Are you leveraging testimonials for digital marketing? Let’s face it: Regardless of how technical our society has become, we still ask people for help. We want to know what they think. And this is especially true when it comes to where we spend our money. Consumers are searching for social proof that a product or service is worth their investment. While we used to knock on a neighbor’s door or pick up the phone and call someone, these days, we’re using the phone to search Google, Yelp, or Facebook.
And if your business isn’t on these sites and leveraging the power of testimonials, you are missing a huge opportunity to market your business.
Why Testimonials Are So Important
People love to share their positive experiences.
This topic could just stop with that statement right there. Positive experiences translate to word-of-mouth marketing.
When your clients have a good experience with your brand, they become natural salespeople. They market your brand without even thinking about it. Happy customers are eager to tell others about you, and when they hear of someone who needs your brand or service, they’re quick to share their story. It’s human nature.
Using Testimonials for Digital Marketing
We used to have the Yellow Pages in a drawer in our kitchens. In the 21st century, we have the internet.
Just think about it. When you need or want a product or service and don’t know where to start, you pick up your phone or open your laptop. You’ll ask your friends and neighbors for referrals on Facebook or Nextdoor. A Google search is definitely in order. And what about Yelp? You’ll likely screen your potential vendor there as well.
And why are you doing this online research? To look at the reviews. To put it plainly, reviews are testimonials for digital marketing.
Flip that around. Now you’re no longer the consumer but the business owner. You’re missing a golden opportunity by not getting testimonials and sharing them all over the internet and in your marketing collateral. After all, your happy customers are your best-and cheapest-marketing tool.
Testimonials on Your Website
Your natural inclination may be to add testimonials to your website. That’s a good start. But it’s not the only option, and it’s probably not the best. Why? Because most people who visit your website assume the testimonials they find there are made up. You’ll want to have a backup plan.
On your website, it’s smart to have a page for testimonials as well as some of the better ones sprinkled throughout the site. Be sure to add one great testimonial to the homepage, since that’s how most people will enter your site, making that one of the first things they’ll see.
Testimonials on Review Sites
One of the first places many consumers go to when they’re looking for a company to hire-especially if it’s a service-based company-is Yelp. If you are a restaurant, hotel, electrician, plumber, or attorney (just to name a few) and don’t have a Yelp page with reviews, you’re missing the boat.
It might surprise you to know that Yelp doesn’t encourage companies to ask customers to write reviews for them on their Yelp page. The reason for that is their algorithm. If someone who never reviews companies on Yelp goes to your page there and leaves a review, it’s likely that it won’t show. Yelp’s algorithm gives precedence to active users.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. Just know that the reviews may or may not be visible.
Google is, of course, the #1 search engine in the US, so the vast majority of people looking for a service or product will head there. While SEO will definitely help your website show up higher for searches on your specific keywords, that’s only part of the equation. You can leverage testimonials for digital marketing to enhance your Google results.
If your Google listing has enough reviews, your organic search result will show the stars (hopefully five!). Plus, the reviews themselves will be available on the right side of the results.
Testimonials on Social Media
Naturally, when you think of social media, you likely think first of Facebook. If you are a B2C business, you pretty much have to have a business page on Facebook. It’s one of the ways potential customers vet your business and see if you’re for real.
And your clients can leave reviews (now called recommendations) on Facebook for your company as well.
In addition to showing up on Facebook, when someone searches your company on Google, the fact that you have Facebook reviews will show up as well.
Plus, with a Facebook business page, when someone wants to say something great about your company, they can link to it in a post. And that lets more people know about you. Bonus!
You may not have thought about using LinkedIn as a place for testimonials for digital marketing. But let’s readjust that thinking.
LinkedIn is a platform for business professionals, business owners, and job seekers to connect personally. And you can most definitely write a recommendation for individuals. That makes this a different type of review and testimonial option since a person will write something about another person, not the company. But that’s okay because if you’re B2B or you are your business, these testimonials can carry a lot of weight.
And if you’re a job seeker, you most certainly want to have testimonials on your LinkedIn profile. In fact, as a resume writer, I will often pull a testimonial from LinkedIn to add to a client’s resume!
How to Get Testimonials for Digital Marketing
Okay, so now you’re sold on the fact that you most definitely need to leverage testimonials for digital marketing. If you haven’t already been gathering these gems, how do you start? It’s actually pretty simple:
Ask your customers to say nice things about you!
You will find some customers will share great feedback with you without you having to elicit it, but just relying on others’ goodwill isn’t a good strategy. If you really want to cultivate great reviews and really use those testimonials for digital marketing, you need to ask.
Ask Right After the Sale
It’s always best to strike while the iron is hot. And the best time to get customers and clients to say good things about you is right after you’ve done that amazing thing. They bought the appliance; they just had the best massage of their life; they’re leaving a great photography session…. These are all perfect times to ask for a testimonial.
For brick-and-mortar locations, you can pull out your phone or have a camera setup in a corner to record a video testimonial. You can offer an on-the-spot discount if they give an immediate review on one of your social platforms. Or you can provide a feedback form, either in paper format or on an iPad, for them to share a review. (Remember that, if you do a paper option, it will only be able to live on your website or marketing materials.)
When selling online, send an automatic thank you, either via email or directly on your website at point of sale, that provides a link to your Facebook, Google, and/or Yelp to write a review right then and there.
Ask During a Follow-up or Check-in
When a sale doesn’t necessarily translate to a customer actually using your product or service, that likely isn’t the best time to ask for a great testimonial. You may want to wait until after the service has been provided or during a follow-up, days or weeks after they receive the product.
Even though you won’t be asking for testimonials for digital marketing immediately, that doesn’t negate the effect. Work this step into your sales flow and have the follow-up be automatic so you don’t skip it.
Always Thank Customers for Their Feedback
Whether you choose to provide a discount, small gift, or a heartfelt note of appreciation, always thank your customers for leaving a review or testimonial. Do this as soon as possible after the testimonial is shared, and do it where they left the review.
In those instances when a customer’s feedback isn’t as extraordinary as you might like, don’t ignore it. While you want to acknowledge and thank great testimonials, you want to acknowledge poor ones as well.
You can actually transform a less-than-perfect experience into a huge opportunity to leverage testimonials for digital marketing. It’s just a simple three-step process:
- Thank the person for their feedback (on the platform where they left it).
- Apologize to the customer that you missed the mark and did not meet their expectations.
- Provide a way for them to contact you, either via a direct email or phone number.
What this does is (1) acknowledge that your company accepts all feedback, regardless if it’s good or bad, (2) show the unhappy customer-as well as everyone else-that you take responsibility for your mistakes, and (3) move the next step to a private forum where you can clean up the issue.
Never engage with negativity or get negative yourself in a public forum. After all, you don’t want to be another Amy’s Baking Company.
Ink & Quill Communications provides support with content marketing, including how to leverage testimonials for digital marketing. Schedule a brief call to learn more about our process.