Testimonials are so horribly, inexcusably underutilized. Reminisce for a second on the last time someone told you about how absolutely, ridiculously amazing a product was. You had to feel at least slightly inclined to check it out, right? Maybe at least do some stalking online to see if it's something worth your time? Hearing praises straight from a real customer increases your chances of purchasing a product by 400% (according to a study I made up just now) and you can take that to the bank.
The Power of the People
If you offer an amazing product (let's hopefully assume that you do), you might at some point experience some frustration in getting the word out. You have amazing catalogs outlining your products, post on social media four times a day, and have mounds of informational content on your site outlining the incredible benefits your products offer over competitors.
The problem is everyone else is doing this too. You have something special, but all of your competitors are thinking they have something special too. So, a customer researching a particular product across a number of different websites has the potential to see a lot of the same information. And you have the potential to accidentally show the same information because, after all, your products are awesome, and you want the world to know.
Now, imagine the same scenario but coming to a website filled with testimonials. Real people talking about real products and real results. It's hard to argue with actual faces saying actual things about your product. You're no longer relying on your fancy marketing copy and thought-out sales pitch to draw in the customer. You are relying on other customers just like her to convince her that the product is awesome.
It's free marketing and it's powerful marketing.
For those products/services that require more consideration than most (buying a home security system versus buying a winter hat), testimonials can be the difference between the sale. Imagine in this scenario that all four websites you are researching for a security system have nice pictures of technology and blueprints of amazing defense technology. They all look sharp, clean, and professional and have similar pricing structures. But one site has testimonials galore:
"My family feels so much safer than we did before. Thanks ABC Security!"
"Their response time was insane. They were at my door within minutes and didn't even care that it was a false alarm!"
"The setup was ridiculously simple, and our home feels 100% protected."
"I couldn't ask for a nicer group of people to work with."
That feels a lot better, right? It feels like they'll wrap you up in a warm blanket and take care of you to make sure nothing goes wrong. I don't know about you, but that's the type of company I want protecting MY house.
This same idea works for really any type of business. Whether you provide software for large corporations, build signage for mom-and-pop shops, make custom cake toppers for weddings, or own a shop that sells homemade candles, the power of words between quotes is something you can't really harness with marketing dollars.
How Do I Get These Magical Testimonials?
Getting people to say nice things about your product can seem like a real difficult project. Am I supposed to just reach out to my customers and ask them for praise? Doesn't that seem tacky?
The truth is, if you do it wrong it could definitely go in the wrong direction for you. That's why you should do it the right way. The wrong way is for chumps.
The Wrong Way
Reaching out to people and asking them to give you a resounding review for a discount (or some other form of payment) is perhaps the biggest way to see this whole thing blow up in your face. Customers want the power to review your product on their own terms, good or bad. They want to feel like they are going out of their way to say something nice about your product because of how generally amazing it is, not because you offered to bribe them.
Force customers to review you and you could be spelling disaster for yourself before you even begin.
The Right Way
Ask customers your customers to give you feedback on how you're doing. Ask them about how their experience was and ask them how they feel about your products. Take a genuine interest in how each customer's experience went. This is obviously difficult on a much larger scale but not impossible.
Smaller businesses can more easily adapt to this strategy by reaching out individually to customers that make purchases. Larger companies can utilize sampling or get in touch with your customer service department to reach out to customers that left compliments.
Make sure they had a wonderful experience and see where you can improve (you can always improve.) If they give you positive feedback, ask them if they would mind if you put their kind words on your website. Generally, someone who feels like they had a wonderful experience will oblige. And even if you only get 2 out of 10 people to agree, that's still 2 more testimonials than you had.
Keep this up on a steady basis and you'll see your number of testimonials start to grow. And of course, more testimonials mean more customers seeing more of your awesome-ness which means getting even more happy customers. It's like the cycle of AMAZING.
If you're pumped up to get started on earning yourself some positive customer testimonials, then get started. The only thing I'll say before you run away and start reaching out to your customers is to make sure you are doing things right. Make sure your customer is happy from start to finish. Make sure your products and services are awesome, then make sure the fulfillment of said products and services is equally as awesome. If your process is amazing from start to finish, getting those amazing customer testimonials won't be as hard as you once thought.
Conversion Rate Optimization
About the author
Kyle Brigham is the Chief Strategy Officer at Marcel Digital. He specializes in client services and project management, but also original Nintendo games and ping pong.