Social proof is powerful. And great testimonials are one of the most powerful forms of social proof.
If your business is on social media, relies on referrals, or runs ads for products and services (read: everyone), testimonials can boost everything from early-stage engagement to conversions.
Why Are Great Testimonials Important?
As HubSpot says (but you knew already), potential customers trust recommendations from real people more than your marketing content and sales reps.
And if you’re doing business online, testimonials add credibility and authenticity to your offer. Social proof shows that there’s a positive outcome waiting for customers at the end of the process.
The benefits don’t end there. You can also use testimonials to alleviate buyer objections, show your products or services in action, and build your brand and social media presence.
To get content that does all of those things, however, will require some proactivity on your part.
7 Tips to Get Great Testimonials
Not all testimonials are created equal. To leverage reviews, user-generated content (UGC), and other client comments effectively, you’ll need great testimonials that will resonate with your audience.
Use these 7 tips to get great testimonials that will help your business grow.
1. Make it Easy
One of the least effective ways to ask for a testimonial is to… just ask for a testimonial.
When you give users or buyers a blank slate to say anything they want about your product or service, they’re going to struggle to put a cohesive response together.
Instead, as Optinmonster suggests, start by asking how their experience with your product or service has been so far. When they reply in a positive way, ask for more details and specifics about their results. Once you have that information, summarize what they’ve said and ask if you can use that version as a testimonial.
And if you want to scale up your testimonial-gathering, you can use these steps to…
2. Put a Process in Place
As StoryBrand says, “The best time to get great customer testimonials is BEFORE you need them.”
And if you want to feature great testimonials in your marketing, on your social media profiles, or throughout your checkout experience, you’ll need to create a testimonial-gathering process.
Lots of eCommerce sellers have an automated system for getting testimonials already. You’ve probably received a “what did you think of your product?” email from an Amazon seller or two — that’s a common example.
Whatever business you’re in, it’s crucial to put a process in place to find, capture, and organize testimonials so that you can use them in relevant locations.
3. Timing is Everything
If you want relevant testimonials that resonate, when you ask is just as important as how you ask.
If you ask too soon, your customers won’t have formed an opinion worth sharing. And if you’re too late, they won’t remember the important details that you’re looking for.
The optimal time to ask for testimonials is usually after a project if you’ve provided a service or a few days after they’ve started using or getting value from an app or physical products.
4. Ask the Right Questions
Even if you’ve put an automated, easy-to-use, well-timed testimonial process in place, the responses you get from your customers will only be as good as the questions you ask.
If you want to use your testimonials to engage and encourage would-be buyers, ask about the problem that your product solved and the positive outcomes and benefits that the customer received from your product.
Thoughtful answers to the right questions can be used to reduce objections during the buying process. (Also, those answers will be much more impactful than responses to questions like “What did you think of [new feature X]?”)
5. Use Images and Video Whenever Possible
The more engaging your testimonials are, the more likely they are to convince prospects that your offer is the right one.
That’s why it’s so important to incorporate images and leverage video as often as you can.
If you’re using written testimonials, for example, include the reviewer’s name, picture, and title (if applicable) next to their words. These visual indicators reinforce that these are real people and real success stories.
To that point, it’s a good idea to ask for video testimonials from satisfied customers and partners if you can. Even if it’s just a few seconds of self-shot smartphone footage, having someone say good things about you on camera will always be more engaging than written testimonials.
6. Leverage the Buyer’s Journey
ECommerce sellers and digital marketers should already be familiar with the buyer’s journey or sales funnel.
Great testimonials are a powerful tool for addressing key objections throughout the buying process, especially if your offer is a service or high-value product with a longer sales cycle.
7. Great Testimonials Aren’t Feedback
The responses you get from your testimonial requests won’t be universally positive. While you’re looking for good, reusable content, you’re likely to get critical responses or negative feedback about some stage of your process.
If you ask for a testimonial and receive feedback or criticism instead, use the opportunity to offer support or provide a solution. If you’re able to make the buyer’s frown turn upside down, ask for an updated testimonial that incorporates the steps you took after the initial review.
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