You may have noticed that more of life is happening digitally.
In just one year (from 2019 to 2020), customer’s online interactions with companies exploded from 42% to 60% of their total interactions. This means that customers are now dealing with companies online rather than over the phone or in-person, roughly 60% of the time now.
That is quite a shift.
For B2B businesses, generating trust among business buyers requires adaptation to these kinds of shifts.
Customer testimonials have always been an essential part of how businesses create trust. As the world moves more toward making buying choices online, the importance of testimonials is only growing.
This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to customer testimonials, why they are important, and how you can produce them to help your business get its message out to buyers.
What are customer testimonials?
Customer testimonials, in their most basic form, are simple references. A buyer who has had a good experience provides evidence of that experience.
It’s easy to understand why these testimonials are effective. Without even thinking about it, we informally poll our friends and family to find out what they think about the experiences they’ve had, and we incorporate that information into our decisions just as automatically.
Customer testimonials give businesses an opportunity to harness our desire to get this kind of information. Testimonials might be offered freely from buyers, or they might be advertisements created by businesses.
Customer testimonials come in lots of different forms, so businesses need to think about what delivery system is best for them.
Social media posts, customer testimonial videos, affirmations from knowledgeable experts, case studies, and reviews can all be customer testimonials.
Testimonials are effective in marketing because people believe stories told by peers.
In one survey, 77% of people who watched a brand’s video testimonial said that it played a part in convincing them to buy the product or service.
Clearly, customer testimonials have always been important, and their importance is only increasing.
5 reasons testimonials are more essential than ever
This section will tell you exactly why testimonials — especially now — can be incredibly powerful in helping your business engage buyers.
1. Customer testimonials make buyers trust your business
You may be surprised to discover that trust in businesses is actually increasing.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in business is increasing while trust in NGOs, government, and media is falling.
However, only 46% of people surveyed felt that they trusted social media. If a great testimonial is going to leverage the innate trust people have in a business, it needs to come in the right form.
Trust is earned, and earning that trust takes time. This is true even in the high speed world of B2B marketing.
Buyers might not inherently trust social media, but testimonials can allow companies to reach buyers more seamlessly in their social media experience.
In the post above, a company is able to use Twitter to create a bit of social proof.
Coming across this kind of post casually in the midst of one’s social media experience helps establish a level of familiarity and trust that a buyer might remember when it’s time to make a purchase decision.
2. Customer testimonials are easy to delivery virtually
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated certain trends that were already happening.
Interactions that happened in person have shifted into virtual formats as people have avoided physical interaction as much as possible.
Certainly, this means video has become a bigger part of our lives. 91% of marketers suggested that video, in general, has become more important for businesses during the pandemic.
Of course, that also means there is more competition out there.
92% of video marketers feel competition has increased in the last year. This means that the people tasked with creating video marketing content are noticing more of it than ever before.
Customer testimonials, especially a customer testimonial video, can create opportunities for buyers to feel as though they are interacting with your company. This is so important during a time when you are less likely to be able to meet with them face-to-face.
It all feeds into the idea of trust.
Buyers are looking for an experience that lets them feel connected to your company. Customer testimonial videos are a great way for you to make that possible.
3. Your customers expect video content
As said before, the pandemic has meant that buyers want and need digital interactions more than ever. However, this trend actually began before the pandemic.
According to research, when you ask people how they want to learn about a product or service, the vast majority (69%) say that they prefer to watch a short video over any other content type.
If you could spend two minutes watching a testimonial video that tells you what your business needs to know about a product, why would you spend time reading a blog post or trying to parse infographics?
As it turns out, where B2B marketing is concerned, when you ask business buyers what they want and expect, they say the same thing all customers want, but even more so.
72% of buyers expect that B2B companies will make communications personalized to their particular needs.
85% of business buyers surveyed say that it is the experience a company provides that is most important to them. This is compared to just 79% of customers in general.
The word “experience” is a little fuzzy, though. If buyers want personalized communications and a good experience, but also want interactions to be happening efficiently and virtually, you have a limited number of ways to go about fulfilling all of those desires.
Customer testimonials can make this happen. In a testimonial, as a person expresses their experience, if it is authentic, a viewer is able to feel a little of that experience.
4. Customer testimonials are easy to share
Word of mouth has traditionally been another way that businesses have been able to establish trust among consumers.
However, what counts as word of mouth is changing as our technology evolves. During a pandemic, especially, sharing a social media post might be the best way one has of connecting with people.
If there is a product you are interested in or excited about, you might be more likely to tell other people about it if there is some sort of quick something you can pass along without much thought.
From a B2B perspective, you can easily share content with supervisors or colleagues with the press of a button.
Being able to easily share this kind of quick customer testimonial has a lot of utility. It’s one thing to have this kind of evidence available on your website, but formatting it into an appealing social media post makes it possible to travel a bit more easily from person to person.
This isn’t “word of mouth” in the traditional sense, but as our online habits change, the way we share information changes too. Putting your customer testimonials into the context of social media helps your business take advantage of those changes.
5. Customer testimonials are good at providing specific evidence
Testimonials allow a business to present specific success stories. These can sound far more authentic than the generic language we tend to use in website copy.
While the social media example above is general and non-specific, your buyers are going to at some point need specific evidence that corresponds to their needs.
Fortunately, your previously satisfied buyers are the ones who are best positioned to tell new ones why they need your product or service.
In this example, the company is using a customer testimonial on their site to provide specific numbers that show their target audience a real-world value. The specificity of the example makes the experience of the testimonial far more trustworthy.
This is important for the same reason customer testimonials are important in the first place. It all comes back to trust. If I’m going to trust you, I need evidence. Who better to provide that specific evidence to a prospective buyer than an already satisfied one?
5 steps for incorporating customer testimonials into your marketing
Now that you have seen all the potential benefits of using customer testimonials, you might be wondering how exactly you’re supposed to produce them.
In this section, you will get a step-by-step guide to creating great customer testimonials for your marketing plan.
Step 1: Decide which format your customer testimonials will use
As you’ve seen, there are all kinds of different ways of presenting customer testimonials. They could be videos, social media posts, images that you share on your website, etc.
Are you trying to create easy-to-share content that you can quickly post on social media, or do you want to efficiently get across some specifics?
You might need various types of customer testimonials to use in various forms. You might look at customer testimonial templates to get ideas. The bottom line is that people trust what customers have to say about businesses over what those businesses say about themselves.
The important thing is to decide, specifically, what you are trying to accomplish with the testimonials you create before you set about creating them.
Doing this will help you with the following steps.
Step 2: Determine which customers you want to give testimonials
Hopefully, you have a long history of satisfied buyers, all of whom have had wonderful experiences working with you.
Of course, some of those experiences will be more useful to new potential buyers than others.
If your goal is to simply increase brand awareness, you will be looking for different testimonial evidence than you might if your goal is to target a specific kind of buyer with a specific need.
Step 3: Reach out to your customers to get testimonials
Depending on what kind of customer review you have decided to get, your method of outreach could change.
Reaching out passively through your website might work for customers who already feel like sharing their experience. Reaching out through social media could work for customers who engage with you online.
Other customers will require more effort to reach. Email might be more effective in many cases.
Here is an email template you can use to reach out to a customer and ask for a testimonial:
Hi [INSERT NAME HERE],
We loved getting to work with you on [INSERT PROJECT HERE]. It was a pleasure getting to know you, your team, and your company.
We want to be able to share your experience with other prospective clients, and we know that the best way to share that experience is to have it come from you. I wondered if you would be willing to share your thoughts about working with us so that we can post them on [INSERT WHERE YOU WILL POST]. If you’d like to see other examples of similar testimonials, you can see them here [LINK TO EXAMPLES].
You can submit your testimonial here (LINK TO SUBMISSION PAGE). It should only take a few minutes, and you can share anything that comes to mind about your experience with us.
Step 4: Produce your customer testimonial
Now it is time for you to actually put together the customer testimonial evidence you’ve received into a format where new buyers can view it.
You will want to use a clean and easy-to-read design along with high-quality images. This way, if and when your effective testimonial starts getting shared, it will look good on social media or your company’s website.
If you are making a video, keep it brief and to-the-point. Testimonial Hero can help you with every step of producing your customer testimonial videos, taking all that work off your plate while providing you with great-looking content.
Step 5: Publish your customer testimonial
You’ve decided what you wanted to produce, and you’ve produced it. Once you get it up on your website or on social media, make sure you are keeping your goals in mind.
If you were trying to increase brand awareness, can you find evidence that this is happening? Have your sales gone up in a way that you can trace to your use of testimonials?
Knowing what your goals were in the first place can help you figure out if your ROI was worth it in the end.
A few more great examples of customer testimonials
UiPath’s Customer Stories Testimonials Page
This landing page makes a clean presentation of many different client-delivered success stories, so buyers can see examples that matter to them, click on them, and learn more right away.
IKO Testimonial from Integrity Roofing
This testimonial video, produced by Testimonial Hero, is an excellent example of how a video can target specific information to specific types of buyers looking to solve specific problems.
Robin’s retweet of a testimonial
Customer testimonials are an engaging way of interacting with former and potential clients in order to establish trust in a way that will increase sales. They can be a part of how you get customer feedback.
At their best, customer testimonials give potential customers the consumer experience they need to feel comfortable making a purchase.
Of course, you might want to leave it to the experts. Companies like Testimonial Hero can help you produce excellent video customer testimonials that will have an immediate impact on the way you do business.