The marketing power of client testimonials is quite compelling. According to WyzOwl, 95% of people say that positive or negative reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Written and video testimonials carry tremendous weight.
Positive customer feedback and testimonials inform potential customers about how a company conducts itself and how well-aligned performance is with its core values. In addition, success stories help convey a company’s success in helping customers and are a great way to attract leads and convert new business.
Existing customers who have purchased your product or service and are happy with the results make the most influential advocates for your brand. This is particularly important in the financial services industry, where establishing trust is essential.
New clients and customers are taking a risk with a new brand. As a result, they are relying on your reputation, and these days, it takes much more than clever copy or slick marketing to convince them.
Earning Trust in a Commercial Democracy
Despite an excellent reputation or effective marketing, we’ve all taken risks with a new company and experienced disappointing results. As a result, trust is more challenging to earn than it has been in decades past.
In the digital age, where every soul on the planet is bombarded with daily marketing materials, from email to social posts, marketing alone doesn’t’ resonate the way it used to. Rising above the advertising and marketing din is just one challenge to overcome in earning a customer’s trust.
In the digital age, commerce has become truly democratized. The currency most valued among today’s consumers is authentic “word of mouth” affirmation of a trusted friend, colleague, or fellow customer.
Never has that fact been more evident than in the review-driven marketplace, with platforms like Yelp or Google my Business giving everyone an equal voice and a medium to express their opinion. Almost every app provides an anonymous rating system for posting positive and negative reviews.
Customers Vote with Their Dollars
Today’s consumers are more empowered and equipped with recourse than ever. According to a recent Trustpilot study, 89 percent of all people check company reviews and testimonials before purchasing. They rely on recommendations from their peers – even if that peer is a stranger.
It boils down to this: building and maintaining trust is now an integral part of a company’s brand identity. Those that have it will rise to the top. Those that don’t will face an uphill battle from lead generation to conversion rates.
The upside of a free market is that consumers have so many options that they get to “vote with their dollars.” So not only does every consumer now have a platform to express their experience with any brand openly, but they also have to power to decide where they spend their money.
Often, the power of a testimonial or case study ultimately convinces a lead to commit to a purchase or contract.
Testimonials vs. Reviews
Testimonials and reviews share common DNA, yet they differ by one crucial factor. Individual brands request and procure testimonials, while an independent third party like Yelp, Facebook, or Google manages reviews.
For consumers performing their due diligence, both are valuable forms of marketing and social proof. Yet, testimonials frequently offer a more detailed account of how the company helped them solve a problem and why they selected the company in the first place.
A testimonial is akin to a brief case study, while a review is broader based and general in nature. Additionally, though brands can typically reply to online reviews, they cannot solicit reviews as the platform is based on voluntarily information sharing. In that sense, it’s much harder to highlight services or benefits than with a testimonial.
While a brand procures a testimonial to a consumer, potential clients often understand this fact. As such, testimonials can often provide a more trustworthy account, in some instances, as online reviews don’t necessarily endure a thorough vetting process. Good reviews can be bought or faked; bad reviews might also distort the truth.
Tips on How to Ask for Testimonials
Including customer testimonials in your inbound strategy requires asking for and collecting them from your delighted customers. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Timing is everything. When a happy customer has a positive experience, there is a short opportunity to ask for a testimonial. So, strike while the iron is hot. Ask for a testimonial immediately upon project completion when you know you’ve delivered well on the result. If your customer is genuinely delighted, they generally won’t hesitate.
Engage your Evangelists.
If a longtime customer offers praise, capitalize on that momentum and turn it into an “official” testimonial. Likewise, look for lively online chatter and turn it into testimonial gold.
Track the Buyers Journey.
Several points along the buyer’s journey are appropriate times to ask for testimonials. Most CRMs provide robust tracking, allowing businesses to dial into their clients, their journey, challenges, and how your solution solves their problems. The more connected you are, the easier it will be to ask for a testimonial.
Get Ahead of issues.
No matter how skilled or well-oiled, every business has issues, and occasionally clients will have a negative experience. Excellent customer service can be just as valuable in those instances as clients who easily sail through your processes. What matters is how well you resolve issues that arise. These are also great opportunities to ask for testimonials.
A Customer Service Approach to Asking.
Sometimes asking a client for comment can feel awkward or like a high-pressure tactic. A smoother approach is to check in with your clients to see how they are doing. If they offer a positive account, ask for additional details about the value they received. Summarize their comments in an email and ask permission to use them as a testimonial. If you find that their response isn’t optimistic, you have an opportunity to make it right.
Ask the Right Questions.
Every customer follows a unique journey. To elicit the best testimonial, asking the right questions is essential. Take the time to assemble a few questions more personalized to their experience. This will make it even easier for them to respond. Some of the questions you might ask could include the following:
- What was the reason for purchasing the service or product?
- What were the challenges you experienced along the way (if any)?
- How did our team help to resolve those challenges?
- How would you explain our product and its benefits to a trusted friend?
- Would you recommend our product or service, and why?
Where to Post Your Customer Testimonials
Once you’ve curated a library of testimonials from your list of delighted clients, you’ll want to leverage that marketing gold to its greatest advantage.
Here are a few great places to post testimonials:
Emails and Newsletters.
You’ve done the hard work of building a solid email list. Adding a testimonial to promotional emails and regular newsletters is a great way to generate some positive buzz for clients at any stage of the buying journey. Statistically speaking, many of your readers will be experiencing the same challenges, giving your testimonial a more powerful resonance. For maximum impact, associate the testimonial with a specific product or service and include a photo of the customer to humanize the message.
Social Media Graphics.
Testimonials make for great, concise social media posts. Dress up your testimonial with a simple, eye-catching graphic.
On Your Website.
When a potential customer is performing their due diligence and researching options, your company website is ground zero. Demonstrate how your brand solves problems and improves people’s lives. Make it visually appealing and easy to read, and be sure to include images. For example, a photo of your customer in front of their new home, or whatever seems appropriate. Get creative!
Don’t neglect your landing pages where customer testimonials are concerned. Used judiciously, they can improve conversions and drive clicks very effectively. Since landing pages generally target specific buyer personas, it’s another way to resonate with a prospective customer. Choose testimonials that align with your landing page persona or speak directly to the product you are promoting.
The idea that a customer can participate in a company’s growth is a key concept in the HubSpot Flywheel (formerly known as the marketing funnel). If you would like to learn more about how you can leverage customer testimonials to power your financial marketing game, we’d love to show you how.
Looking to take your client development to the next level? Let’s Have a Conversation!