Let’s face it – everyone loves getting a testimonial.
A testimonial isn’t just good for your marketing (though it certainly is). It’s also good for yourself and your business as a whole. After all, there’s nothing quite like having someone tell you, one to one, that you made a positive difference in their life or their work.
In the end, isn’t that what we all aspire to do in our own ways?
The importance of a testimonial is so obvious; small business owners launching their first-ever venture know to hunt diligently for one. This praise ends up prominently displayed in the office – and, hopefully, on the website.
But what’s the source of that passion? Why does everyone seem to instinctively know that testimonials are good?
There are a few reasons, and they all come back to one very important thing:
Testimonials make people feel safer about connecting with your business.
No more, no less.
And here’s how:
Testimonials Humanize Your Brand
Like a case study, a testimonial positions your brand by telling a story where you are the hero. A case study, though, requires a lot of specific knowledge.
Anyone who knows what a company does can read and understand a testimonial, and that’s what gives them so much power.
With a testimonial, a potential customer gets to “see you” in action before they risk any of their time or hard-earned cash. A good testimonial focuses on the facts, but also has enough of an emotional element for prospects to imagine enjoying similar, just-as-desirable outcomes soon.
Testimonials Show Your Longevity
A business who just opened its doors yesterday probably doesn’t have a single testimonial to its name.
These days, when more and more commerce is moving online, all those signs that make your brand seem more solid in the online ether are vital markers of trust.
Now, I know what you might be thinking: But an online testimonial can be faked!
Of course, this is true. Anyone can write a testimonial and put it on their website.
In fact, anyone can write any words in any order out here on the web, even if they’re secretly a cat. But people tend to trust their ability to spot a fake testimonial, and they often won’t question the content of testimonials from otherwise reputable brands.
Testimonials Help Customers “Get It”
When people are thinking about a purchase, they generally want to know someone like them has had success with it in the past. This is especially true in the B2B world, where many specific aspects of a company’s way of doing business affect whether a solution is the right one or not.
With testimonials, you have the opportunity to scratch that itch.
When you select the right collection of testimonials, you can:
- Demonstrate ROI with testimonials from those with similar job titles or credentials.
- Build a business case with testimonials from those at a similar type of business.
- Make a personal connection when a speaker shares background details or affiliations.
Although the effect can be subtle, it’s often just the spark a prospective customer needs to delve deeper into what you have to offer them. And since testimonials can be viewed at the very top of the sales funnel, they do a lot of heavy lifting for your credibility early in a relationship.
Testimonials Are Potent Social Proof
Although there are many ways to look at social proof, from an inbound marketing perspective, it may be easiest to think of it as evidence that others’ success will influence your future outcomes with a product or service. In short, the more other people do something, the more attractive it looks.
We see this all the time in today’s digital marketing landscape, with email subscription sign-ups headed, “Join 728,000 of your fellow marketers!” or “366,231 satisfied clients can’t be wrong!”
Of course, we all know that any number of people can be wrong about practically anything. But the wisdom of crowds suggests that the more people get behind an idea, the more likely it is that its flaws would have been pointed out – by someone, sometime – if they really mattered.
To Make Your Offerings More Compelling, Add Another Testimonial to Your Site
Long story short: When you write a testimonial (preferably with a nice photo of the customer!), you’re doing the same thing you do when you try to sell a house -- creating the conditions where your would-be customer can imagine himself or herself “living there” at that level of success.
Here’s the biggest challenge: People are much more likely to volunteer negative feedback than positive feedback.
Get your testimonial engine firing by making sure your post-sale follow up process provides you with an easy, intuitive way to collect all that praise. You’ve earned it!