Strategic Testimonials That Produce New Clients
by Blackwood Impact Group
Customer testimonials are authoritative elements that should be present in all business’ marketing collateral. Well-crafted testimonials help potential buyers imagine what their own client experience with you could be like. Done right, testimonials will convince your prospects and convert them into paying customers.
Even though this is a mandatory piece of marketing content, many businesses have little to no testimonials merely because they don’t regularly ask their clients. Others have testimonials, but what they have does not effectively generate new revenue. So what can businesses do to both secure endorsements from clients and ensure it yields the desired results?
In our experience, Blackwood Impact Group has uncovered the best practices we list below. They are the best we’ve found at helping small to medium-sized businesses elicit and create potent stores that propel prospects to buy.
Understand The Most Important Part Of Testimonials
Before you get your client’s statement, it is essential to have the right mindset about testimonials in general. Your company, product, or service should not be the central focus. The real star is your client.
More specifically, the focus of the testimonial should be on the transformation your client underwent as a result of your company’s intervention. No matter what format it is in (written, video, or audio), the content must tell the story of how your client’s life or business is now better as a result of using your products and services.
Another foundational point to keep in mind is that you won’t get any testimonials if you don’t ask for them. That might sound like common sense, but many companies do not have a formalized way of asking for or encouraging existing clients to share their stories. Once you ask, you must make it easy for them to help you out.
Here are some ideas to try: If you are in a service-based business, just ask your client if they would be willing to give you a testimonial during your next follow up session. Another good time to ask is right after the close of a sale and at the beginning of your engagement. They are usually very excited and tend to still be very happy in their experience with you thus far.
If you have a product-based, eCommerce, or retail-based business, online reviews are crucial for social proof. In these cases, use technology to your advantage. In the footer of your transactional emails, ask clients to leave an online review. Be sure to place a link where they can do so, either on the app store, on Amazon, Yelp, Google reviews, or elsewhere. You can also encourage your clients to “check-in” or tag your business on social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Foursquare.
Should You Create The Testimonial Or Should They?
Sometimes, service-based and B2B marketers who do ask their clients to provide them with testimonials get a one or two-line email back from the customer. It might read something like this:
“We enjoyed working with Company X. They were very fast, friendly, and professional. We highly recommend them.”
It’s not uncommon for your happy clients to not have any idea of what you need them to say in their testimonial. A very common piece of advice is for the marketing department to write the client testimonial and give it back to the client for their approval.
Remaining in control of the testimonial is an excellent idea. However, it is vital that you ask the right questions in the process so that it elicits the information you need. Written testimonials and case studies are standard and adequate. For an even greater impact, consider investing in producing a video testimonial. You can still use your questions to guide their responses and merely edit out the interviewer in the final cut.
Sample Questions That Paints The Picture of Your Customer’s Success
The most critical part of creating a virtual “before and after” snapshot of your clients is getting them to share the highlights of their transformation. The most compelling customer testimonials and case studies all share a story that touches on three important points:
- The pains and struggles the client experienced in their business or personal life before “the solution.”
- Enter “the solution” which changed everything.
- The results “the solution” produced and how life or business is now better than before.
Asking your clients the right questions can bring this story to the forefront. When interviewing your customers about their life or business before they started working with you, be sure to include their pain points, issues, and all the challenges they faced. Questions you can ask could consist of:
- What was the problem you encountered before discovering our product or service?
- What did it feel like trying to solve that problem on your own?
- Did you use another company’s product or service? How did that turn out?
Next, aim to learn more about your clients’ reactions to learning about and using your product or service. Ask questions along these lines:
- What was different about our product/service?
- Describe the moment you realized our product was actually solving your problem.
- Describe your experiences using our product/service or working with our team?
Finally, round the story out with a great “after” snapshot. Some sample questions you can use includes:
- What does your life or business look like now that your problem is solved or being solved?
- What are the results you experienced after working with us or using our product(s)?
The goal of these questions is to help your prospects to see your company as the solution they need. You want your prospects to identify with the challenges your clients faced. Then you want them to envision themselves with their own “happily ever after” as a result of hiring or buying from you as your client shared.
How and Where To Use Your Customer Testimonials
Testimonials should be accessible everywhere prospects encounter your brand. That includes in your printed marketing collateral, on display in your physical location, and of course on your website and other places online that your prospects are hanging out.
Your website is usually one of the first places prospects go to research you. You should have the full version of your client’s testimonial available either hosted on its own web page, available as a downloadable PDF case study, or as a video. You can also extract the most potent quotes and sprinkle them on your homepage, on service description pages, and on sales pages.
We mentioned earlier that product-based, eCommerce, and retail businesses should encourage their customers to leave public reviews on sites like Yelp, Amazon, Google, Linked In, Houzz, Angie’s List, in the app store, and more. Be sure to provide detailed instructions and links to make it very easy for them to do so.
Establishing a habit of asking for or creating well-crafted testimonials will instantly give more credibility to your branding and marketing efforts. Better still, asking for testimonials can lay the foundation for jump-starting an official referral program where you reward your clients for introducing you to new paying customers. Blackwood Impact Group has extensive experience helping small businesses maximize their testimonials and creating revenue-generating referral programs. Contact us today for more information at 770-502-6295 or firstname.lastname@example.org.