The power of Testimonials (and why they’re vital for your online marketing)
The world we live in today as all the information imaginable at our fingertips; so, it makes sense that buyers tend to be more educated than ever and conduct massive amounts of research before making a purchase.
Product reviews and testimonials play a huge role in increasing sales – especially in the land of Business to Business. The importance of testimonials makes them necessary to put on your websites and share on your social media.
There are several types of testimonials:
- Quote Testimonials
- Peer Testimonials
- Social Testimonial
- Video Testimonials
- Long Form Testimonials
- Mashup Testimonials
This is the most common type of customer testimonials. You can use these testimonials almost anywhere, but you’ll want to include them on your product or service pages.
These can be written, verbal or video. There’s a term called implicit egotism that simply means that we believe people who resemble us more closely. Just like quote testimonials, you can use these in different places, but you’ll want to make sure they’re on the pages of your website that are visited by the people like those in the testimonials.
These testimonials are different from the first two because they’re not ones you ask for. Your customers will volunteer them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or somewhere else. You can use these on your website on a product/service page or your “Our Clients” page.
This is one of the best forms of testimonial because it’s difficult to fake. They should showcase authenticity, trust and demonstrate that your brand is so amazing that people are willing to take time out of their day to help you convince others of that. These can be put on your website and/or shared on your social media.
These testimonials are usually 1000+ word articles that are either interviews or case studies featuring your clients. These can also be a long-form video testimonial focusing on the benefits the client experienced from working with you.
Mashups are several testimonials – written or video – strung together featuring several people. These are great for sharing on social media sites.
What makes testimonials so important? It comes down to an educated customer. Most users have spent a great deal of time online researching a company before even reaching out to begin the purchasing process. Educated customers are looking to see how a product or service benefited a similar company or purchaser.
Your potential customers are doing the research anyway… so why not make it easy for them by providing your product and service reviews in an easy to find a place on your website. By offering them exactly what they’re looking for – you’re helping to move along the purchasing process to hopefully lead to a faster sale!
There are many benefits to using testimonials:
- Testimonials increase credibility and authority.
- Testimonials create Social Proof.
- Testimonials explain specific benefits.
- Testimonials persuade the mind with emotions.
- Testimonials with a good story capture attention.
Most industries are competing for the same types of customers and clients. Each company can claim to be an expert in their field – even if they aren’t. When prospective customers have very little information to go on, they don’t really know who’s being authentic and who isn’t.
By posting a testimonial from an actual customer who has had direct experience with your business, it verifies your claim and can diminish any skepticism. You will have the advantage over any competitor who does not have a testimonial.
Social Proof is the idea of normative social influence that states that individuals will conform in order to be liked by or accepted by an influencer or society. When your customers see a testimonial from an industry expert they respect or see that an industry giant is already using your product/service, that’s social proof. When your customers see that your product or service solved the exact same problem they have for a similar company, that’s social proof. In simple terms – social proof is borrowing third party influence to sway potential customers.
Testimonials allow your satisfied customers to come forward to address the questions and objections that fill the minds of your prospective buyers for you. Sales messages are easier to believe when they come from someone other than a sales rep advocates for your business.
When a potential customer is deciding to purchase a product or service, they’re wondering if it will solve a problem for them or what the benefit would be of purchasing. By having testimonials that showcase the specific benefits and problems solved, it can help your customers come to the purchasing decision faster.
Testimonials have more than one purpose. They’re not just to market your product or service but they’re also an opportunity to connect with your audience on an emotional level. There are studies that have shown that people rely on their emotions – not necessarily logic – when making decisions.
Brands that connect with their potential customers on an emotional level make it easier to persuade them to buy. Whether they laugh, cry or become excited, your audience is more likely to remember you – not because of your product but by how you made them feel. When people feel good – they buy more often.
When it comes down to it, your testimonials are simply stories. Your customers (characters) who had a problem (conflict) found the solution in your business (resolution). Stories are a unique way to draw your prospects in and connect with them emotionally.
The best testimonials are the ones that showcase your customer as the “hero” and your business more like a mentor or play a role as a guide that stepped in to lead them to the happy ending. If your potential customer pictures themselves as the hero in their own stories while using your business as the guide – they’re more likely to buy from you.
So, we know what types of testimonials there are and why we need them… But how can we use them to increase sales? Cue Social Media.
Once you’ve collected positive testimonials from your customers and clients and added them to your website, its time to incorporate them into your online marketing strategy as well. By sharing your testimonials on your social media, you’re existing audience will see them and if they weren’t customers already – they might be more inclined.
You can look at doing paid advertising on social media by targeting your exact target audience based on demographics, geographic location, interests, and even behaviors. If these people weren’t following you on social media, they might now. If nothing else, they’ve now experienced your brand and hopefully will remember the way you made them feel.
TLTR: Testimonials can be written or video, long or short form. They’re a vital piece to getting sales when it comes to the educated customer. Testimonials that elicit emotion or tell a story are the most effective. Once you have the testimonials, you should upload them to your website, share them on social media and consider running paid advertising to your target audience to persuade them to buy.
Owner, AIM Social Media Marketing Nichole Howson is a social media marketing strategist that works with businesses to increase their reach, engagement and bring in qualified leads that convert. Nichole has worked with businesses globally from both ends of the spectrum – start-ups and well established. She focuses on the strategy FIRST before getting started – building a firm foundation for each business’ online marketing.