Potential customers put extreme weight on the opinions of others when making purchasing decisions. More often than not, buyers will value a highly praising testimonial over the wording and aesthetics on your website. Just last year, 92 percent of buyers sited that they sought out and read customer testimonials before making a purchase.
Customer reviews and testimonials can act as an invaluable marketing tool will lend a level of credibility to your brand that may not otherwise be achieved through traditional marketing methods. To see firsthand how much of an effect that customer feedback and word-of-mouth plays in a customers decision to purchase a product or service, there are specific techniques that you use to gather the highest quality testimonials.
Identify Happy Customers
For SaaS and service-based companies, it can be easy to identify heavy users of your product by looking at your backend statistics or even having a chat with your customer service team to power users and customers who frequently ask questions. If they have a great customer service experience every time, then they likely won’t be hesitant to write or give a testimonial. Sending out quarterly customer service surveys is a great place to identify happy customers that would be willing to dive even further into why they’re satisfied with the product.
Using testimonials as marketing collateral
WordPress Hosting Platform Pagely, regularly turns customer success stories into comprehensive Case Studies. This method generates exposure for the client as well as the company and does a deep dive into the reasons the partnership was so productive. Case studies are an excellent way to highlight customer pain points and allow the customer themselves to explain how the company was able to identify and solve their most pressing issues.
Case studies can be a timeless resource on your website and a major selling point when working with customers in similar industries in niches.
A customer’s experience holds a lot of weight and selling power for new clients. Hearing a customer describe their experience firsthand can compel buyers even further and expose them to your brand from the perspective of the customer.
Some companies hold thought-leadership webinars where they invite past clients to present their experiences during a live stream or public webinar. Whereas some webinars are framed in a way that’s intended to make a hard sell, these webinars are designed to provide value and information on a current topic or product. The client and the company’s name is associated with the webinar, and the customer uses their time to explain their own mission, and how working with the company helped them achieve their goals.
Similar webinars, inviting past customers and clients to create guests posts or blogs is a great way to give them a platform to spread their message, as well as highlight their experience working with your company. Guest blogs also add immense value to your brand and the SEO of your website and can contribute to a company’s overall content marketing strategy with minimal effort on your part. Many times, the author of the guest post will also take it upon themselves to share their post on their website and social media channels, further driving traffic to your site. Attaching a lead-magnet to the post in the form of a downloadable guide or infographic is a great way to generate even more potential leads.
Offering incentives in exchange for reviews can be a beneficial strategy when handled appropriately. Dropbox is an excellent example of a company with a unique system for which they collect customer testimonials by offering additional storage and other incentives for customers who write a review on their website. This creates a mutually beneficial situation and can help to collect a high volume of reviews for a brand. However, it’s important to approach this method with caution and treat all reviews, positive or negative, with the same incentive to remain transparent and maintain the legitimacy of your reviews.
It should come as no surprise that a majority of your users use social media. Make sure you’re tracking your company’s handles and associated hashtags and reposting or screenshotting them to feature on your website or otherwise. It’s wise to reach out to customers who post about your brand on social media and ask if you can use their words and likeness on your website or another medium before doing so, just to be sure it’s okay with them. Social media can be a great tool to gather organic testimonials with very little effort.
Working with Influencers
Influencer marketing is on the rise, and everywhere you look, you can see brands utilizing the social media savvy salespeople to push their products and services. While it may be risky to put your brand’s message in the hands of a pseudo internet celebrity, when done right, tech companies can create powerful partnerships with users who respect and genuinely support their brand. Through influencer marketing, brands can generate organic feedback and testimonials on their products by highlighting positive comments from the influencer and their community.
End of project consultations
When closing out a project, many companies will schedule a call to tie up any loose ends and evaluate the success of the project. Use this opportunity to ask the client about their experience and how it has helped them achieve their intended goals. Organic testimonials such as these hold huge weight and can later be used to write entire case studies. The meeting can also be used as an opportunity to ask if the client would be interested in writing a guest blog or hosting a webinar. Or if the call is via video, ask if they would be willing to do a recorded testimonial right there on the call.
Don’t rely on avenues where you can’t control the message
Nearly 86% of buyers are influenced by negative online reviews. Relying on social media or online reviews as your sole source of testimonials takes the message out of your hands. Instead, start conversations with your customer and work together with them to learn how your product or service has served them. Then you can use that information, with their permission, to craft testimonials that are honest and easily relatable to prospective customers.
Positive testimonials can play a huge role in shaping a business’s marketing strategy. Potential buyers place massive weight on the opinions of others before making a purchasing decision. Nurturing customer relationships and gathering positive feedback has the potential to drive sales and brand growth.
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Sarah Aboulhosn is a writer and content strategist. Learn more about how her and how she helps businesses create killer marketing strategies at www.sarahaboulhosn.com.