Users want to buy from brands they can trust: however, how’s a user to know if you’re really trustworthy?
Testimonials are perhaps one of the best ways to gain an audience’s trust, but how do you go about getting such praise in the first place?
Often, the most powerful marketing tools are the ones that don’t have a price tag.
Let’s take trust, for example.
Most marketers would kill for the chance to break down the trust barrier between themselves and their potential customers.
At the same time, we can’t really blame today’s users to be skeptical of budding businesses online.
Users have sadly been conditioned to assume the worst when it comes to new companies offering scams, schemes and nothing of value.
This skepticism makes marketing difficult for those of us offering legitimate products and services to our base.
There’s no “right” way when to establish trust with new visitors to our sites and sales funnels.
Thankfully, there are some trust-building strategies you can employ available which vary from industry to industry.
The more you write, the more you’re seen as an authority; meanwhile, the more you tend to tell the story of your business, the more relatable you become.
Additionally, you can warm and nurture leads through personalization, recognizing users as more than simply a number or data point for your sales funnel.
Yet perhaps the best possible means of building trust in prospective users and driving them through your funnel is through testimonials.
What do we mean by testimonials?
Reviews, ratings and case studies.
Internet marketing may seem insanely complicated these days; however, word of mouth is still as strong as ever when it comes to driving customers to buy.
Think that ratings, reviews and word of mouth are all hype?
If 90% of users read online reviews and 88% of those same users trust those reviews as much as personal recommendations, you begin to see how many words of mouth really matters online.
Furthermore, if four out of five users consider online reviews before purchasing from a brand, we not only begin to understand the importance of testimonials, but also the power of positive testimonials.
But what makes testimonials so powerful in the first place? Consider that…
- True testimonials cannot be bought – Sure, some users are growing wary of online reviews; however, a legitimate, positive customer experience cannot be packaged or replicated. Such behavior is organic; likewise, a stunning customer review often trumps any marketing ploy we could pull off ourselves.
- Testimonials speak to your customers – When someone describes their experience using a product, good or bad, customers can instantly relate to the narrative of the testimonial. Both the writer of testimonial and the user were looking to solve a problem, and readers want to know whether or not the product in question was successful. Testimonials go beyond the white noise of marketing by offering the thoughts and emotions of people (versus a faceless company).
- Testimonials preview your product – I can tell you how great product is all day and night; however until you see it in action for yourself, you’ll naturally be skeptical. Testimonials, especially video testimonials, offer a first-hand preview of how a product works and can almost serve as a commercial for whatever you’re offering. The best part about such case studies is that that users are doing the advertising for
Okay, so you’re on the hunt for testimonials, case studies, and reviews.
But how do we get them, especially if we’re just starting out?
Luckily, we can encourage our users to leave their feedback for us in a variety of ways.
How Do I Get Testimonials for My Sales Funnel?
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Sometimes the best way to get what you’re looking for is simply by asking.
Keep in mind that testimonials, ratings and reviews aren’t just going to fall out of the sky.
The reality is that you more than likely will have to ask for them in some way, shape or form.
Rarely will users flock to the web to rave about a product unless it’s truly transformational.
Before you go seeking reviews or testimonials, ensure that you feel confidence enough about your product that users will respond positively.
If you feel that you’re offering legitimacy to your buyers, you should feel more than comfortable in asking for testimonials.
How do you get them, then?
Incentivize – If you don’t want to go proverbially knocking on your users’ doors in search of positive testimonials, it may be more prudent to offer simply an incentive to do so.
Many brick-and-mortar businesses do this through platforms such as Yelp, offering a free or discounted item in exchange for a check-in or review.
What keeps you from taking the same approach online?
Offering discounts or trials within your funnel in exchange for a testimonial straightforward, non-intrusive way of gathering positive feedback from your base.
Outreach – Maybe you’re nervous about ruffling the feathers of all of your users by asking for a testimonial, which is understandable.
If you find yourself in such a situation, it may be more prudent for you to perform some personalized outreach to existing customers who you know have had a positive experience.
The question is: who are these users? Where do I find them?
Chances are, you already have users more than willing to give you a positive testimonial; however, you simply haven’t reached out to them.
- Who have emailed you positive feedback or a thank-you message in the past
- Who have provided a shout-out or positive mention on social media
- Who have posted a review of your product on their blog, website or on a forum
The only downside is outreach is that it takes a bit of homework on your part.
Other than that, it’s a pretty foolproof method of tracking down users who would be happy to sing your praises.
Email Blast – This method comes with the largest risk or reward especially depending on how many customers are in your funnel and how you structure your email marketing strategy.
However, a simple blast asking for testimonials would likely yield something from your base.
Whether or not you’ll get an overwhelming response is up on the air, but you’ll certainly get some feedback from such a campaign.
Now that you’ve asked for testimonials, which are the kinds that you want?
And how do you leverage them?
What Kind of Testimonials Do I Want?
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Testimonials come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
That is, some are concise, others are long and drawn out.
Some may make your business look like a million bucks, others not so much.
For example, let’s compare the following:
Social Mentions – A quick “thank you” or shout-out to your brand on Twitter won’t do much for your bottom line, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
You can potentially use these mentions as means for outreach or feature them in your marketing campaigns as a means of displaying “satisfied customers.”
Short and sweet, social mentions aren’t the cream of the crop regarding testimonials, but they’re certainly nothing to scoff at.
Any praise is good to praise, really.
Written Reviews – Written reviews (in the form of articles or blog) are where testimonials really help give your business a boost.
Firstly, they can be a huge positive regarding SEO.
Let’s say a popular reviewer or blogger makes a case study about your product.
The chances are that case study could turn up on the front page of Google over time for keywords concerning your brand.
Additionally, written reviews are prime to leverage in email marketing or site copy (“hey, check out what this guy said about how awesome our product is”).
Video Testimonials – Video testimonials are the holy grail of positive feedback.
They’re easy to digest, even easier to share and provide a visual component to your product or service.
We can ramble and rave all day about how great our product is; however, video testimonials give that product a tangible face.
If a user offers the chance for a video testimonial, jump on it immediately.
Let’s say we have users hungry to give us a testimonial.
What can we do to get the most out of such testimonials?
In other words, what does a truly good testimonial look like?
What Do the Best Testimonials and Case Studies Look Like?
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Not all testimonials are created equally, and we naturally want only the best testimonials for our business.
So, what are the essential elements of a truly great testimonial?
Sincerity – Buyers can smell BS from a mile away.
Whoever reviews or raves about your product should be sincere about it, and come off as such.
You don’t need to pay or hire actors here, you simply need someone who’s happy with your product and can explain why without getting tongue-tied.
Professionalism – Your testimonials should look like they were made with thought, effort, and purpose.
Well-designed and free of errors or bias, make sure that you’re just as proud of any testimonial you push as you are about your product or business itself.
Spotlight on the product – A proper testimonial puts the spotlight on the product rather than the reviewer.
Remember, you’re trying to pique the interest of buyers and establish trust.
Let the product speak for itself.
Leads users back into your funnel – Last but not least, a strong testimonial will somehow lead users back into your sales funnel.
Whether that’s through a call-to-action or text-links, it’s important to leave your readers or viewers with a sense of something to do following the testimonial.
What’s Your Ideal Testimonial?
Build trust, build up your sales funnel.
It’s as simple as that.
By seeking out testimonials, case studies, and reviews, you create opportunities to establish yourself as a trusted brand online and bring new users into your funnel.
What does the ideal testimonial look like to your business?