According to Google’s definition, a testimonial is ‘a formal statement testifying to someone’s character and qualifications’.
When thinking about testimonials for businesses or products, these will very often come from customers who have had a good experience with you. They differ from reviews in the sense that they are usually more in-depth and give a comprehensive insight into how they worked with you, and the results that the customer had as a result of your product or service.
Below, we explore why testimonials are important, and the ways you can generate them for your business.
Why are testimonials important?
Testimonials are a highly effective way of showing that your product or service really works. With 93% of online shoppers reading reviews and testimonials before purchasing, a testimonial goes beyond a star rating, providing real-world use cases and success stories.
In the age of social proof, it’s more important than ever to show that you’re a credible business. With more and more businesses going 100% online, you only have limited ways to interact with your customers before they purchase, so you need to make sure that your website shows that they can trust you, that you’re credible and safe, and that your product or service is tried and tested.
When thinking about your website, it’s important to consider that, often, your visitors will be brand new to your business and its offering, and that you only have a short period of time to showcase your products or services and to demonstrate credibility. Luckily, testimonials are a really simple way to do this.
How to get more testimonials
Next, the big question. How do we get more testimonials? For businesses of all sizes, there are a few simple and quick ways of asking your customers for testimonials.
1. Social media
Encourage your customers to leave feedback on your social networks. For e-commerce businesses in particular, getting your customers to tag you in their purchases online, or create short videos (for Instagram or Facebook stories) of them using the product can be a great way of not only gathering video testimonials, but also encouraging referrals. More often than not, creators will be happy for you to repost and reuse this content for your marketing purposes, but be sure to ask for permission first.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get! By simply asking your customers to leave reviews on a third-party review website or on your own website, this gives you product reviews and some data to follow-up on to request a longer testimonial. You can gather short reviews by reaching out manually via phone or email, or you can set up automated surveys that will send email requests at regular intervals post-purchase.
3. Offer an incentive
If you’re struggling to gather reviews or testimonials, try creating an incentive. This doesn’t have to be grandiose, and can even be something as small as a free cup of coffee, £10 Amazon gift voucher or entry into a bigger monthly prize draw. As long as your process is relatively simple, this incentive should be enough to boost your volume of testimonials. One word of warning on incentives is to make sure you validate the entries – as some people might send in fake testimonials!
4. Create case studies
With some of your bigger or well-known clients, the testimonial process should be straightforward. To make it really easy for your clients, simply ask them a few direct questions, then (with their permission) you can turn their responses into a case study which can be used on your website, as well as on your sales and marketing materials.
Some good questions to ask are:
- Did our product/service solve a problem for you?
- How often do you use our product/service?
- What is the overall impact of using our product/service? (Think efficiency/time saving/ROI)
- Would you buy our product/service again?
These four questions alone would help you create a short testimonial that sets the scene of the problem they were faced with, how your solution managed to fix it, the impact it had on them/their business, and whether or not they’d like to work with you or purchase from you again.
5. Use what you’ve already got
Chances are, you probably have some really nice customer emails or comments along the way. Just because they’re not left in the ‘formal’ testimonial format, it doesn’t make them any less special! Once you’ve asked for their permission to print, these can be used, too.
Using testimonials to grow your business
Once you have your testimonials (you really only need a handful of them to start with) you can start to publish these and leverage them to grow your business.
The most impactful format when publishing testimonials is to use photos, company logos and full names wherever possible. ‘David Smith, Head of HR’ gives much more credibility to your testimonial as opposed to ‘Mrs M’.
The great thing about testimonials is that you can use them in full, or create extracts for use across various places such as your website, marketing and sales assets. Try adding a few to your website, and don’t be afraid to try different formats based on what’s out there.
You can also turn your case studies into blog posts or white papers and use them in your offline marketing materials as well as on your product and service pages. Use star ratings to clearly show your overall rating, and then add a few testimonial extracts, or links to relevant case studies to add some extra oomph.
To conclude, gathering testimonials doesn’t have to be a difficult process for you or for your clients. By making the process simple, offering incentives and asking the right questions, you’ll have a wide range of credible, in-depth reviews in no time!