7 Tips on Using Customer Testimonials in Your Marketing

Client testimonials can lend brand credibility and increase sales, if you follow these best practices.
Don't be shy about publicizing great customer quotes that highlight your company's values. (Photo: Tashatuvango/Shutterstock)

It’s one thing to have satisfied customers and a loyal fan base, but are you leveraging feedback and testimonials from your biggest fans in your marketing efforts?

Here are some best practices and tip to help you engage with your target audience.

Don’t underestimate the value of client testimonials

One of the best ways to illustrate your company’s value proposition and track record is by sharing the positive experiences of your customers. In fact, according to research from BrightLocal, 92 percent of consumers look to customer reviews before forming an opinion about a local businesses.

“One of the most effective ways to land new customers is to share stories of how you’ve helped others,” said Stacey Adams, director of marketing at 3C Software. “From spontaneous social media posts to carefully written case studies, customer testimonials are an important way to communicate the benefits of your product or service to prospective customers.”

Because you are sharing personal stories of real customers, testimonials can help build an emotional connection to your small business. According to the Journal of Marketing Research, brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity receive three times more word-of-mouth as less emotionally-connected brands.

Choose the right clients

“All customer testimonials are not created equal,” said Adams. ”Be sure that the testimonials you publish reflect the type of customer you’re hoping to attract and explains your unique position compared to others in the market. Also, be sure to cover all the bases by having testimonials that highlight different aspects of your product or service to provide a complete view of how you can help.”

When interviewing a customer for their testimonial, ask questions that lead them to talk about the “before and after” difference your product or service made. Get specific on exactly what they’re life was like before and how it’s different now. You should also try to interview clients several times over an extended period of time to show your long-standing history of good relationships with customers.

Offer thank you gifts after the fact, not as incentives to participate

thank you

Instead of offering a gift in return for a review, try the opposite. After receiving a great review from a customer, offer a thank you gift. (Photo: iPhotoDesign/Shutterstock)

A quick way to get terse, insincere sounding reviews is to ask for a customer testimonial in return for a discount or gift.

Related: 5 Effective Customer Appreciation Gifts for Your Small Business

Instead, identify the clients you already have a great relationship with, and after they write a great review or sit down for a video testimonial, thank them with a handwritten card accompanied by a gift card or other token of your appreciation.

Know where to put your testimonials

If you have a great quote that really speaks to your company’s commitment to customer service or the value of your products and services, don’t be shy about publicizing them. Share them on your social channels, drop them strategically in your blogs and even include one or two in your email signature.

While some companies have a devoted page for client testimonials, consider working in relevant quotes on specific pages. Melissa Mannozzi, president of Underground Creative Group, recommends forgoing the “testimonials page” altogether:

“Instead, add customer testimonials (or links to success stories) on the individual pages that make sense to the reader at that time.” -Melissa Mannozzi

“Instead, add customer testimonials (or links to success stories) on the individual pages that make sense to the reader at that time. For instance, if a customer quote references turnaround time, you want to put that on the page referencing delivery or speed. If a customer references something that directly correlates to your mission or company story (like honesty or reliability), put that in your About page right next to where your mission or principles are referenced,” she said.

Leverage video testimonials

Putting a face with your testimonial gives it an added level of trustworthiness, so whenever possible use video to capture your customer stories.

Related: 3 Ways to Use YouTube to Bring in More Business

Not only are video testimonials more engaging than their written counterparts, they’re more likely to be engaged with and shared on social media — extending your brand’s reach. According to research from Animoto, 84 percent of all consumers say they’ve liked a company video in their social newsfeed, and nearly half of consumers have personally shared a company video on their personal profile.

And social isn’t the only place video testimonials can be put to good use. Including video testimonials in your email marketing can boost conversions. The Animoto study also found that consumers are 50 percent more likely to read email newsletters that include videos.

Get written permission from your client

Be sure to keep a paper trail of conversations you’ve had with your client concerning their involvement — emails are fine. This protects you in the event that a customer wants to retract his or her testimonial.

Don’t “borrow” reviews from third-party sites

Never copy and paste reviews from Yelp, Google or any other third-party site. These sites own that content, so rather than risk infringing upon their intellectual property, simply link to their sites. An alternative solution is to explore plugins/software that let you feature outside reviews on your own site without infringing on these other sites, such as Bazaarvoice.

Related: How to Get Positive Online Reviews

Even better, request testimonials yourself. Give your customers a variety of ways to submit their personal stories. In addition to calling or emailing them directly, post a link to submit feedback on your website, include it in your newsletter and post to your social media channels as well. The goal is to make telling their stories as easy as possible for your customers, so you can share them with the world.

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