Word travels fast across the internet and part of a business’ livelihood depends on what customers are saying about them. Today we’re talking about how to get the most from customer testimonials.
Customer testimonials are long-form written reviews from clients giving their opinions and recommendations affirming the performance, quality and value of a product or service. Testimonials are used to influence a potential customer's buying decision, establish credibility, and demonstrate how your product/service can solve problems.
How to Ask For a Customer Testimonial
Most people need an incentive to do something voluntarily. Receiving customer testimonials is no different. If you want customers to review your products you need to give them a reason to do so. Make it simple for them and be direct. Customer testimonials take a seasoned approach. This is not something you want to ask a first-time customer. Seek out customers whom you have a good-standing relationship with, that has used your products or services for a favorable amount of time. A few ways to ask for a testimonial include:
- Lead with a compliment. Whether contacting a client by phone or email, start with a compliment by letting them know their business and opinion is valued by your company. Butter them up a little. If they agree, make sure to send them a follow-up thank you email and ask for permission to use their words on your website.
- Ask for an interview at the end of a project. Grab a client when you’re finished doing something for them that they’re excited about. The best results will come when they’re already happy about something you have done for them, so they will likely return the favor. This can be done in the format of a survey or a phone call interview.
- Utilize social media. If customers are raving about you on social media, reach out to them and ask if you can use their words to compile into a testimonial on your website. Social media posts are more organic, as well. People were not asked or prompted to give compliments about your product, which helps enhance the credibility when posted on your website. You could also encourage customers to spread praise on social media using hashtags to receive similar incentives given to recipients of traditional testimonials.
Examples of Good Testimonials
Blue Apron has their testimonials beautifully spread across the bottom of their homepage. It’s a nice mix between showcasing the ingredients straight out of the box and the final products. By doing this potential customers get a glimpse into how the ingredients are presented to them at delivery, once they’re made into a meal, and a the array of meal choices. For something like food delivery it’s especially important to highlight not only the food itself, but the problem the delivery system solves as a whole.
Elegant Themes uses the customer’s picture instead of the product. Their pictures bring their words to life. They also make the site’s product seem more transparent now that potential customers can see what kind of people are using their product. The text pinpoints their best responses and relays their message on how Elegant Themes solved their problems. This is definitely a more text-heavy form of testimonials, but each format will vary by product. For something like Wordpress themes that Elegant Themes offers, the power of the written word rules over photos.
Campaign Monitor chose the interactive route for their testimonial page. Videos like the Rip Curl campaign show the product being used by real people, feedback given by top employees within the company, and the store housing the products. The rest of the page is designed with pull quotes from other clients and brand pictures that link to full page testimonials and examples on how Campaign Monitor designed emails for those brands. This is probably the most effective way to convince potential customers to use your product because they are showing people every facet in an interactive media. You have video proof, picture proof, and proof straight from the customer’s mouth.
Crafting a Customer Testimonial
Customer testimonials is a more selective process, but still adheres to the same general purpose of a customer review. Instead of asking for a review from every customer, it’s smart to ask for longer-form testimonials from clients you know you’re in good-standing with. Testimonials can also be sent out as an email and tend to be more open-ended. Again, testimonials serve to persuade potential customers and show how a product has made a positive impact to help them overcome objections.
Testimonials should probably include 10 questions or less. Questions to ask include:
- How did you hear about our product/company?
- What was the reason you chose us?
- What kind of problems were you having before using our product?
- How did our product help you solve those problems?
- Had you tried a different product before to solve problems?
- Tell us about your experience with our product
- What is your favorite thing about our product?
- Why would you recommend us to someone else?
- Anything to add?
It’s also beneficial to ask clients if they have quantifiable data to contribute. People want to see numbers they can easily consume. Using exact numbers makes facts and figures more believable and serve as a better way to instill trust and credibility. They’re also an easy figure to glance at to form a positive opinion without have to read the rest.
Testimonials have the added bonus of acting as a magnet for page ranking. The indexed pages will attract additional SEO rankings and attention from Google searches. Customers browsing for something else could come across your testimonial because of certain keywords they may not have been looking for at all. So, not only will potential clients become clients, but you could also gain unexpected clients from a completely different environment. What a happy coincidence.
Making Your Customer Testimonial Better
Taking the time to create a master plan for testimonials will pay off in the end.
Gather a roundtable of people and edit each question until they’re written to elicit the best responses. Think of how to turn a written testimonial into a complete interactive piece of media, like the photos and videos used in the examples above. The bigger the impact, the better the credibility. People want proof. Pictures provide a backdrop to your words and project “truthiness.” To really boost your credibility, include a picture or video of yourself like the people from Elegant Themes.
Incentives will really seal the deal. Offer customers discounts, gift cards, coupons, contest entries, or product giveaways. Obviously, offers will vary depending on the company, but it’s essential to reward customers for their time and efforts. In addition to the incentive, the time that you take to listen to your client will encourage loyalty and build a lasting relationship. The result will be happier clients and more trustworthy product and business.