An effective testimonial campaign includes a process for requesting, collecting, managing and displaying testimonials from your customers. Prospects expect to see reviews and testimonials that vouch for your product or service. That’s why we put together this guide – to help you collect a flood of praise from past customers to help close future sales.
90% of consumers admit their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
79% of online shoppers tend to trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.
Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.
Testimonials can make or break a sale for your business. And it’s not just having testimonials; it’s having the right people say the right things to convince prospects that you’re the right fit for them.
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An effective website will answer one fundamental question:
What do past and current customers who have purchased your product or used your service really think about it?
The problem most businesses face is collecting that information and presenting it in a meaningful, believable way. Doing this requires an intentional, strategic approach to asking for testimonials, categorizing and managing them, and delivering them to prospects.
Our goal with this guide is to make that process as simple as possible. We want to help you ask the right questions in the right places so you can collect effective, convincing testimonials for your business, generate more leads, and close more sales.
By following this step-by-step guide over the next 30 days, you will learn:
- What methods are most effective for collecting testimonials.
- What questions and techniques elicit meaningful, convincing testimonials.
- How to best promote your testimonial campaign & nurture loyal customers into sharing their praise.
- When, where and how to present your testimonials to give potential customers the push they need.
How to use this guide
This guide is broken up into 8 lessons that when completed at a pace of 2 per week, will set you up for launching your testimonial campaign in 30 days. You can sign up to get email notifications for each lesson to keep yourself on track.
Or, you can work at your own pace and launch your campaign sooner. The lessons range from 30 minutes to a couple of hours each, so you could realistically launch your campaign within a day or two if you’d like.
Week 1: Planning, Part A
Establishing Your Goals
What are you trying to achieve with your testimonial campaign?
Before you get started developing your campaign, figure out what defines a successful campaign for you. Laying out specific goals and objectives before you begin will make campaign planning and executing your campaign far easier. Here, you will find factors to think about when planning to ensure your testimonial campaign is as effective as possible and reaches your targeted goals.
What Defines a Successful Campaign for You?
To begin planning, ask yourself, Why am I running a testimonial campaign, and what do I want to get out of it? Keeping an overall goal and idea in mind throughout the planning and execution of your campaign will allow you to measure the success of your campaign and know if the campaign was worth the time, resources, and effort you put into it. The best goals can be answered with a simple yes or no. Think, Did we receive X number of testimonials or Did we generate more website traffic as a result of the campaign?
Are Your Goals Realistic?
Apart from your primary goal, you should establish smaller goals that you’ll need to reach in order to accomplish the big goal. Things you should keep in mind include how many testimonials you need and what response rate it would take for your campaign to be worth your investment. These numbers will help shape the rest of your testimonial campaign in bringing you the best results. Keeping a spreadsheet of your goals and outcomes will allow you to clearly and concisely report on the success of your campaign.
Collecting the Right Testimonials
In addition to numeric goals, you should also know what content you want to collect with your campaign. There are several ways to ensure you’re asking the right questions when requesting testimonials, which we will cover in further detail with Week 3 Part A: Asking the Right Questions. However, the first step is determining what you want to know from your customers. What are the top questions and concerns potential customers have that your testimonials need to address? Knowing this will help you gather the right content from your customers and make your testimonial campaign as effective as possible.
Week 1: Planning, Part B
Choosing A Campaign
What type of campaign do you want to run?
Now that you have a clear picture of your goals, the next step to launching a testimonial campaign in 30 days is deciding what type of testimonial campaign you will run. There are a lot of ways to ask for testimonials and plenty of ways to encourage your customers to share their praise. Here, you’ll find five options for testimonial campaigns that we have found to be effective in the past.
Contest or Sweepstakes
Sometimes the best way to get a testimonial from your customers is to entice them with something in return. When you are marketing your testimonial campaign, you can let your customers know that submitting a testimonial will get them entered into a random drawing or that their video will be judged based on different criteria. A little incentive can go a long way. We have given away electronics as well as gift cards and had great results in both cases.
Instead of offering your customers a chance to win a big prize, give everyone who submits a testimonial something small. We have had great success giving away branded t-shirts and coffee mugs, but you could offer small gift cards, a discount on their next purchase, or a sample of one of your products.
Another way to approach testimonial collection is to forget the word “testimonial” all together. In asking your customers for feedback, you might get some great content that you can use as a testimonial. When using Boast to collect video testimonials, if you are just asking for overall feedback, you will probably need to download your videos and edit them a bit to get a usable testimonial, but if you aren’t having success collecting testimonials with other methods, this can be a great option to try.
Offer to Promote Them
Do you have an email newsletter or a blog that you can use to feature your customers? Ask for a testimonial, and in exchange, offer to promote your customer. This is a great incentive because it is a way for them to get some recognition, but it is also an easy way for you to get content for your own marketing.
One of the most effective ways to get testimonials from your customers is to personally invite them. This can be in person at your office or store front or it can be in an email. If you ask via email, make sure to mention something specific about the person and maybe even some specific questions you want them to answer in their testimonial. Having that personal connection can really help to give your customer the extra push they need.
Week 2: Setup, Part A
How will you collect customer testimonials?
By now you should know what type of testimonial campaign you want to run. The next step is determining how you’re going to collect testimonials. Your method will vary based on the type of campaign you’re running and where you’ll be collecting testimonials. Some ways to collect testimonials include a photo or video kiosk, a link to a form on a website, or through social media plugins. Here, you’ll find examples of testimonial collection methods and when they work best.
Collect Testimonials on Your Website
Create a page on your website where visitors can submit a testimonial. You can either build a form yourself or use a third party testimonial collection service. This will allow you to promote a link to the page via your newsletter, personal emails, social media, links throughout your website, or even traditional marketing outlets like postcards and flyers. Having the form available on your website also expands the possibilities of who can find it and submit a testimonial.
What You’ll Need
To collect testimonials on your website, you will likely want a well designed and maintained website, as well as a page specifically for your testimonial campaign that identifies instructions and terms. This page will need a form that you create, or an embedded form using a third party service. While you don’t need this to launch your campaign, at some point you will want a designated web page for displaying the testimonials you have collected.
Depending on your audience, the easy accessibility of a mobile app incorporated into your campaign will make the process of submitting a testimonial a bit more enjoyable. There are testimonial apps, such as Boast, that exist just for this purpose, or you could have a mobile app custom made for your organization. Collecting testimonials through a mobile app is perfect for on-the-go events or collecting testimonials from customers in person.
What You’ll Need
You will either need a developer to make the app for you, or a partnership with a third party provider for your mobile application. If you plan to have your team collect testimonials from customers, you will need devices equipped with the app. If you plan to have your customers download the mobile app, it is highly important to provide clear instructions on how to submit a testimonial so you eliminate as many barriers as possible and achieve the best submission rate.
Photo Booth or Video Kiosk
For storefronts, trade shows, or conferences and events, setting up a photo booth or video kiosk can be another way to engage your customers and convince them to submit a testimonial. This makes it easy for users to submit a testimonial, and won’t require much assistance from you. For example, if your testimonial campaign is part of a sweepstakes, you can set up a kiosk at your storefront, allowing patrons submit their praise while you are attending to other customers in the store.
What You’ll Need
If you plan to collect testimonials with a photo booth or video kiosk, you will need a tablet or iPad to collect the testimonials as well as a kiosk for housing the device. For example, Boast’s testimonial app is available through iPad, just lock it in kiosk mode for easy collection.
Using Facebook for business purposes is obviously beneficial due to the amount of users on the social media platform, but collecting testimonials on Facebook has the added benefit of social amplification. When a user submits a testimonial on your Facebook page, it is easy for them to share that with their friends, helping to get the word out about your testimonial campaign. You definitely want to know your audience before deciding to host a testimonial campaign on Facebook, but if Facebook is a platform that makes sense for the people you are targeting, it will allow you to both collect your testimonials and promote your campaign from the same place.
What You’ll Need
If you plan to collect testimonials on your Facebook page, you will want to have an established Facebook page that has a good social following. You will also need an application that will allow you to collect testimonials on your Facebook page. There are specific testimonial applications that offer Facebook integration, or you can create your own collection form and embed it on your Facebook page using a Facebook HTML app.
Week 2: Setup, Part B
Testing Your Campaign
When you think your campaign is set up, you’re only halfway there.
Next comes the testing, the promotion, and the execution. Getting the most out of your testimonial campaign requires a diligent, systematic review of what’s in place to ensure nothing goes wrong or turns away customers who are ready and willing to submit their praise. Here, you’ll find the different components of your testimonial campaign that you will want to double check.
Browser & Device Testing
Not all browsers work the same way, and it is highly likely that your customers will be using different browsers and devices than you use. Make a point to try things out across all popular browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Also, try different devices – Apple, Android, and Windows phones and tablets.
Try It Yourself
The first step toward making sure everything is in line for your testimonial campaign is to go through the process yourself. Submit a testimonial using any and all methods that are available for your customers, and keep an eye out for anything that hold people up. Make sure there is enough instruction and that the proper notifications and thank you messages are in place. Then check to make sure you receive your submissions as expected.
The final step before launching your testimonial campaign is making sure you have everything in place and tested. Having employees or friends run through the testimonial submission process is extremely important so you know what the experience will be like for potential customers. Testing allows you to fix potential bugs in the process and gain insights on how to improve the experience.
Once you’ve tested the process and everything is ready to go, it’s time to launch.
After it’s launched, don’t forget to promote, and then promote some more! We want you to get the most out of your testimonial campaign.
Week 3: Marketing Strategy, Part A
Asking The Right Questions
What content do you want included in your testimonials?
Asking thought-provoking questions is a great way to guide your testimonials, and give them variety. Leading the discussion gives deeper meaning to the testimonials you collect by adding the who, where, when, why and how to the what. In order to brainstorm some quality questions, you should cover the following topics to begin to cultivate the meaningful content you’re looking for.
Barriers & Hesitations
When making purchasing decisions for a product or service there are barriers and hesitations unique to each potential customer. For your product, service, or event what do you think are the biggest barriers and hesitations that exist? Once you define them, write a few questions that will prompt the customer to address them.
What were you afraid of before doing business with us and how did we ease that worry?
What was your biggest fear about purchasing our product or service?
You probably have a loyal following of brand advocates, but the money’s in the details in terms of bringing in new business. Potential customers watching testimonials don’t just want to know that your clients love your business; they want to know why. Think about what makes your company unique and ask questions that allow customers to bring up specific details about their experience.
What was your favorite feature of the product you purchased?
What was the best part about the service you were provided?
What was your favorite part about the event you attended?
More than anything you want your testimonials to have personality. Each of your customers are unique, and you want that variety to shine through. A way to bring personalities to light are by making the testimonials more conversational. Customers will open up more when they feel they are having a casual conversation.
If you were to recommend us to someone who would it be and why?
Would you recommend our product or service to your best friend?
The employees of your company are what make your brand. Asking questions that will allow customers to reflect on who they worked with within your company and why they were so great will allow potential customers to become more familiar with your staff before they do business with you.
Who was your main point of contact and how did they help you?
What was your favorite part about working with employee “x”?
Every industry has buzzwords that potential customers use as a means of comparison. Think about what some of those buzzwords in your industry may be and write them down. Chances are, you strive to be or do all of the words you just listed. The best way to bring these to light in a testimonial are to ask questions that allow customers to simplify their thoughts.
If you were to describe our company in 3 words, what would they be?
What qualities stick out the most about our company?
Goals & Results:
No matter what type of business you are, each of your customers comes to you with a goal in mind, and you provide them with results. Take a minute to think about the most common goals that a typical customer would have when doing business with you. From there, list the results associated with those goals. Humans are very goal-driven by nature, and asking questions that allow your customers to reflect on their goals and the outcome of doing business with you is a perfect way to wrap up a testimonial.
What task were you trying to complete and how did it get finished?
What goal did you have in mind prior to our service?
What goal did you have in mind prior to purchasing our product?
Now that you have brainstormed a list of questions specific to your company, it’s time to put them to use!
The key to using these questions to your advantage is to switch things up. Asking a variety of questions will help you create a more diverse feed of testimonials, and therefore cater to a more diverse audience of potential customers.
Week 3 Part B
Promoting Your Campaign
How to promote your testimonial campaign?
By now you should have a good idea of the type of testimonial campaign you want to run. As a recap, some good options are a contest or sweepstakes, giveaway, survey, promoting your customers, or personally asking them. Once you have that figured out, you need to outline how you will promote your testimonial campaign – the testimonials won’t come in on their own!
Ask customers at your storefront / location
One of the best ways to ask for testimonials is in person at your storefront location. People will be more willing to take a few minutes out of their day to submit a testimonial if an employee asks them in person, plus the employee will be able to give them addition information about what the testimonials will be used for. Your business has a lot of foot traffic throughout the day, so using that to your advantage in order to collect testimonials is a great way to run your campaign.
If your campaign involves a storefront display or iPad/ kiosk set up in store, you will need signs to display in your storefront to generate awareness. If your campaign is a contest, sweepstake, or giveaway, storefront signs will encourage people to come into the store, submit a testimonial or feedback, and potentially look at the other products in the store.
Promote it on your website
Promote your campaign directly on your website. Add an eye catching call to action or pop-up on your site that encourages customers to submit their feedback. Chances are, your customer has been to your website before, so asking them to add a testimonial at a place that they’re familiar with will be beneficial. Make sure that your on-site promotion is easily visible to the user so that it’s easy for them to submit their feedback.
To promote your testimonial campaign on your website, you will need to add a call to action or pop-up on pages to generate awareness. You will need to create assets and content to make your call to action and to encourage visitors to click on it to submit a testimonial.
Send out an email blast
If you have a built up email list of prior customers, you can utilize it to let them know about the campaign and encourage them to submit a testimonial. This method can be effective if you are offering to promote them on your company’s blog, website, or email newsletter in return for a testimonial.
Email software / list
If you are promoting the testimonial campaign via a mass email list, you will need to have a list of people who’ve previously purchased products or interacted with your brand. You should also have an email marketing program that allows you to easily create an email template, send out emails to the list, and measure the success of the email. You also need content to go in the email explaining the campaign and how to submit a testimonial. If you are collecting testimonials on your website, you will need a page to link to from the email so users can easily make a submission.
Send out personalized emails
Sending out personal emails is a good way to promote the campaign if you are planning to send a direct link to prior customers. Personal emails help build and maintain relationships with prior customers. If the customer feels appreciated by the company, they will be more willing to submit a testimonial or positive feedback. This method can also be used if you want to promote them in the future.
Personal Email Template
To promote your testimonial campaign by sending out personal emails, you should have a generic email template that can be altered on a case by case basis to keep message consistency, but also create stronger personal relationships. You will also need to know characteristics of each customer and their purchases to create personal content.
Promote it on social media
Promoting your campaign on social media can be effective if you already have a solid following and your target market is predominantly on social media. You can utilize the company’s social media pages to create awareness of the campaign, which can link directly over to the submission form. Setting up scheduled statuses and posts can generate awareness and create reminders to your followers.
Social Media Collateral
To promote on social media without paying for advertising, you will need to create content for statuses and schedule posts accordingly to reach the most of your target market. Having a social media hosting platform, such as Hootsuite, is also a good idea so you can keep all profiles organized and schedule posts so you don’t forget to send them out.
Direct mail can be used to reach prior customers, letting them know about the campaign and encouraging them to submit a testimonial or feedback. For example, you could send postcards out with a QR code that scans to a page on your site where they can easily submit a testimonial. It could also be as simple as just sending easy instructions on how to make a submission.
To promote using direct mail you will need the names and addresses of people you are sending mail to. You will also need the design and printing resources to create the direct mail assets. If you are planning to utilize a QR code that people can scan to access the testimonial code, you will need to set one up to be linked over the a testimonial page on your website.
Adwords / social media ads
Google Adwords can be used to reach people on search engines. Setting up an Adwords campaign can generate awareness of the testimonial campaign around certain keywords that you want to rank for on search engines. The ads can link to a testimonial page on your website that has the submission form. You can also set up paid advertising on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These ads can be targeted based on location, age, gender, and social media behavior. This method of promotion can be extremely effective if your target market is on social media, and the ads directly link to the submission form.
Ad account, campaign, copy, creative
If you are promoting your campaign through Google Adwords, you will need to have an account set up, someone who can build, maintain, and measure the Adwords campaign, and a budget to work with. You will also need a relative landing page that the ads will link over to – preferably the testimonial collection page so users can easily submit testimonials with limited confusion.
To promote successfully with paid social media advertising, you will need established social media profiles that are capable of representing the brand and reach your target market. You will also need content and creative work to post as the advertisement that is persuasive enough to get people to click and submit a testimonial.
Week 4: It’s Go Time, Part A
Ensuring a Smooth Launch
You need to have a game plan in place.
Now that you’ve covered all of the bases and have your campaign ready to launch, there’s a few things you should keep in mind to make sure that everything goes as planned. Follow this list to make sure everyone on your team is playing the same game. The more detailed your game plan, the smoother your campaign will go, and the better results you will receive!
Your campaign may be flawlessly implemented and strategically placed on your website, but collecting a steady flow of testimonials is another vital portion of the launch. The reason you’ve setup your campaign strategy the way you have is to collect a high quantity of quality testimonials. Make sure you maintain consistent communication with your customers. Whether you choose to call them, send out emails, or plan an event for collection, the more you engage with your customers, the more quality testimonials you will get out of the campaign.
Create a content calendar detailing a monthly engagement schedule. This will keep you on track with your customer communication. Use this calendar to schedule every email, Facebook post, tweet, and event surrounding your campaign. Once your content calendar is created, stick to it!
To guarantee a smooth launch, it is smart to allocate an employee to maintain your collected testimonials and deploy them quickly after submission. Having a designated plan will allow you to be efficient. The quicker you start to place the testimonials on your site, the quicker you will begin to see results.
Set up a system that allows you to track different marketing channels. Use this as a means to up your efforts on channels that are bringing in the most conversions, and slowing down the channels that aren’t working as well. Use the same system to track:
- Social Media Sites – What sites have the most engagement?
- Campaign Language – What content brings in the most testimonials?
- Email Content – What emails produce the highest open and click-through rates?
Maintain Your Campaign:
Your campaign will be most successful if your customers have an easy time when leaving their testimonials. You will truly figure out what works along the way and it’s okay to update your campaign. This will allow you to get the best results and get rid of language or marketing tactics that aren’t as effective.
Create a checklist for your designated testimonial person to follow. This checklist should include:
- Time Frame – When was the testimonial submitted?
- Marketing Data – Where did the testimonial come from?
- Organization System- Tagging or labeling the testimonials can help you group them in an organized way, for example.
- Content check – Is everything submitted up to your standards?
- Where to put the testimonials – Website, Social Media Sites, in an email, etc.
Set a Standard:
Make sure you commit to finding a number of clients to leave testimonials a week. Depending on how large your business is, set a reasonable standard and stick to that standard throughout your entire campaign. It’s easy to fall behind on your marketing efforts after the first few weeks of launching your campaign. To get the most out of your experience, stick to a set standard and this will set you up for consistent success.
Create a spreadsheet, similar to the spreadsheet in week 1, that lays out the different details that are important to you for your collected testimonials. For example, if you would like to collect 5 testimonials a day, and you would like them to answer a variety of questions, make it your standard to meet that criteria. Once you figure out the number of clients you need to reach out to, to hit that standard you will be on your way to hitting the results you have in mind.
Week 4: It’s Go Time, Part B
Making The Most of It
You’ve put in the work, now reap the benefits!
Now that you have implemented your testimonial campaign on your website and have started to collect testimonials, you can implement an even more detailed strategy to make the most out of them. Here are some fun ideas on how to take your testimonials and run with them.
Chances are you have a few segmented customer groups that you work with every day. These customer groups find value in different communication and content produced by your company. It is a smart practice to organize your collected testimonials for optimal user experience. Once you have an internal organization system set up, like a tagging system for example, this will help you put the right testimonials in front of the right potential customers for your business, and help you increase your campaign’s effectiveness.
What you’ll need:
A tagging system adopted by your entire team to organize your testimonials. Create a list of testimonial attributes that you feel are a good way to organize your testimonials. These can be based on content, product or service described, or questions answered – the possibilities are endless. Whichever categories you adopt will help you strategically target the right audience.
Promote on Social Media:
The more places potential customers can find these testimonials, the more likely they are to be influenced and persuaded by your company. Using social media marketing can increase your brand recognition, brand loyalty, and better your search engine rankings. Post your collected testimonials on your established social media sites to increase your reach.
What you’ll need:
An established social media page and a social media strategy. Instead of just posting these testimonials at random times onto your social media pages, build your following and use them for engagement. Find the best times to post, the most receptive content, and a way to create a conversation around the testimonials you show. Also, if there’s a way to simply place your testimonial feed on your social media site, like Boast’s Facebook integration for example, this is a smart practice to increase testimonial views and engagement.
Integrate with Google Analytics:
Integrate your collected testimonials on your Google Analytics page to track traffic and interactions. Use the data collected as a part of your weekly or monthly campaign standard and this will keep you on track throughout your campaign.
What you’ll need:
- A Google Analytics account attached to your website to track traffic.
- Your testimonials embedded on your site.
- An understanding on how to interpret and use various stats surrounding testimonial traffic including views and clicks.
- A plan on how to use these statistics to optimize your testimonial reach – play around with what works and what doesn’t by tracking traffic.
Download Testimonial Videos & Photos:
If you’ve collected video and photos as a part of your testimonial collection form, there is opportunity to use those in other ways. This content can be used in newsletters, customer spotlights, maybe even an advertisement for your brand. As long as you have the necessary agreement in place, the marketing possibilities are endless.
Chances are, the service you’re using to collect testimonials allows you to collect customer information as well. Why not use that to your advantage? Integrating your testimonials with an email service, like Mailchimp for example, allows you continue the conversation with your loyal customers and send them exclusive content. This will help you strengthen customer relationships by delighting them with meaningful content, exclusive deals, and company updates. You can also send a sample of your collected testimonials out to customers in a newsletter format.
What you’ll need:
- An e-mail marketing service – Mailchimp, Constant Contact, DotMailer.
- Established customer list to target – Import existing contacts and collect new contacts from your testimonial submission form.
- A strategy on how to implement the testimonials into your monthly, weekly, or even daily marketing emails.
Testimonials are a great tool to collect meaningful content from your customers. You may uncover information that you were unaware of along the way. Some of your collected testimonials can be treated as a pre-survey to a future customer spotlight or case study. Once you have a basic understanding of your customers positive experience, why not dig deeper? Another wonderful brand enforcer is showing a full story about others who had results and what those results were. Customer spotlights or case studies are a great way to use your collected testimonials to their full potential.
What you’ll need:
- A customer who is willing to elaborate on their story. (Chances are if they’ve already taken the time to submit a testimonial they are a great candidate for a customer spotlight!)
- A list of questions.
- Pick your content strategy – Documentary-style video, Infographic, Case study, etc.
- Pick a way to share the content – Company website, on a company blog, on social media sites, or in a newsletter.
And there you have it!
You have created a well-oiled testimonial machine equipped to increase conversions and customer engagement. Now sit back, relax, and watch as all of your hard work pays off.
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