Testimonials are a crucial piece of the puzzle in your lead nurturing process, regardless of your industry. Fitness, plumbing, law, makeup—every customer wants to hear about the experiences of others before spending money with your brand.
Today’s customers—especially younger generations—are savvy buyers, so using a customer testimonial to do nothing but hype your brand simply won’t do.
How can you get the testimonials you need to nurture leads and boost conversions?
4 strategies for getting testimonials from customers to boost conversions
Read on to learn the best strategies for getting testimonials from customers and how to leverage them in your online marketing strategy.
What you need to know about the customer testimonial in 2019
With digital communication at your fingertips, getting testimonials from customers is possibly easier than it’s ever been. However, that doesn’t mean the landscape hasn’t changed.
Millennial buying power is on track to surpass generation X by 2020—and they aren’t putting up with your old marketing tactics anymore. Most millennials tend to tune out ads.
Source: Financial Times
Customer testimonials are an important part of the process, as your leads and customers research products on their own terms. Here’s how to get it right.
1. Word of mouth is more important than ever.
The truth is that buyers trust recommendations from “people like them.” Research shows that testimonials are some of the best types of digital content, with an effectiveness rating of 89%. *
You already know that recommendations from friends and family are the most important types of word-of-mouth advertising. Maybe you also already know that many shoppers respect online reviews as much as peer-to-peer recommendations.
Getting testimonials from customers plays an important role in the customer journey. Whether your model is brick-and-mortar, direct-to-home, or dropshipping, customer testimonials can help give your leads a vicarious experience of your brand.
2. Customers will still check your reviews.
Marketers can’t ignore the fact that leads and customers will still check reviews. Today’s buyers are smart: they know that you cherry picked every customer testimonial.
This shouldn’t matter, because your testimonials should respect your customers’ intelligence.
Instead of using your testimonials to divert attention from flaws and hyping your business, use them to provide leads with a realistic experience with your brand. Obviously, you don’t want to share negative feedback purposefully—and, honestly, customers won’t expect you to.
Instead, share testimonials that walk leads through your service or product. Let them know about the entire process from start to finish, rather than hyping up your brand with a bunch of superfluous buzzwords and sensational adjectives.
3. Ask the right questions.
To create an effective customer testimonial, you need to ask the right questions.
On the one hand, you want to keep things simple so your customer doesn’t feel overwhelmed and discouraged from responding. On the other hand, you want comprehensive answers.
Consider compiling a list of several possibilities for getting testimonials from customers. You could then ask each customer a question or two. These questions might include:
- How would you describe our product to a friend?
- Would you recommend this service to your family?
- What was the biggest issue that kept you from making your purchase, and what made you change your mind?
- Is there anything about our product that stands out from our competitors’?
- Why did you choose us over competitors?
- Do you plan to do business with us in the future? Why or why not?
- Did you find our sales and customer service teams to be informed and helpful?
4. Avoid the bystander effect.
Remember that, when you’re getting testimonials from customers, you’re speaking to one person directly. If you send out an email to several customers, it should still be written like a personal email between two people.
If your testimonial or survey requests are too generic and don’t seem like they were intended for one specific recipient, the bystander effect could take hold. In other words, your customers may think that someone else will complete the task, so they won’t bother taking action themselves.
5. There’s a right place and right time for everything.
Time matters—for both acquiring and sharing testimonials.
A new subscriber who’s just getting a feel for your brand or product may not feel comfortable getting blasted with testimonials in your first few emails. Wait until they’ve had some time to digest your blog posts, company values, and product promotions.
Likewise, give your customers some time to get a feel for your product or service before asking them to provide their experience. In other words, don’t send a customer testimonial request with a delivery announcement. Give it a few weeks for new customers or only reach out to your most loyal customers.
In practice, you could pepper your testimonials into the bottom of your email campaigns, create targeted sponsored social media posts, or design specific customer testimonial email campaigns as part of an automated customer journey.
Getting testimonials from customers: four strategies to make it happen
Reaching out to ask for testimonials may seem awkward and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Getting testimonials from customers is a constructive process that allows you to learn about your own products and services. Some brands even find new markets or uses for their products once they reach out to their customers. Use these strategies to make it happen.
1. Include a testimonial request as part of your triggered customer journey.
Customer journeys allow you to create and automate a unique funnel for each customer.
Based on the information you’ve collected—such as where the subscriber signed up or which products they purchased—you can develop highly relevant and targeted email campaigns.
Use these customer journeys to your advantage when getting testimonials from customers.
Create an automated (and personalized) email campaign that asks your customer to complete a survey or answer a question. Remember to write this email with a conversational tone. It helps to address this email from one person in your company—such as the head of sales or marketing—and speak to the recipient like a trusted colleague.
Send this email after your new customer has had a few weeks post-purchase to experience your product or service, and don’t forget to offer some kind of incentive for their time, such as a coupon or free product.
Source: Really Good Emails
2. Choose select email subscribers to participate in a survey.
While triggered emails work great for new customers, you also need to reach out to past customers if you’re starting from scratch.
Segment your subscriber list based on different qualities, such as engagement and customer loyalty. The goal isn’t to choose customers who’ll only provide positive testimonials, but rather to choose subscribers that are the most likely to respond.
Not only that, but loyal customers are more likely to know your company almost as well as you do—just in a different light—so they can provide some of the most informational responses.
Treat your loyal customers well when they give you their time. They’ve already spent quite a bit of money supporting your brand. Consider offering these subscribers some kind of free product or gift. Even a gift card to a partner’s store works well.
3. Scour social media.
Forget about reviews for a second. Focus on finding your engaged customers online, and, once you find them, see if they’re interacting with your brand.
Look on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to see who’s talking to or about your brand. Have any of these people purchased through your website? Do you know any of them?
Many people may not want to spend time writing a review, but they’ll still interact with your brand in other ways. Find them.
4. Sort through your third-party reviews.
It’s important to mention at this point that you can’t simply copy and paste reviews from Yelp, Google, Facebook, or other third-party sites and write them off as your own testimonials. These reviews are the property of the respective sites.
You can certainly share snippets and credit the websites. You can also include embedded reviews from these websites.
When getting customer testimonials, however, you’re on your own.
Here’s what you can do: scour Google, Yelp, or Facebook for customers who’ve left detailed reviews and seem to know your product fairly well. Reach out to these customers and see if they’d be willing to talk about their experiences.
By using data you’ve collected, you should be able to cross-reference information from your purchases and email list to see where your most active subscribers hang out online.
Getting testimonials from customers is a crucial part of marketing in 2019 and beyond. In summary:
- Aim to inform about the customer experience—not hype your brand.
- Use multiple sources to find customers who may be interested in providing a testimonial.
- Share each customer testimonial in a strategic way.
Testimonials help leads gain an understanding of your product, service, and brand so they can make informed decisions.
Looking for some tips on approaching customers for surveys or testimonials? Check out this Campaign Monitor blog post about strategic customer feedback.