Word of mouth advertising, and by extension social proof marketing, is one of the most credible forms of advertising. Glowing reviews from happy customers are more impactful (not to mention free) than paid advertising in creating awareness about a product or service. While many companies already use testimonials, some may not have considered certain aspects to make these unbiased opinions more powerful in creating new customers.

Things to Consider

While the purpose of a testimonial is to build trust and credibility between a potential client and a company, people naturally hesitate to believe a rave review. Chances are a company isn't going to include a less than stellar review. Additionally, testimonials are often too vague to provide any specific instance of a problem that was solved. A generalized testimonial does little, if anything, to give a customer that extra push to commit to a product or service. So how are companies supposed to amp up the authenticity and specificity of their testimonial?

How to Get Ideal Testimonials

Once a company knows what things to avoid when formulating a favorable endoresment, they can get out there and connect with customers that have been satisfied with their service. Customers, however, require some guidance in order to provide an ideal testimonial. Here are a few considerations:

1. Be Brief

There isn't an optimal length to get the most ROI, but a good rule of thumb is to say everything you want to say in as few words as possible. Keep it short and punchy. It's easy to lose people's attention and focus.

2. Be Authentic

People can see right through an inauthentic testimonial. If possible, try to include contact information for the client that provided the feedback. That way, a potential customer can feel reassurance that they can contact the author if needed.

3. Be Specific

Remember, vague testimonials get you nowhere. The more relatable and specific the feedback, the better. Make sure to include what specific problem was solved and how it was solved.

4. Use a Visual

An image bridges the gap between a customer's hesitation and the moment they trust a company. A video is even far more stimulating. Using a personable customer, a video enables the viewer to read more emotion and get a sense of appreciation coming from the loyal customer.

Using SOcial Media

If possible, embed social media love on your testimonial page or wherever you host your testimonials on your website. Plenty of satisfied customers write informal reviews or tidbits about your company on social media. Keep monitoring your social media presence to find positive posts about you. 

If possible, embed social media love on your testimonial page or wherever you feature them on your website. Plenty of satisifed customers write informal review or tidbits about your company on social media. Keep monitoring your social media presence regularly. While you may find negative reviews, those can retain customers if approached correctly.

Testimonials are only a part of what helps companies acquire new customers. Include feedback from customer that targets specific buuyer personas and testimonials will do much to attract repeat business.

Do you currently use customer testimonials? How have they worked for you? Do you have any tips for our readers? We appreciate any questions or comments in our comments section below.

Originally published July 15, 2016, updated November 11, 2016
Tags: marketing strategy social proof