Is it worth the effort to leverage customer testimonials to promote more sales? Consider two compelling statistics:

According to Business 2 Community, 88 percent of consumers read and trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

According to a Dimensional Research study, 90 percent of respondents noted that reading positive online reviews influenced their purchasing decisions.

"Review" is another word for "customer testimonial," which is among the most powerful marketing tools available for growing a business. Here's why.

Efficacy

An impactful customer endorsement is not a slick, agency-produced advertisement. The words belong to living, breathing consumers, which your customers will not only appreciate, but relate to, as well.

Keep in mind that with every product or service you offer you are also making a promise — and a customer testimonial will substantiate that promise and help back up your claims. Put simply, customer testimonials build trust and credibility. They create an opportunity for customers to show enthusiasm for your product or service.

Specificity

Specific testimonials are the most effective because they address questions another consumer will likely have. For example, information about saving money, solving problems, and any benefits and outcomes of using your product or service can be more believable from a peer. When soliciting testimonials, frame your questions in ways that highlight those specifics. Some questions to consider include:

  • What challenge did you face that was resolved by using our product?
  • How did our product overcome that challenge?
  • Can you provide an approximate amount of time or money you saved?

Be sure to include a name with each testimonial. For even greater credibility, ask permission to add the customer's location, photo and social media handle.

Methodology

To leverage customer testimonials to their fullest potential, highlight them on your website. Give testimonials prominence on your home page (above the fold, if possible) and in sidebars. Include a testimonial in the body of your copy, particularly one that emphasizes outstanding features and benefits. Compile a list of endorsements and display them on a dedicated testimonial page. You want your site visitors to encounter glowing comments wherever they are on the site.

The great thing about brief, specific testimonials is that they can also be inserted in any kind of marketing material — print, TV, radio, brochures, direct mail pieces, newsletters or social media updates. They also serve as inspiration when creating new copy. Nothing speaks more directly to the quality of your product than the words of satisfied customers. Be sure to ask for permission, preferably in writing, to use the testimonial for marketing or other purposes that may suit your business.

Finally, be sure to feature testimonials in your store or office. If customers visit your business location, framed testimonials in the lobby or shopping areas provide instant credibility.

People sometimes hesitate to purchase a product because "they're fearful of making the wrong decision," notes Peoria Magazines. But that fear is often abated when the product or service has been endorsed by someone similar to themselves. A strong testimonial makes people feel more confident about a happy purchasing outcome.

Tags: build trust customer satisfaction build credibility marketing customer testimonial