Testimonials and reviews are some of the most influential content that you can show a buyer making a purchase decision. Once you’ve built your stockpile of testimonials, it is important that you fully leverage them throughout all your marketing communication activities to truly unlock the full value of social proof.
Testimonials and review content is applicable anywhere you are engaging your potential buyers. Reviews and testimonials are your best and most effective way to build trust with new buyers and ultimately boost your conversion rates. Who doesn’t want higher conversion rates?
Mapping Testimonials to the Buyer’s Journey
Let’s return to the concept of the buyer’s journey. According Hubspot, buyers go through three stages (Awareness, Consideration, and Decision) on their way to completing a purchase.
As marketers, our job is to create relevant content for each stage of the journey so that a buyer can seamlessly move from awareness and education phases to consideration where he or she may be evaluating multiple solutions and ultimately to decision. We must map our content assets to each of these phases.
Testimonials and review content is an important component in this strategy. If you’ve built a rich stockpile of testimonials by asking a diverse set of questions to a diverse set of subjects, then you will have testimonials that speak each phase of the buyer’s journey. For example, customer testimonials that speak to the problems your solution solves or expert testimonials from leaders in the domain are excellent content to leverage in the awareness phase of the buyer's journey. Likewise, testimonials and reviews highlight ROI and value propositions clearly map to consideration and decision stages.
Now, you must figure out creative and interesting ways to sprinkle these testimonials throughout your marketing. Here are seven great places to start. Each of these will either increase awareness and traffic to your site (top of funnel) or aid in converting more of the potential buyers that you have (bottom of funnel).
#1: Social Media and Advertisements
Social media posts and advertisements are excellent places to leverage testimonials and reviews. Social posts and ads should create immediate trust with a potential buyer and ultimately generate high qualified traffic that can be converted to leads and sales. A great testimonial, testimonial video, or even a review posted to the right hashtag or incorporated in an ad creative can be the centerpiece of a highly engaging, and effective ad or post.
Check out some examples of great Facebook ads with testimonials here.
#2 Home Page
Home pages are great places to display a select sample of your customer proof. A smattering of customer logos, a couple choice testimonials, or even an overall star rating of customer reviews are all proven techniques for boosting trust and getting buyers to explore further. The customer proof used on home pages ideally should be linked to deeper more in depth pages so buyers can go deeper and read more if they are so inclined. For example, an overall star rating of customer reviews should link to a detailed wall of customer reviews where a buyer can peruse and read each individual review at his leisure.
#3: Customer Pages
A well done customer page or pages should be the central hub of all your customer proof. You should aim to overwhelm a buyer with a rich and diverse display of customer love for your product and service. The best customer pages feature extensive customer videos and testimonials. Ideally if you have lots of videos and testimonials providing a way to sort, filter, and search your testimonials is advised. As we’ve discussed, buyers tend to self-identify with customers who are like them (e.g. role or industry) so providing ways to view your testimonials and videos aids this process. Likewise, quantitative statistics on the customer base and the value that they have realized are also great elements to include on a customer page. This can be one of the most important pages for buyers to close the sale and convert.
#4: Exit Intent Pages
Exit-intent technology allows you to make one last-ditch effort to convert visitors as they are about to leave your site. By detecting when someone is about to navigate away, it presents the visitor with one final message (in a lightbox overlay) right at that pivotal moment. This approach can be an effective way to capture emails. However, you need a compelling content offer and have built the requisite amount of trust. Displaying a choice testimonial or review as part of the exit intent message can help close the sale or capture an email for further nurturing.
#5: Checkout Pages
In ecommerce and SaaS, the checkout page is the ultimate sell page. The buyer is on the one yard line and you want to put your best foot forward. Growth marketers have run countless A/B experiments showing that customer proof can be highly effective on boosting conversion on this page. The best practice to include a testimonial, a choice review, or overall star review rating to allow the buyer to proceed with confidence.
#6: Landing Pages
In a similar vein to checkout pages, landing pages represent another key conversion point in the buyer’s journey. Buyers who happen on a landing page after clicking an email link, advertisement, or social media post are coming to your site cold. You need to convince them in a hurry to trust you and provide contact information for your offer. Testimonials represent an effective way to bridge the trust gap and get buyers to move to the next level in the buyer’s journey.
#7: Sidebars and Blog Pages
An often overlooked place to include testimonials is the sidebar of your website or blog. A testimonial whose message reinforces and is synchronized to the overall content topic is a strong social proof signal. The content will be more credible if 3rd parties, like customers, are ratifying the overall message. This can be a powerful trust marker.
- Take inventory of your web presence and buyer’s journey to identify the top places to embed and use customer testimonials
- Improved conversion.
Testimonials and reviews are powerful stuff. They attract more visitors to your site. They convert more prospective buyers to paying customers. As a result, companies that make their customers the focus of their marketing perform better and are more trusted than other brands.
- They aren’t a gimmick. Creating and using customer testimonials regularly can be one of the few durable advantages that marketers like us have.
- If you aren’t using social proof in your marketing, start with the simple steps outlined in this guide, and don’t be overwhelmed with getting to perfection on day one. If you have an ad hoc program, it’s time to start gearing up for a way to make your efforts programmatic to see the maximum ROI. We hope that by reading this guide, we have armed you with new ideas, insights, and strategies to take your testimonial and social proof marketing to the next level.
Curious how customer testimonials can move the needle for your business? Check out the other chapters in The Definitive Guide to Testimonials.