The Power of Customer Testimonials and How They Can Grow Your Business
As a business owner it’s easy to talk up your products or services. You know how good you are and enjoy telling people that in your website copy and marketing materials. However, you preaching about your qualities isn’t always enough to seal the deal — people need to hear it from someone else. This is where customer testimonials come in.
In this post, we’ll talk about what makes a good testimonial and how to go about getting customers to leave positive feedback. We’ll also show you some great customer testimonial examples from leading brands that you can use to inspire your own marketing.
But first, why are reviews from customers so beneficial?
Why customer testimonials can benefit your business
Customer testimonials are social proof. They’re a way for you to say to potential customers, “don’t take our word for it, look at what other people — people just like you — are saying about us.”
They’re also the most powerful way to earn trust and close sales.
- Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%
- 97% of B2B buyers say that consumer reviews are more credible than other types of content
- 84% of people trust consumer reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Customers spend 31% more with businesses that have good client testimonials
- 90% of consumers who recalled reading online reviews say positive online reviews influenced buying decisions
Testimonials work because your customers were once where the prospect is now, mulling over whether to choose your company over another and reading everything they can find to help them make a decision. Seeing what someone they can relate to has to say — someone that hasn’t been paid to say it — strengthens the trust and lowers the risk.
You should use customer testimonials anywhere you can, on your website, in email marketing campaigns, in your Google My Business Listing, across social media — anywhere that lets customers leave reviews for you to share.
What makes a good testimonial?
For a testimonial to have the desired effect (i.e. get someone to buy what you’re selling), it needs to be six things:
- Truthful — Fake testimonials aren’t only unethical, they’re illegal. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “using unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” Deceiving the customer is a crime. Plus, most people are able to see through fake reviews anyway, making your site less trustworthy. Only ever use genuine feedback.
- Original — Testimonials need to add something to the page that can’t be found in the main copy. Instead, they should focus on benefits that can’t be found anywhere else on the page about how your product helped the customer achieve success.
- Natural — The language of a testimonial should be that of the customer. While it can be tempting to edit testimonials or offer up a pre-written review for the customer to green light, you’ll only serve to damage its authenticity and, in the process, your credibility.
- Focused — Save the lengthy stories for case studies. Testimonials should be concise, focusing solely on how the product or service benefitted the customer.
- Detailed — The more detailed and specific a testimonial is, the more relatable it will be. That might seem to contradict the previous point, but being detailed isn’t about using more words for the sake of it, it’s about using words well. So, rather than having the customer say that your product “improved our business and made our lives easier”, ask that they’re specific. For example, if you were selling accounting software, a more detailed review could say, “The [product] helped us systemize accounting, streamlining the bookkeeping process and saving us two hours a day.”
- Visually appealing — Make testimonials capture attention immediately. This can be done through words and with design elements, using images and video for engagement.
being detailed isn’t about using more words for the sake of it, it’s about using words well
How to get customer testimonials
Customers that have enjoyed a positive experience with your company will be happy to tell others about it, but sometimes they need a little bit of prompting.
The easiest way to get testimonials is simply to ask for testimonials from happy customers.
According to Brightlocal, 68% of consumers will leave a review if they’re asked to. So make a habit of doing exactly that.
Here are a few ways you can ask for testimonials:
Send an automated email
Create an email campaign that sends out an automated email around 5-7 days after a customer has received a product/service. This is a good amount of time for them to have used the product/service and give an informed opinion.
To encourage people to act and actually leave the review, consider sweetening the deal with a discount or entry into a prize draw. Incentives give people a reason to take time out of their day.
Send a customer survey
Customer surveys are an easy way to get testimonials and gather precious feedback for improving products/services and marketing.
Use a tool like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to create a simple survey that asks the customer questions on doubts and queries they had prior to purchase, why they purchased the product/service, and what they purchased it for (what problem has it solved?). Then, as a final question ask something like:
“Would you mind saying a few words that we could use as a testimonial?”
For Shopify users…
Shopify users have the benefit of a whole host of apps that can take care of gathering reviews on your behalf by automatically sending emails and making it straightforward for customers to leave feedback.
Check out our list of the nine best Shopify testimonial apps and take your pick.
Let reviews come to you
Some people are so thrilled by their experience with you that they’re compelled to go out and leave a testimonial immediately. Other testimonials will fall into your lap indirectly, through social media posts, emails, or comments on blog posts.
Good feedback is good feedback wherever it’s left and nice words sent to you via other channels can be repurposed and shared on your website. Whenever you receive good feedback, save it and ask for permission to share it as a testimonial.
8 Great customer testimonial examples to use for inspiration
A survey by BrightLocal shows that 85% of consumers read up to 10 reviews before feeling they can trust a business. This means you should make testimonials easy for potential customers to find by placing them prominently on website landing pages, as well as a dedicated testimonials page.
To inspire your efforts, we’ve put together eight customer testimonial examples from companies that are using feedback to the fullest.
Hootsuite uses testimonials to show how its social media management platform can benefit any user by pairing them against goals and needs. Each section has a headline and copy that talks about how Hootsuite can help, before leading into what it’s done for some of the world’s biggest businesses. Nothing backs up your claim like a happy customer and this testimonial page demonstrates that perfectly.
Hubspot’s customer testimonial page keeps things simple, letting the words of customers do the talking.
Each testimonial gives the customer the space to say what they want to say and includes an image, along with their name, job title, and a link to their website.
Because of the SEO benefits of a backlink to a customer’s website, you can use it as an incentive to get reviews in the same way you would a discount or prize draw.
Basecamp is a good customer testimonial example in that it shows how to make the most of good feedback on your homepage. Testimonials are placed prominently on the page and a strong sentence is used to put across the benefits of the product.
“We don’t need to spend as much time in meetings now that we use Basecamp.” For many visitors, that one line alone from an actual customer is enough to close a sale.
Like Basecamp, Upwork pulls in the power of the customer for its homepage, picking out a powerful sentence from a testimonial to encourage visitors to watch a video of the customer talking up the platform.
According to Eyeview, videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%, which makes sense when you consider that 79% of consumers prefer watching video over reading about a product. Convincing customers to talk on camera is a lot tougher than having them write a few words, but where there are willing volunteers, video is a tool worth harnessing.
99designs uses an eye-catching video to headline its customer testimonial page, with a list of reviews below it. What’s different about this page, however, is the use of star ratings — not all that common with B2B businesses.
Star ratings help build trust without the customer necessarily having to read the review. 99designs doesn’t just rely on stars, though. Each rating is accompanied by a few words from the customer. What’s more, the page lets the user sort reviews by category to find feedback that’s relevant to them.
FreeAgent’s testimonials page goes down the influencer route, using reviews from media sources to create trust and boost credibility. Studies show that 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when making a purchase. Seeking out feedback from sources that are well-known and respected by your audience can have a positive impact on your sales.
The biggest takeaway from these reviews in terms of design and format is the use of emphasized text as a quote. By picking out a juicy line from the body content, they’re able to grab attention and encourage further reading. For added social proof, FreeAgent also includes the logo on the reviewer, giving the testimonial instant gravitas.
Wix’s beautifully designed “Stories” page is a great example of how to use different testimonial formats for maximum effect. The page combines video stories with written testimonials and quotes pulled from the brand’s social channels to engage visitors and give them a good insight into what Wix can offer a small business. When putting together your own testimonials page, think about how the design can be used to impact clients.
Shopify uses testimonials on its homepage to give visitors a taste of what the platform can offer, showing off a quote and hero image that works well on its own, but also entices users into watching a video of how the customer achieved success.
High-quality imagery is also used on the platform’s “Success Stories” page. Great use of whitespace puts the attention firmly on the testimonial image and a short excerpt puts across the benefits of the platform while encouraging further investigation.
What we also like about this page — and something you don’t often see — is the addition of a call-to-action that asks customers to share their own stories. Landing on this page as an existing customer and seeing the various success stories is inspiring. It makes you want to tell your own story. Including the call-to-action to is a great way to build on existing reviews.
Testimonials are a tried and tested way to grow a business. They build trust in your brand by showing and convincing people that you’re the real deal. Use the tips and the examples in this post to build social proof.
- Ask customers for testimonials
- Encourage honest, authentic feedback
- Experiment with text and video testimonials
- Use strong imagery to grab attention
- Display reviews on website landing pages, dedicated testimonial pages, and in marketing materials
Show prospects how choosing you has worked out for people in the same position they’re in now and your business will never be short of conversions.
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