Customer testimonials are part of the secret sauce of success. You can make your copy compelling, you can design a beautiful, user-friendly website, your product can be the answer to your customer’s problems… but customer testimonials are often the tipping point in convincing someone to take a chance on your business. Nielsen data shows 92% of consumers around the world trust customer testimonials and other earned media more than any other form of advertising.


Before You Start Gathering Testimonials

Not all testimonials are created equal, so before you start you’ll want to think about what it is you hope to do with the testimonials. Of course you want to increase sales and build trust, but dig a little deeper. Think about which segments of your audience you want to influence with the testimonials, the areas of the sales cycle you want to add the testimonials, and the actions you want them to take after they read the testimonial.


With this information in hand, place yourself in the customer’s shoes. What do they need to hear, and who do they need to hear it from? You’ll need to consider that prospects are different. Some will want to know about how you helped others who are in similar situations. Others will want to see testimonials that allow them to relate to other people like them, so they know you understand them.


How to Easily Obtain Testimonials

Ask your customers for testimonials. Because you will need several types of testimonials to address the needs of all your customers, you’ll need to be sure to reach out to his many customers as possible. Testimonials will help you learn what your customers found most valuable, compared to what you thought they would consider most valuable, so you can use that information to sell the same value to prospective customers.


When you ask your customer for a testimonial, let them know how you plan to use it. This not only helps to ensure your customers will provide a testimonial you can use, but increases their comfort level about providing a testimonial to you.


You can ask for testimonials:


  • After a purchase or service call
  • Via follow-up phone calls or email messages
  • Via customer surveys


When asking, don’t ask the customer to leave a good review, rather ask them to provide comments about their experience with your business.


One of the best things you can do is offer to help your customer with the testimonial. Remember, you’re asking them to do something for you, which places a burden on them. If they feel like it’s too much work, they are less likely to follow through.


You have several options here, ranging from giving your customers and list of questions or a template, asking them to have a brief discussion with you before they write a testimonial, or interviewing them in presenting them with a draft testimonial for them to approve. You want to help them prepare the testimonial rather than write it for them. Testimonials need to capture the customer’s experience to provide the most value, so it’s important it is done in their own language.


The ideal customer testimonial is authentic, specific, and quantifiable. Ask your customers to use hard numbers whenever possible. A testimonial that says, “I saved $300 by working with X company” is much more compelling than “X company helped me save money.”


When customers agree to provide a testimonial, make sure you take the time to thank them for their effort. Even if it’s just a simple thank you email, this will go a long way toward building trust and brand loyalty. You can always take it a step further and provide a small gift as a token of appreciation, such as a discount on future orders. However, this incentive may color the content of the review, so don’t offer it until after the review has been submitted and approved.


Featuring Testimonials on Your Website

Place testimonials where prospective customers will see them. It’s always a good idea to have a few on your homepage. You may also want to consider having a dedicated page for testimonials which is linked in your main navigation menu.


Just because your customer testimonial is true, doesn’t mean people will believe it. Studies show images can increase trust with nearly anyone, even if the images don’t make any sense. Even when the image doesn’t show proof, respondents trusted the statement far more often. If possible, include an image of your customer with the testimonial, and get the appropriate consent from your customer in writing.


To make your testimonial even more powerful, consider hiring video production professionals to create a series of video testimonials, or better yet, video case studies. This will require a little more effort with your customers to create the testimonial in the first place, but the end result will be far more compelling with your target audience.


Are you using customer testimonials on your website now? How do you feel they have impacted your business as a whole?

Original article: How To Create Customer Testimonials That WORK

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