Customer Testimonials: A Content Marketer’s How-To Guide

Customer testimonials can be a double-edged sword, but they’re an important part of an effective content marketing strategy. Reviews and testimonials increase brand trust and credibility by giving prospective clients a first-hand account of how your product or service has helped them. The question many business owners and their marketing teams face is how to make customer reviews work for their content marketing strategy. To help you determine the best way to implement a strategy that involves client testimonials, I’ve put together this handy guide.

How do I secure usable customer testimonials?
There are a lot of ways to encourage and ask customers to review your product or service or to write a testimonial about their overall experience with your company. The key is to get them to actually do it, and to do it in such a way that the testimonial is useful.

Securing quality testimonials starts with asking the right questions. “Yes/No” questions are obviously a no-go; they don’t allow for any additional information. Rating scales are iffy, and should be used in conjunction with open-ended questions that lead your clients to be specific about their experience. Ask questions about how your product or service has benefitted them, about their customer service experience, and so-on. For even better testimonials, ask your customers to include a photograph, the city they live/work in, and possibly their business name (if you have a B2B business, for example). Putting a face to the name will make the review more relatable.

Should I use a third-party review site?
Third party review sites have their pros and cons. On the one hand, they collect and display all of your reviews in one easy-to-find place. They usually have an integrated star-rating system so potential customers can see your average customer experience. They can act as free advertisement and they can also increase your SEO visibility and reach.

On the other hand, these sites usually cost money to use, which means a potential drop in ROI. They often do not have a vetting or filtering process for reviews, which means that malicious, untrue, and damaging information could hurt your conversion numbers, especially if it comes from a spammer. You have more control over the display of reviews if you integrate them into your site or your content. Remember that people are suspicious of all-positive reviews, though. Keep and respond to any truthful – but less-than-stellar – reviews to build trust and minimize the risk of returned products or refunded services.

Where should I integrate these testimonials?
Whether or not you use a third-party site, testimonials are like content marketing salt: you should sprinkle them anywhere they’re relevant. One particularly important technique if you don’t opt for a third-party site is to create a testimonials page for your website. This collects all of your reviews into one place that is easy for your prospects to find.

Your blog, your email campaigns, your social media posts, and even your printed materials are a great place to include testimonials. However, one of the best places to include written, audio, or video testimonials is on your products or services page. First, your prospect reads your sales copy, then they see or hear the copy reinforced by a satisfied customer. It’s a one-two conversion combination. Likewise, your CTAs should feature the words of a happy client – social proof that can nudge prospects towards taking the next step.

The Takeaway
Whether you use a third-party site or integrate your reviews and testimonials into your content, these snippets of digital word-of-mouth are an important part of converting on-the-fence prospects. Now that you understand these best practices for collecting, cultivating, and displaying client reviews, you can use this guide to integrate customer testimonials into your overall content marketing strategy.