friends, and why?
- Did you notice any improvements in increased conversions (for example), and by how much?
Of course, you should ask more specific questions to your business, which will all depend on the niche. We gave you some ideas to push you in the right direction. But, the more specific your questions are, the more detailed the answers are going to be, which will give you better testimonial material.
Step #2: Put testimonials in more than one place
While having a dedicated page on your website for your testimonials is not bad, only keeping them on the testimonials page is. Only people with genuine purchase intent will go there and read through testimonials. Leaving them only there is a wasted opportunity.
Instead, include your testimonials in multiple places on your website.
You want to have testimonials on your home page, ideally in the most visible part of it. Putting your testimonials first should be your priority, especially if you have some big-name clients who agreed to share their opinion on your products. Of course, keep it short and sweet on the homepage, highlighting only the most important opinions.
The testimonial page, on the other hand, should contain full-length testimonials. Those should tell the whole story, explaining everything you collected if you followed the Step #1 – why the customer needed the product, how it helped them, what they like the most, etc. But, you should have snippets of those testimonials in other places, too, for example:
- Your pricing page can have a carousel of one-sentence testimonials.
- Articles on your blog that are closely related to some of the important features your product has can also contain a part of a testimonial that mentions that feature, with a link to the full story on the testimonial page.
- You can even put parts of the testimonial in your email signature section, making them an essential part of your newsletters. The best way to not fail with it is to look at these email signature examples and choose the one that fits best.
- To ensure the potential customer doesn't give up at the last minute, you can use Paykickstart to add testimonials on the checkout page, improving conversions.
- Don't be shy to share testimonials on your social media pages from time to time. This can be as a dedicated post for multimedia testimonials or a part of a description of another post where you mention features your product has.
Step #3: Make testimonials personal
Go for video testimonials, if possible
While textual testimonials are good, if you really want to leave a strong impression on potential customers, ask your existing customers to leave a video testimonial.
While videos already have a high retention rate compared to other types of content, personalized videos perform 35% better than non-personalized ones. Nothing will convince a potential customer better than another happy customer talking in front of a camera about your product and how it solved their burning problem.
While video testimonials are effective, it's hard to convince people to step in front of a camera and praise your product. To do that, you will need to use some channel incentives program, for example, offer three months of your Premium plan for free. However, be careful about this, as you don't want them to record a fake video just to get the promotion.
It's best to ask happy customers who already left a positive text review to record a video and offer them an incentive. That way, you will know it's not fake.
Include pictures, company name and position, and personal information
If customers are hesitant to stand in front of a camera, don't worry. That's understandable, as not everyone is comfortable when the camera is on. If that is the case, your next best option is to ask them for permission to put their photo next to their testimonial. For this purpose, you can ask them to use their LinkedIn photo, as it is already publicly available, and they are most likely to agree.
If your company is B2B, it's very important to add the company name and the person's position next to their testimonial. This will provide actual social proof, as it will give context to the potential customer. They will be able to see how your product helped a company similar to their own, creating an instant bond.
Adding context is important in the B2C world, too, but in a different way. Here, you don't want to add company information, as that's probably not relevant. Instead, add more information about the demographic group of the person who is leaving the testimonial. This can be the current location, age, but also something more specific to the person that can be important for your brand. For example, "Sonia, 28, a single mom from Boston", who is explaining how your product helped her save time, will mean a lot more to parents in a similar position.
Displaying more information about the person leaving the testimonial will make it more human and will help readers relate. This, accompanied by pictures (and videos, where possible), will be entirely unlike most other reviews they can find online and will separate you from the competition.
Step #4: Target warm leads with testimonials
While having testimonials on the right places across your website and landing pages is important, you shouldn't stop there. Testimonials are the pinnacle of social proof because they speak customer-to-customer, and you should fully utilize them across all of your marketing channels.
If a customer left a video testimonial praising your brand, that type of content is a potential conversion goldmine. With their consent, you can use testimonial videos to create social media ads, directly targeting people from the same customer group.
Ads of this kind are especially useful for warm leads who have already indicated that they might be interested in your brand, for example, by visiting your social media profile without taking action.
Retargeting these leads with ads that contain video testimonials will reheat their interest and might be just what it takes to convince them and turn them into customers.
Step #5: Use testimonials in marketing collateral
Also, you should integrate testimonials into marketing collateral. Brochures, pamphlets, posters, case studies are all great places for testimonials, especially because they don't target your potential customer base as accurately as social media ads do.
If someone stumbles upon one of your brochures, they will need a reason to read it. Social proof will give them precisely that, as they will immediately see that real people just like them have something positive to say about your brand.
While these old-school marketing tactics aren't as precise as some modern digital marketing tools, they are still effective and leave an impression exactly because not many companies make them anymore. Therefore, if you want to stand out, testimonial-boosted brochures and pamphlets might be the answer.
As you can see, making customer testimonials more effective isn't that complicated. However, the premise is that you need to have a quality product first, which is something you can’t fake. That's the only way to have a happy customer willing to write a great testimonial or even share their opinion in front of a camera.
But, even if that isn't the case, and if your products aren’t the greatest, asking for customer feedback is always helpful. They will tell you what is already good and what needs improvement.
If you follow the advice and make fixes they suggest, they will be delighted knowing that you listen to feedback and will be more likely to share that opinion on your testimonials page.
Following an honest and transparent approach and caring for your customers and their opinions can never backfire. Combine that with a quality product and a desire to listen to feedback and improve, and you will have a winning recipe that will keep your business in the game for a very long time.
About the author
Sam Shepler is the founder and CEO of Testimonial Hero. 150+ B2B revenue teams at Google, UiPath, Medallia, InsightSquared, and many others use Testimonial Hero to easily create customer videos that engage prospects, reduce friction in the sales cycle, and drive more revenue faster.