One of the most powerful pieces of content in B2B is the testimonial. Seeing an endorsement from a peer provides buyers with an instant cue to the credibility of the product, appreciation that the supplier is familiar managing similar needs and a degree of evidence on product effectiveness.
A good testimonial is shorthand for “You’ve come to the right place.”
So why don’t companies use testimonials more frequently? All too often marketers find the process of capturing the right testimonial intimidating––but it doesn’t have to be. Consider the following tips for testimonial success.
A stream of strong testimonials doesn’t just happen. It typically takes planning and a big ask. Many marketers find success by working with their sales teams to incentivize access to the customer for case studies and testimonials as part of the contract process (pending the project’s success, of course). Frequently suppliers will offer additional training, extended service options or other perks in exchange for participation.Asking at the outset to work with the customer this way is often most successful because the request is coming at a time when stakeholders are most excited about the project and have yet to be mired down in the day-to-day work to be done.
OK, so what if working your way into contracts is off limits? Another great option for capturing testimonials is to work with your customer service team to identify super fans.Those on the front lines often have the best sense of which customers are happiest or are likely to be receptive to a request that is personalized around the positive results the customer is experiencing. Often an appreciative customer will be more than willing to assist you if you ask.
Another way to leverage your customer service team is to work customer comments into standard satisfaction surveying. A simple open-ended question “Tell us about your experience working with our product (or company)” followed by a yes/no checkbox on “May we contact you about your experience” can help pave the way for a request to share positive comments publicly.
Of course, some companies won’t allow employees to make public endorsements, and some customers simply won’t feel comfortable. Don’t let this dissuade you. Though not as strong, an anonymous endorsement from someone in the field can still hold value. Attributing a comment to “a plant engineer at a global candy manufacturer” or “an auto manufacturer based in the Midwest” still conveys to your audience that your organization has expertise working with similar customers.
Give your customer the option of either writing a sentence or two about their experience working with you/your product or approving something you create for them. The best testimonials sound authentic, often highlighting specifics of improvement or discussing widely applicable challenges in real terms. Common springboards to drive these insights may include questions such as:
· What were things like before using Product X, and how have they improved?
· What made Product X stand out from other options?
· What are some successes you’ve been able to achieve by using Product X?
· What has your experience been like using Product X?
· What would you tell someone considering doing business with our company?
Keep in mind that a good testimonial is short, usually no more than 75 words. Something too long simply won’t get read. One ways marketers can keep testimonials skimmable is by using a format where the quote receives prominence and additional information about context is kept separate and secondary beneath. Or perhaps give a summary headline above the quote.
In addition to including name, title and company, aim to add a picture of the customer or the customer’s company logo. These visual elements are important to grab interest and underscore the legitimacy of those featured.
One common mistake is to make a “testimonials page” on your website. But who wants to read that? Instead, testimonials should be interwoven throughout your site. Part of the power of a great testimonial is its ability to back-up or provide “proof” of the claims that are being made in content around it. When you silo testimonials together, you lose this benefit.
Also, don’t limit testimonials to website placement alone. Anywhere you are referencing your product’s ability to perform is a great place to include a testimonial, whether featured in product brochures, ads or presentations for sales teams. Think of a testimonial like a powerful stat relating to your product’s success—you want to share this “evidence” as much as you can.