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Testimonials work.   But don’t take our word for it.   Groove reported a 15% conversion lift from using testimonials in email, on its home page, and landing pages. In this, the very first chapter of The Definitive Guide to Customer Testimonials we'll lay the foundation for why customer testimonials should be at the heart of your marketing efforts.

Growth marketers report that social proof, like testimonials, consistently yield the best results over other strategies in their experiments.   89% of marketers rate testimonials as the most effective type of content marketing that they do.   Plus, 90% of buyers report that reading positive reviews and testimonials influence their purchase and the presence of 50 or more reviews or testimonials on a site can boost conversion by 4.6% or more.    Testimonials mean more dollars in your pocket.

As marketers, customer testimonials do two things for us:  

  • Convert more traffic and leads
  • Act as an evergreen content supply that attracts more interested, qualified buyers to your site while building trust with your brand.  

A double win.

Why Testimonials Convert More Buyers

How exactly do testimonials boost conversion?  

Testimonials can create a true virtuous cycle.   A prospective buyer visits your site. They read, watch, or listen to your testimonials, which might appear on the home page, campaign landing page, checkout page or in a customer gallery. They identify with the customer who is talking, the problem solved or the benefits received.   This identification with your customers builds trust in your company and product/service, and removes the friction in their journey to the next step in the buyer’s journey.  

Relatable customer stories also de-risk your prospect’s purchase.   They know that they are not the first person to buy the product or service to solve their problem.  Since they trust your company and know other people like them use your offerings, they are more willing to provide their contact information or sign up for your service.   These visitors convert at a higher rate to a lead or a sale than if there was an absence of testimonials and social proof.   The result: you get more customers, who in turn give you more testimonials, and further raises your ability to convert future customers with your arsenal of testimonials.   A virtuous, positive feedback loop is born.

Objectives: Use testimonials on website to de-risk purchase decisions and lead capture

Key Results: Friction is removed from the buyer’s journey by building trust with your buyers, improving conversion

Testimonials Attract More Leads

We’ve now covered why testimonials are so powerful, and how they are able to convert at higher rates than other marketing strategies. But the benefits don’t end there.   Building a collection of testimonials and reviews across industries served, use cases and company size pays dividends for attracting new prospects.  First, large numbers of reviews and testimonials represent a treasure trove of User Generated Content (UGC).   This kind of content is chock full of long tail keywords that your buyers use to search every day.   Essentially, it is a crowdsourced collection of all the words and phrases that your buyers use to describe what they are looking for in your product or service.

Sites that employ lots of user generated content see increased organic search traffic. This traffic is hyper targeted to use cases relevant to your product and service and typically converts at much higher rates than other traffic sources and marketing channels.  By continuing to collect and showcase new testimonials, your site will be constantly refreshed with fresh content, another boon for SEO.

Finally, testimonials make compelling social posts.    Social posts and ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn that feature customers enjoy higher CTRs and more reach - research done by Yotpo indicate a 300% improvement in CTR.   Customer testimonials generate more engagement than typical marketing topics, plus they also build trust.   As Zuck said: “People influence people.” And Facebook may be the greatest example and experiment in how referrals work at a truly global scale.

Higher CTRs and greater reach ultimately means more traffic from social channels.   As a result, testimonials and reviews should play a central role in your social media marketing and advertising efforts, along with increasing your SEO reach.

Objectives:

  • Generously embed testimonials on your website
  • Set up a system to consistently add new testimonials to your website
  • Use customer testimonials as compelling social media posts and ads

Key Results:

  • More long tail keywords improve SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Fresh, relevant user generated content improves SEO
  • Higher click through rate on social posts
  • More qualified traffic to your site.

Social Proof: The Science Behind It

Customer testimonials are a form of social proof. Social proof is a long documented psychological concept based on studies and observations that show humans are strongly inclined to follow the actions of a group.  You may have heard of Robert Cialdini’s work on social proof covered in his classic book, “Influence” or experienced it first hand as you browse Yelp reviews to figure out where to eat dinner.

Social proof becomes particularly powerful when faced with uncertainty - which is where we start most purchase decisions. By seeing credible evidence of the correct behavior (like testimonials from people like us who made the right decision) we can get to what feels like the right decision, faster.