The marketing power of customer testimonials is fantastic…with the emphasis on fan! Testimonials carry a lot of weight. They tell potential customers a great deal about how a company conducts itself, its values, and its personality in general, and they are a reliable way to attract and gain new business. After all, these are happy customers who have already bought your product. They are easily the best advocates for your brand.
In the financial industry, especially, establishing trust is paramount. New customers are banking on your good reputation, and these days, it takes much more than your word to convince them.
Why Trust Matters in Marketing
We’re living in an age where marketing messages don’t resonate the way they used to. Rising above the noise is just one leg of the challenge. What carries the most weight for today’s consumer is the word of a trusted friend, colleague, or audience on social media.
Today’s consumers have a stronger voice than ever before in history. 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 complete 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 have a long row to hoe.
Testimonials vs. Reviews
Testimonials and reviews have a lot in common, but there is one significant difference. Testimonials are solicited and collected by the company, while reviews are managed by a third-party, such as Yelp, Facebook, Google, and so on.
Both are valuable from a marketing standpoint, but testimonials often go into greater detail about the reasons for choosing the company and the problem it solved for them. In a sense, a testimonial is more like a mini case study, while an online review merely skims the surface. Additionally, though a brand can respond to online reviews, there is little to no curation possible, so it’s harder to highlight specific services or benefits.
While a testimonial is solicited—and potential clients often know this—it is more trustworthy in some instances, as online reviews are not always vetted. In other words, good reviews can be bought or faked, and 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:
- Don’t wait. Like most fleeting opportunities, you need to strike while the iron is hot. Ask for a testimonial immediately once the project is complete, and you know you’ve over-delivered on the result. If the customer is genuinely thrilled, they generally won’t hesitate.
- Engage your evangelists. If a longtime customer continuously sings your praises, engage with that energy, and turn it into an “official” testimonial. Don’t waste the momentum; be on the lookout for lively online chatter and turn it into testimonial gold.
- Follow the buyer journey. There are many points in the buyer journey where it’s appropriate to ask for testimonials. Thirty days in, six months down the road, or when it comes time to refinance – these are all opportunities for them to sing your praises. The more connected you are to their journey, their challenges, and how your solution is solving them, the easier it will be to ask and receive.
- Resolve their issues. In situations where the customer had a bit of a rocky start, solving their pain points is a great enter into a positive testimonial. They had a problem, you were willing and able to solve it, and were right there by their side to ensure their success. It’s about customer service just as much as the solution itself.
- Make it easy. Sometimes when we ask a client for a comment, it comes across as a pressure tactic. A less invasive approach might be to check in with them to see how things are going. When they respond, ask for more detail in terms of the value they received as a result of buying your solution. When they do respond, summarize their comments, send a copy of it back to them, and ask whether it’s okay for you to post that as a testimonial. Plus, if their initial response is not 100 percent positive, it allows you to make it right for them.
- Ask pertinent questions. Every customer has a unique viewpoint, so it’s challenging to craft a customer survey that addresses their specific concerns. Take the time to put together a few questions that are more personalized to their experience. This will make it even easier for them to respond as it speaks directly to them. Some of the questions you might ask could include:
- What was the reason for purchasing the 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 Testimonials
Now that you have a collection of amazing testimonials curated from your long list of delighted clients, let’s talk about how you can leverage them to their best advantage.
Here are a few great places to post testimonials:
- Emails. If you have a solid email list, there’s no doubt you’re using it to the fullest. Adding a testimonial to your regular emails and newsletters is a way to get those positive vibes buzzing with customers at any stage of the buying journey. Chances are, many of them are experiencing the same challenges, and the message will resonate. To maximize the impact, associate the testimonial with the specific product it’s talking about. If you can, include a photo of the customer to humanize the message.
- Social Media Graphics. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but if you dress up your testimonial in a simple, eye-catching graphic on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll draw more attention to it.
- On Your Website. When a potential customer is researching their options, your website is ground zero for their research. Show them how your brand makes people’s lives better, how it makes them feel. 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!
- Landing Pages. Don’t neglect your landing pages where 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.
Reach out today to schedule a call, and let’s discuss the possibilities.
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