Once you start meeting and exceeding your customers' expectations, you can start asking them to help you -- by writing reviews, serving as case studies, and writing testimonials.
Because that's the ultimate goal of working in customer service -- to help your customers grow to the point where their love of your brand is so undeniable that they start telling their friends and family to become a customer -- and they become a brand evangelist to millions of strangers on the internet scouring for honest, trustworthy reviews.
And these testimonials and reviews are gold -- because your potential customers trust the honest opinion of your customers way more than your marketing content and sales reps: 85% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family, and 91% occasionally or regularly check online reviews before making a purchase.
Once these people start reading reviews and learning more about your company, they might become leads that are virtually free to generate -- who are already more inclined to give you their business because they trust the honesty of your existing, happy customers. Read on to learn exactly how to use these happy customers' words to become a lead generation engine for your sales team.
8 Ways to Use Testimonials for Lead Generation
1. Use social proof.
In many industries, there is nothing more powerful than social proof -- and if you don't already do this with every customer, you should.
Figure out your 10 most profitable customers, nurture your relationship with them, and ask them specifically what they've gotten out of working with you. Then, figure out how you can craft those stories into testimonials or case studies to show these examples to prospective future clients.
Social proof is all about the power of the crowd -- so make sure you have lots of different examples of happy customers you can share on social media, your website, and at events.
2. Use visual content.
What's even more engaging than words written by your happy customers? Video content.
For a few of your most enthusiastic customers, invest in filming a testimonial video to accompany their words to really bring them to life. Whether you make your own video with a few pieces of equipment and software or hire a production company, the video will tell your story across different media -- on your website, YouTube, and social media -- in a unique and engaging way.
3. Focus on tangible impact.
Third-party validation of your company is a fantastic way to show others you know what you're doing -- but make sure the testimonials aren't vague and fluffy. The most effective testimonials are specific, and refer to the tangible impact the product or service had on their business results, so ask customers specific questions to get the specific answers you want.
4. Feature content wherever possible.
If you have especially compelling case studies, put a link to them on your blog, in your email signature, and in all of your social media profiles. The more places potential customers can see the results of your work across different media, the better.
5. Make testimonials trustworthy.
One problem with testimonials is that even if they sound great, their authenticity can't be verified because there is no backlink to the reviewer's website or social profile.
You can create more trust by making sure that your testimonials can be traced back to a real person. Not many people will actually contact the reviewer, but the thought that they could may have a huge impact on making the decision to buy.
6. Tailor testimonials to different personas.
Testimonials are meant to demonstrate success, so many of your potential customers will look for these types of demonstrated successes from customers like themselves.
With this in mind, you should build case studies that feature customers that are similar to the demographics of the different personas you're trying to attract, as well as the goals they are trying to achieve.
7. Use public speaking.
You can even turn a happy customer's success story into a roadshow presentation.
If your company is representing itself at trade shows, conferences, and events, make sure you have a compelling customer story to tell that's bigger than a sales pitch. Whether it's your company's leader, a customer success manager (CSM), or the happy customer themselves, tell the story of your happy customers in as many ways as you can -- in front of as many potential customers as possible.
8. Feature your best-fit customers.
If you have users that are celebrities or influencers within their community, highlight their testimonials so that prospective buyers can think, "I know her and I trust her opinion."
You can also consider featuring happy clients that fit the exact same demographic as your highest paying customers. As long as they are somewhat relatable, you'll be sure to grow your leads and overall sales through testimonials.
Originally published Apr 17, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated March 26 2019