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Ultimate Guide to Testimonials – 2022

ultimate guide to testimonials

Testimonials are a marketer’s secret weapon. Not only can they help you drive sales and improve your bottom line, but testimonials will also allow you to establish credibility in your industry. So, how can you leverage testimonials to drive business and engage with your consumers?

This ultimate guide will teach you everything you need to know about testimonials, so you can start reaping the benefits of these reviews. We will discuss the basics of testimonials, why they are important, the different types to choose from, the best way to prepare one, and more. 

Let’s get started!

What are Testimonials?

Before we get into the details of the various types of testimonials and how to use them, we must start with the basics: what is a testimonial?

A customer testimonial is when someone that has purchased a product or service from your business leaves an honest review. Generally, a testimonial includes an endorsement for your company. In other words, the statement showcases how effectively your brand addressed a pain point or solved a unique problem for that customer. 

Testimonials can describe anything about the buyer’s experience. It could relate to how a product added value to their lives or how they enjoyed working with your brand.

It doesn’t matter whether they are posted on your Facebook page, left as a review on a product landing page, or shared in filmed statements from a satisfied customer – all of them will discuss the benefits of your products and services.

As you can see, even though testimonials exist in various forms, the goal will always be the same: to share how great a product is and encourage other customers to make a purchase. These honest reviews are often showcased on the company’s website and across marketing materials, as they are a great way to build trust with potential customers and drive conversions. 

When testimonials are done right, they provide descriptive and authentic evidence for future buyers! Customers trust other shoppers more than they trust your marketing team, so they need to be able to find relatable content on your reviews page. 

The Importance of Testimonials

Now that you know what a testimonial is you might be wondering – why are they important?

For starters, a customer review is one of the most effective marketing methods. Yes, you read that right – testimonials can convert more business than even paid content and ads! Since they take the focus away from the company trying to sell a product and shift it to satisfied customers, it is easier for users to relate to the review and trust what they read.

Simply put, when a potential client checks out your testimonials page or reads recent reviews, they can get feedback from someone who was once in their shoes. Perhaps they share a similar pain point or are trying to solve the same problem. By learning the real-life applications to your products and services, prospects can decide to go ahead and finalize their purchase. 

If that isn’t enough to convince you that testimonials are a key component of a successful marketing campaign, maybe the numbers will convince you.

Studies have found that up to 95% of shoppers will read reviews before buying a product. According to Harvard Business Review, increasing your Yelp rating by 1 star can boost sales between 5% to 9%!

Testimonials are just as important to customers as they are to your business. Without access to these reviews, customers will not be able to make a purchase decision or completely trust your brand. Similarly, your company needs testimonials to increase conversions, build credibility, and support your overall brand image. 

Think of it from the customer’s point of view – if you’ve never purchased from a business before and are unsure about whether the products will meet your needs, the best place to confirm that is to browse testimonials. A plethora of positive reviews will likely encourage a customer on the fence to make a purchase and click order now. However, even a single negative review may sway a prospect in the other direction if it raises a red flag that they cannot move past. 

So, how else can reviews help a business besides increasing sales and encouraging customer engagement? If you take the time to read through customer reviews on your social media sites and product landing pages, you can better understand what your clients think. 

What is working well, and what are they happy about? Are there consistent complaints about a product or service? Is there something that you could do better to retain customers? The answer to these questions should drive your overall business strategy, from product design and customer support to the overall buying process. 

To summarize, testimonials are essential because they help turn interested leads into loyal customers and can provide invaluable insights into what your clients are experiencing. 

Different Types of Testimonials

There is no one right way to promote or format a testimonial on your website, and you will need to learn what works best for your business over time. However, all good testimonials – even uniquely formatted ones – must be sincere, specific, and relatable.

Did you know that there are more ways to share a testimonial than just in a written review? Here are some of the most used types of testimonials:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Photo Testimonials
  • Video Testimonials
  • Audio Testimonials
  • Case Studies

Whether you choose to share a photo from a satisfied customer, a quote left in a written review, or a video clip of a client interview, they must help your brand build trust and credibility. 

That means you must ask yourself, what would my target audience relate to most? Would a video speak to all the different buyer personas, or would it be ideal to share a social media post?

To help you answer these questions, we will dive into the different types of testimonials you can choose from. Each option will have various benefits and drawbacks, but the overall goal is to increase conversion rates by sharing compelling testimonials.

Social Media

It has also become the first choice for marketers. That is because it allows them to source testimonials while serving as a platform where you can continue to engage with those satisfied customers. It is quick and easy to get reviews online – there’s a good chance your customers are already sharing comments on your posts, so all you need to do is repurpose it for your other marketing materials. 

Social media seems to have taken over marketing – and the same can be said for testimonials. In fact, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become the go-to sources for clients to look for reviews, quote testimonials, and other feedback about the brands they plan to buy from.

These testimonials are very credible, too, since all a prospective client needs to do to verify the post’s authenticity is to view the author’s account and see for themselves that they are a legit person. 

Always be looking for brand mentions on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok and other platforms, as they can often be some of the most genuine and authentic sources of feedback. This is especially true if you get a shoutout from a celebrity or well-known influencer, as that will encourage their entire following to connect with your brand!

Social media testimonials

Photo Testimonials

The saying a picture is worth a thousand words is true, – and this logic also applies to testimonials. A photo testimonial is an effective tool for brands like beauty companies, where showing a before and after picture can make all the difference. 

Encourage your customers to share these images on your social media and review landing pages to maximize their success!

photo testimonials, how to use photo testimonials, easy way to make testimonials

Video

Video testimonials are also a great way to share positive customer experiences with your target audience. These reviews tend to be visually engaging and entertaining, so they are marketers’ preferred option for promoting testimonials.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much more information you can learn from watching a video testimonial instead!

Since authentic review videos are hard to fake, they can also be a highly effective marketing tool. In other words, video testimonials can improve trustworthiness while also driving up conversion rates and boosting your bottom line.

There are many ways to share a video testimonial, too. For instance, you can share them on your YouTube page so viewers who are learning about your brand can easily see samples of your products and honest feedback from real customers. 

Similarly, video testimonials should be shared across your social media platforms. It’s no secret that viewers these days prefer video content over written text – just ask TikTok – so make sure that you are sharing reviews in a format that is best suited for your audience. 

Just ensure that your videos are professionally made since customers want to see well-produced content in high-resolution. That means investing in the right production equipment and video editing software!

Made with http://Milkvideo.com

Audio Testimonials

Another unique option when deciding how to share customer testimonials is through audio. Audio testimonials are a great way to build credibility and trust with your listeners, without spending the extra time and money on video editing.

It can be costly for smaller brands to purchase all the equipment needed to develop a professional video testimonial, so using just the audio is a great alternative! All that’s needed is a microphone and a satisfied client – so it is a cost-effective way to create another compelling review. 

Try sharing these testimonials in a podcast, on the radio, or even overlay them on a slideshow. Likewise, you can take quotes from these audio recordings to use in written blogs, images, and more. 

Made with http://Milkvideo.com

Case Studies

If you are looking for a way to educate your clients on a deeper level, then a case study may be an appropriate type of testimonial to choose. Case studies are generally longer blog posts or video interviews, which allow you to dive deeper into the specifics of your products and their benefits. 

In other words, they allow you to share more information with your clients and tell a story from start to finish. That means you can address customer pain points in detail, carefully outlining how your products are the best solution for them. 

For instance, a company that sells cleaning products may share a video case study comparing surfaces wiped with their items to those disinfected with a competitor’s product. They may start by describing how their product works and why it is unique, but it will usually be followed up with feedback from real clients confirming that the statements are true. 

Blog posts are another great way to share case studies, as users can read through them at their own pace and focus on the key features that are relevant to them. 

Case study testimonials, how to add case study testimonials to your website

Tips for Writing an Effective Testimonial

If you learn anything in this ultimate guide to testimonials, let it be this: not all testimonials are created equal. To maximize your success with reviews and achieve the most benefit, you must learn how to write an effective testimonial.

These reviews must be authentic, have a clear message, and be accompanied by visuals if you want them to resonate with your audience. Additionally, your organization should take care to cite quotes and testimonials properly.

Authenticity is Key

Perhaps the most valuable tip for writing an effective testimonial is to ensure that it is authentic. It is not enough to hire some copywriters to create fake reviews – your customers will see right through that! 

Instead of wasting time trying to recreate authentic customer reviews, you should instead engage with your satisfied customers and ask them to provide a testimonial. You don’t have to worry about the testimonials being super polished and professional, either. So long as the customer means what they are saying, the message will be way more valuable than one delivered by a charismatic, paid actor.

Avoid overly scripted performances and staged appearances too, since customers will relate better to real people who are less polished and more sincere. 

Have a Clear Message

Each testimonial should focus on a key message. It should emphasize your value proposition and clearly explain the benefits of the product and service being discussed. 

For instance, if one of the benefits you wish to share is that it helps you save money, then the testimonial should reference a return on investments or a quantified amount of savings. One testimonial is not enough though – you should strive to have many reviews that prove each of your unique value propositions. 

As such, you must think through which message you want to get feedback on when you solicit the testimonial. Avoid cramming all your value propositions into one review, as it will seem unfocused and lose much of its effect. 

Don’t Forget About Visuals

Not only should your testimonials be authentic and have a clear message, but they must also be visually compelling. The substance in the review should be enhanced by formatting, imagery, and other aesthetics that make it easy for potential customers to read through them.

Consider stylized quotes and boxes with rounded corners – these are easier on the eyes and much more appealing! Where possible, add a photo of the customer next to their testimonial. This image will humanize their endorsement even more, as your viewers will be able to put a face to the quote. 

If the reviewer has a company affiliation, it can help to add their business logo – especially when it is a brand that other potential clients will recognize. Your customer review pages should resemble a gallery that showcases satisfied shoppers and their testimonials. 

You can title your visual landing page something along the lines of “our customers” or “success stories”. These pages will not only build trust and boost engagement, but they can also be helpful for SEO purposes. 

It is also helpful to share different types of reviews on one page. Feel free to share quotes, images, videos, and more so that all leads can find something they relate to. Take this a step further and allow clients to share their images of your products in use. 

Use Proper Citations

When displaying testimonials, it is necessary to use proper citations. The best way to do it will vary depending on the type of testimonial, but you should always include some information to help other users relate to them. 

The goal is to use a relevant demographic or industry so that potential customers can put themselves in their shoes. Here are a few examples for businesses targeting B2C markets:

  • Joseph, Florida Resident
  • April K., Mom of 3
  • Casey, Avid Hiker

If your target audience includes other businesses, then it will be beneficial to cite their title, professional role, industry, or other relevant affiliation. These examples are some of the most common forms of B2B testimonial citations:

  • Stephanie, Financial Operations
  • VP of Product Development
  • Phillip M., IT Director at XYZ Corporation

Although more information is always better, it is not realistic that every customer will consent to that. Some organizations may not want their name to be included in an endorsement as it might represent a liability in the future, and some individuals may prefer to remain confidential.

You must have permission to disclose the details that you share before doing so!

Keep Them Current

Our last tip for sharing testimonials in your marketing materials is to make sure that they are current. Users don’t want to read outdated reviews that are no longer relevant – if they feel that there aren’t any recent testimonials, it may turn them off completely from working with your brand. 

Think about the last time you went to make an online purchase and the most recent review was a few years old. It doesn’t make you feel like the company is thriving right? If the products were so effective, wouldn’t at least one customer has shared a testimonial in the last few months?

For this reason, you must implement a program that allows you to consistently get new reviews. Whether you offer them a discount on their next purchase or send a link to make it easy for them to rate their experience, the idea is to have a steady stream of endorsements and new content. 

What is the Right Length for a Testimonial?

After reviewing the various types of testimonials that you can choose from – and how to write them – you are likely wondering what the right length should be. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to this question and will vary based on your brand and the customer providing the feedback.

When it comes to a marketing campaign, you want to incorporate a wide selection of videos, quotes, case studies, and more. Doing so will help you create a story of success that customers and prospective buyers alike can relate to and engage with. 

However, there are some guidelines you should follow to maximize success:

Keep it Short and To the Point

As with most ads and content marketing, you should keep your testimonials short and to the point. If you can share your customer’s feedback in 50 words or less, you will have a better chance of getting the message across to your viewers. 

For videos, try to avoid any content that is longer than a few minutes. Although you want to provide an example of how your brand successfully helped the client, you don’t want to bore your viewers with a long lecture. 

Today’s viewers have a short attention span and want a quick answer to their question, so if you don’t give them that they will look elsewhere. Think about your online browsing and social media habits – how often do you watch a long video all the way through? Do you really take the time to read through 2-page reviews, or do you prefer the shorter quotes?

Draw Attention to the Key Words

For longer-form testimonials like blog posts and case studies, be sure to draw attention to the keywords. You can do this by highlighting essential words in bold, underlining key sentences, and using arrows and other visuals to guide their attention. 

Bring their focus to the words and phrases that best describe why your brand can help them while also dispelling any misconceptions that may be preventing them from purchasing in the first place. You should also do your best to highlight the areas that they can relate to so that you can quickly reassure them that you have a solution. 

Highlight key testimonials words, testimonial key words

Questions to Ask When Interviewing for Testimonials

So, you’ve got a happy customer that is willing to share a testimonial or give an interview about your brand – now what?! Before you get started, you should have an idea of the questions you intend to ask the customers. You want to avoid putting them on the spot – an interview format is ideal just in case they are unsure of what to say.

As you structure your questions, think about what would elicit the best response from the customer. Remember that the goal is to draw in the viewer as they listen to or watch the interview, so it needs to be relevant, engaging, and compelling. 

Regardless of the industry, you are in or the types of products you sell, your interview should address a few key subjects. Consider how the customer came to know about your brand and what led them to make a purchase. By the end of the interview, they should have also described how you solved their problems and what their experience was during the buyer’s journey. 

Simply put, you want to walk them through their positive encounter from start to finish, in a way that would appeal to future buyers. Try incorporating some of these questions into your next testimonial:

  • How did our products solve your problem?
  • What was the most useful feature of the product?
  • What happened when you purchased the product?
  • Was there anything initially holding you back from making a purchase?
  • Would you recommend us to other similar users, and why?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Make sure to keep the questions open-ended, and don’t dive into too much detail if it isn’t necessary. By keeping it light and focusing on their unique experience, the customer can help you build credibility while also remaining authentic. 

The Art of Requesting Customer Testimonials

Learning how to ask customers to share testimonials is just as important as understanding which questions to ask and how to promote them. You won’t have any content to share if you don’t get feedback from your satisfied customers!

This content is especially valuable because leads don’t just look at the quality of the reviews on your page – they are also looking at the quantity. Shoppers are more likely to trust a company that has a high number of reviews since it lowers the risk that they will be unsatisfied with their purchase.

If hundreds of other people are glad they purchased on your site, why would their experience be any different? Statistics show that half of your viewers will consider the number of testimonials about a product before committing to a purchase. This stands to reason that the more reviews you have, the greater credibility you can build – and the more your bottom line will grow as a result. 

Similarly, testimonials aren’t something that you can fake. Besides the fact that doing so is unethical and dishonest, customers can see right through fake reviews. With that said, let’s get into our top tips to help you request customer testimonials:

Be Direct – Just Ask!

There’s no secret way to get customer reviews or testimonials without soliciting them. You must take the initiative and ask them directly – an easy enough task but one that is often overlooked by many businesses. 

Do you have happy customers that seem to keep coming back for more? If so, then there’s a good chance that they are satisfied with their purchases and would be willing to share their experiences. All you need to do is ask them for a quick statement describing their experience!

Focus on customers who have just recently made a purchase and have gotten value from it. The clients you reach out to should be strong advocates for your brand and have recent, accurate experiences to share. 

So, how exactly can you ask a customer for a review? There are a few different ways you can do this, and the right solution will vary based on your business model. However, it can be as simple as a yes/no response to provide additional feedback.

If you are sending an email, make sure to use a direct subject line that is short and friendly. You’ve likely received some yourself that looks like this:

  • Review your recent purchase
  • Are you enjoying your new product?
  • Help us improve
  • Share your experience

If you want to boost participation, consider offering a benefit or reward for sharing their feedback – like a discount on their next purchase. Another incentive you can offer to businesses is a link back to their page. This will help them boost their SEO rankings and will likely encourage them to complete the feedback form. 

Once you get a customer to agree to share a testimonial, be sure to thank them excessively. Take a moment to acknowledge that their time is valuable and that you truly appreciate their efforts. 

Identify Organic Reviews

In addition to asking your customers directly to share testimonials, you should also be looking for organic reviews. Satisfied buyers may share testimonials without being asked, so make sure you capitalize on these when you can. 

You may be wondering, what does an organic review look like? These can be anything from a positive mention on social media to a grateful email or thank-you note. Likewise, if someone shares positive feedback in person, seize that opportunity to capture the testimonial. 

This sounds like a basic strategy, but you won’t be effective at it unless you are actively looking for organic feedback. You also need a standard process for converting these testimonials into ones that can be shared online and through other marketing materials. 

Simplify the Review Process

It shouldn’t be difficult for your customers to provide feedback and share their testimonials. Make it easy for them by showing them exactly what they need to do to leave a review, whether they choose to share a video, quote, or another message.

When a customer opens the email, they should have an easy way to provide the feedback requested. For example, you can allow them to rate their experience from 1 to 5 stars – and if they click on one of the stars, it can give them a chance to type in additional comments. 

Provide them with a guideline of what should be included in the review so that they have some direction and can connect with your value proposition. It should be just as easy for them to opt-out of participating, too. You don’t want to make it feel like an obligation or a bother, as their time is valuable too. 

Ensure That You Have Consent and Permission

Before you post a great review all over your social media and marketing materials, you must obtain the proper consent to do so. Just because you see a testimonial on TripAdvisor or Yelp does not mean you can copy and paste it into your content – you need to get the rights to it first!

The best practice is to get written approval before sharing a testimonial, but it doesn’t have to be an overly complex legal process. An email from the customer with their approval should be sufficient – if you get verbal confirmation, make sure to follow up in writing and save the documentation. 

The simplest scenario is when a client shares a review on your page on their own since this doesn’t require additional effort. Generally, there is specific language in your user agreement when the submission is made to obtain the appropriate documentation.

However, if you see a social media post or another endorsement elsewhere, you can only leverage the content with the author’s permission.

Where to Promote Testimonials

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve learned what a testimonial is, how to write one, and best practices for asking customers to share their experience. That means it is now time to put the final product into action and review where you should be promoting the testimonials so that customers and leads alike can access them. 

You might be thinking the answer to this is obvious – just put them on a customer testimonials page, right? While you should have a centralized landing page for users to read reviews, this should not be the only place where you are promoting testimonials!

Besides the fact that these “what our customers think” pages seem to reek of marketing tactics and feel inauthentic, there’s a good chance that your leads will be looking for testimonials in other places. Shoppers don’t want to feel like the reviews are just another sales pitch to support your call to action. 

That means you should be promoting testimonials on social media, in your slide decks, and on other strategic landing pages. 

Leverage Social Media Platforms

Social media ads are a great way to share positive reviews and customer testimonials. Quotes and short video clips from clients are a quick way to build trust with viewers and generate quality traffic to your website.

Include hashtags and other links to ensure that your ads are reaching your target audience. If you get this right, your testimonial posts will also generate organic growth and allow you to engage with your customers. 

Place them On Strategic Landing Pages

You should also include testimonials on the landing pages that are most relevant to your customers. Placing them where there is the most traffic will increase the chance that users will see them. Website analytics will allow you to see which pages are the most clicked-on by customers. 

Start by sharing the best testimonials on your home page. These should be authentic and engaging, and it helps to include images or video clips as it will maximize their impact. Likewise, you can post reviews on your about us page as many customers will click on that link. 

If your website is equipped with exit-intent technology, you should include testimonials on that page too. As soon as you detect that someone is going to navigate away from your website, give them a final message to encourage them to stay. A compelling testimonial or review can nurture the relationship and change their mind about leaving!

Posting reviews on checkout pages is also an effective strategy. Think of your checkout page as the ultimate opportunity to close the deal – all a customer needs to do to finalize the purchase is click a button. When you include a testimonial here you give them the nudge they need to move forward with confidence. 

Put Them in Your Slide Decks

Another place you should incorporate testimonials is in your slide decks. The next time you make a sales pitch to a potential client, make sure that you share information from other prospective buyers so that they can make the right decision to move forward with your brand. 

Start by describing a problem that the potential client is facing, then describe how other buyers have used your products and services to solve them. Provide proof that your claims are true through testimonials and verified reviews.