Tell Your Brand’s Story Through Testimonials – By Missy Ward

by Colleen on April 22, 2015

For as long as marketers have sold products, they’ve sought customer testimonials. In the age of social media, testimonials have transformed, but they still serve the core purpose of establishing trust between seller and buyer.

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The Importance of Testimonials

If you’ve ever written an elevator pitch, you know it should be brief. However, many experts recommend including customer testimonials even in this very quick form of communication — that’s how critical testimonials are in telling your brand’s story.

Using customer testimonials in your pitch increases the credibility of your business. It can also help tell compelling stories about it, through the eyes of your customers.

With the frenetic pace of marketing today, it’s critical that we create personal stories to make our customers, and prospective customers pause.
There’s no better way to do that then soliciting testimonials from customers who’ve had a great experience interacting with your brand.

Social Sharing of Testimonials

Testimonials have always served to provide the peer-to-peer recommendations that attract customers. But today’s social content is even more powerful, because social media users believe that other users endorse your product or service because they want to, not because you’ve asked them to.

It’s those endorsements from regular consumers that serve to persuade other prospective buyers by lending credibility, humanizing your brand and adding a variety of perspective.

Channels for Requesting Testimonials

Sometimes you’ll have a customer who takes the initiative with a testimonial. But typically, you’ll need to ask. Here are opportunities for asking for testimonials.

• Your website: When you write a new blog post, include a blurb at the bottom that engages your readers in conversation. You can provide commenters with an option to allow you to use their comments elsewhere in your marketing program.
• Social media: When you post a link to an article or a thought for the day, ask for commentary. If you receive a compelling comment, contact the person who posted to seek permission to use the comment elsewhere.
• E-mail marketing: In your e-newsletter and other communications, ask customers to contact you if they’ve had a great experience they’d allow you to share.
• Personal interactions: If a customer relays a great experience, ask if they’d be willing to provide a testimonial.

Questions to Solicit Great Testimonials

Create a survey with standard questions that will result in great testimonials. I use SurveyMonkey for this, as you can easily integrate it into your site and link it via email, social media, etc.

Your survey should include open-ended questions that encourage them to speak freely. For instance:

• Please describe your experience with our company.
• How did the interaction make you feel?
• How have you shared this information with others?

Promotional Ideas to Increase Testimonial Response Rate

To increase response rates with requests for testimonials, use incentives, such as raffles or drawings for a desirable prize, program points, discounts on products, etc.

With so much noise in today’s digital landscape, your marketing program needs a way to break through the clutter. Testimonials can do that for you.

Missy Ward is the Co-founder of Affiliate Summit, Co-Publisher FeedFront Magazine and blogs on MissyWard.com.

This article appeared in issue 30 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2015.http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-30

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