Because the B2B buyer journey is typically complex – and often requires buy-in from multiple parties – it’s important to make it as easy as possible for prospects to justify specifying your brand over the competition.
In a study by Gartner,“70% of buyers agree that customer stories are the best way that providers can communicate differentiation that is trustworthy.” Other studies reveal that 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a review.
Holger Schulze surveyed their audience and found that customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective content marketing tactics, identified by 89% and 88% of respondents, respectively.
It’s no surprise that satisfied customers who are excited to share their enthusiasm about your brand and how you’ve helped them achieve their goals are invaluable. In fact, 62% of B2B companies use testimonials as one of their primary marketing efforts.
Following are nine strategies that Building Product brands should consider when developing testimonials that are designed to help build trust. Increase conversions. And accelerate sales.
Align with your ideal buyer or target persona. The best testimonials enable prospects to “see themselves” in the narrative. As such, choose customers to participate in your testimonials who fit your ideal customer personas. And make sure to ask questions that will help them guide their answers – to address issues that prospects with similar profiles – will identify with.
Make sure you are asking the right questions to get the right responses. Focused and well-thought out questions – designed to showcase the areas in which your products and services excel – will lead to meaningful answers. For example… How much money did our product save you? What time savings have you achieved by using our product… every day/week/month? What’s the biggest benefit you’ve recognized as a result of installing our product?
Let customers speak from their own experience. Resist the urge to give your customers a script. Or put words into their mouths. If the customer isn’t comfortable writing a testimonial or being featured in a video testimonial… offer to do a phone interview and then write-up the narrative for their approval.
Don’t over-edit the testimonial or embellish it. Audiences are able to detect quickly when something is “too good to be true” and you’ll lose credibility… if the testimonial feels forced or over the top. Stick to the facts.
Provide specifics. The most powerful testimonials include details that demonstrate specifically how your brand benefits its customers. Focus on driving home one or two main points, rather than trying to talk about multiple areas where your brand excels.
Discuss the “before and after.” Impactful testimonials clearly show the before (challenges) as well as the after (success) of partnering with your brand. Before and after photos – and videos when available – add authenticity to the testimonial. And will increase engagement.
Offer evidence and show tangible results. Effective B2B testimonials are based upon clear evidence that validates a brand’s offering. While it’s always nice to have a customer claim they like your products – or enjoy working with you – providing broad or vague statements without metrics won’t have the same impact as hard statistics and facts.
Consider video testimonials. In today’s hectic world, attention spans are shorter than ever before… so it’s crucial to communicate your message concisely. Video is an ideal medium for sharing a great deal of information in a short time, while engaging your prospects’ emotions. Video testimonials also make your brand more relatable, approachable and memorable.
Develop a process for collecting customer feedback. Put a plan in place to reach out regularly to your best customers several times a year to get performance feedback. They will appreciate that you value their opinion. What’s more, you will gain important intelligence about your brand and how it’s being perceived in the channel.
Website Product or Service Pages
In addition to devoting a specific section on your site to testimonials, include testimonials on landing pages that prospects may visit.
Pair with Calls to Action
Use testimonials to help drive conversions – whether a business inquiry, email sign-up, content download (or all three) – by including short testimonials adjacent to calls-to-action.
If your brand has a blog, compile several testimonials focused on a similar persona into a single blog post… that demonstrates how your brand has met customer needs in a variety of settings or circumstances.
Print Marketing Materials
Including testimonials in brochures and sales sheets help support your marketing claims. Make sure to offer prospects the ability to download this type of collateral from your website.
Email Marketing Campaigns
Empower “drip” campaigns which are being used to nurture leads with relevant testimonials. To optimize effectiveness, match a unique testimonial to the primary objection that each email aims to overcome.
Social Media Posts
As you’re using your social media sites to promote products or services content, testimonials will help create engagement and will deliver a more personal connection to your brand.
A few additional tips…
Regularly revisit your buyer personas – Do they still represent the people who are buying right now? Have new audiences become newly relevant?
Examine your testimonials – Are they current or outdated? Do they refer to – and represent – examples of today’s ideal customers? Will they continue to resonate with your evolving target of new prospects?
Calibrate your sales funnel – Are you leveraging the right testimonials at the right stage in your lead nurturing process? Ensure that your testimonials are being shared at critical inflection points – where they will have the biggest impact on your prospective customers.
Confirm your prospects’ awareness level – Are your target audiences aware of their problem…yet, remain unaware of your solution? Or rather, familiar with your product or service and simply haven’t yet made a purchase?
Want to find out more about how to create compelling customer testimonials that deliver measurable results?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.