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July 14, 2022 (Updated: March 8, 2023)
Testimonials come straight from the customers you’ve served in the past and provide insight into the type of experience leads can expect when working with your brand. According to a Bright Local study, 77% of clients and customers read online reviews when searching for the right business partnerships, products, or services, proving that testimonials can convert. But if you’ve never used one before, you might wonder how to write a testimonial that makes your brand stand out. Today, we’re covering that and more with topics like:
One great thing about testimonials is that they’re not one-size-fits-all pieces of content. Not every testimonial you create looks exactly like the last or the next. That said, following a list of steps can help your team create its first testimonial to get comfortable with the process. Once you understand it, you can branch out, get more creative, and try new things. Follow these steps to draft your first testimonial:
Not every client you work with is the right subject for a testimonial, even though you deliver high-quality work for each one. Some clients, situations, and stories are more interesting than others. So finding the right subject helps you draw in more leads. To start, look at a list of your current and past clients and see who has the best stories to tell.
Even if you identify potential testimonial subjects, all of them may not want their company name or situation plastered across your content marketing materials. Reach out to your top testimonial contenders and ask if they’re willing to participate. You only need one client to agree but don’t worry if you get many positive responses. In that case, you can make multiple testimonials. Prioritize your best ones first and then work through the list to create more.
Related: Why Stories Are Important in Content Marketing
Image via Unsplash by @wocintechchat
Testimonials come from the client’s perspective, not the company’s. Even though you have the data and insights for your brand’s side of things, you need to get ideas and information right from the source. Conduct interviews with your testimonial clients to find out what their thoughts and feelings are about working with your company. Preparing a list of questions before the interview can help you get the right information for the testimonial. Here are some of the questions you might ask:
This is not an exhaustive list of questions, but open-ended prompts like these give clients the freedom to talk about their experiences. You don’t want short, factual answers you can find in your data, though you can include these results, as well. But the purpose of the testimonial is to gain insight into how your clients feel about working with your company.
The type of interview you do likely depends on the type of testimonial you want to produce. For example, if you’re making a video testimonial, it makes the most sense to do a video interview. You can use those recordings and edit the pieces together in a way that tells the full story. If you’re creating a text or visual testimonial, you may do your interview through video, on a phone call, in person, or by sending questions through email. Consider what works best for your team and what’s most accessible for your client and create your interview format from this input.
Why did the testimonial subject come to your company in the first place? What pain points did they need to address? It’s important to identify and define the client’s challenge at the beginning of the testimonial. Use this challenge as a thread to guide each section of the content.
Think of it as writing a fictional story. If there’s no challenge, no drama, and no tension, why are you telling the story at all? Highlighting the initial problem sets the stage for your client to be the hero of the story. Your brand, products, or services are the tools that helped them save the day.
Related: 5 Secrets To Discovering Customer Pain Points
Though similar, a testimonial is not simply an online review. Mary from North Dakota posting a Google review that says, “tried this and it works great,” isn’t the same thing as writing a testimonial for your content marketing. Testimonials are a little longer than a simple review, often two or three paragraphs. They go into more detail about why Mary from North Dakota tried your product or service and why she thought it worked great.
To do that, you have to explain the process that took the client from being stuck on a challenge to achieving success with your brand’s help. What strategies did you use? Why did you choose them? Were there any setbacks or needs to pivot during the process? Testimonials give leads and potential clients a look into what it’s like to work with your company. The process section is your best chance to let them experience that before signing on with your brand.
What made your client’s results bigger, better, or more effective than a competitor’s solution? Testimonials are another chance to show what makes your brand stand out from its competitors. After all, if there’s nothing special about the solution, why are you telling their story? If you don’t know what your competitors are doing, it’s going to be difficult to find ways to outshine them.
CopyPress has a solution for that, at least from a content marketing standpoint. With our free content analysis, you can compare your content with top competitors. This report will show you who’s performing better with search engines and driving the most organic traffic. You also get the rundown on what topics your competitors are ranking for, giving you valuable insight into any gaps where your content may be lacking. Investigating these gaps can also show you where you can focus your content strategies to increase leads. You might even find that testimonials can fill these gaps.
“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”
Director of SEO at Auto Revo
Related: How To Find Your Competitor’s Weakness
Testimonials aren’t just about the process and the results. They’re also about emotion and customer experience. Remember when we suggested using open-ended questions during your interview? This is to get the client talking about their experiences. Testimonials aren’t about the hard data—you can create an infographic or a case study just for data. In a testimonial, the content focuses on feelings and relationships. You want to let the client’s voice shine through and drive home what it’s like for them to work with your brand.
You’re not writing this testimonial just for fun—you’re creating it for marketing purposes. Think about what you want people to do after they read or watch the testimonial? This is where a call to action (CTA) is critical to motivating leads to take the next step in the buyers’ journey with your company. Should they visit a different landing page for more information? Should they schedule a time to meet with your team? Is it smart for them to download an eBook or sign up for a newsletter?
Guiding leads on what to do next helps move them through the marketing funnel. This way, leads progress from engaging with your content to becoming paying customers. Then, they’ll become loyal, testimonial-worthy clients themselves.
While a list of steps to follow is great, there are more things to consider when creating a testimonial than just following the bouncing ball. Use these tips to help create testimonials your leads actually want to read:
The goal of a testimonial is to show people what your business looks like from the customer’s perspective. Even though your team is conducting the interview, writing, and polishing the testimonial for publication, remember to focus on the speaker. You don’t want to talk too much about your brand and how great it is. You want the audience to learn about the relationship you forge with clients and how your business works with customers to ensure satisfaction.
Collaboration and communication are a big deal, especially for B2B companies and agencies. When you can stress things like open communication and collaboration in a testimonial, you’re not just talking about the results or the step-by-step process of what you do. You’re also showing audiences an inside look at what it’s like to work with your company. Sometimes those qualities hold more weight when choosing a partner in a competitive industry.
As we said, having the formula to get you started on your first testimonial is helpful. Observation and imitation can be some of the best ways to learn and get your hands wet with new projects. But one of the main goals of a testimonial in content marketing is to show the unique experiences of your clients. You won’t get that if you use the same format every time.
Don’t just copy and paste your first testimonial and change some of the key identifiers. Each one has its own story to tell. Make sure each unique customer story shines through in the format and the writing. It may take you some time to discover how to deviate away from your original template. That’s okay. Just make a conscious effort to find ways to make each one stand on its own.
Many of your clients may not understand what goes into making a testimonial. If they’ve never given one before, they might be hesitant to agree if they don’t understand the process. You can share this information voluntarily when you ask for their participation. You can also answer any questions they may have. Clients may wonder why you’re developing a testimonial or how it reflects on their own brand. They may also wonder how extensive or time-consuming it is.
Be honest about your timeline and your expectations for the project. It’s also a good idea to remind them that they are the main focus of your testimonial story. Reiterating the importance of their participation could help you convince them to be part of the project.
Talking with clients regularly is a great way to find the right subjects for your testimonials. When you check in with them and ask for feedback, you can identify those great stories that point to your company’s success. Stories like these also make excellent material for future testimonials.
When you engage in this behavior regularly, it makes the research process less of a hassle when it’s time to sit down and write your content. Think about keeping a shortlist of client experiences so you can communicate with them when you plan new testimonials. Having communication as your top priority saves time and makes it easier to start new testimonials as you plan them.
While your main goal is to get the company’s reactions and experience down on paper, don’t forget the basic needs necessary to flesh out your testimonial. Make sure you’ve got the company’s name and logo. Also, ask how to spell your contact’s name and what their title is. These are all things that seem obvious, but you don’t want to forget them and have to backtrack later when it’s time to write.
Through your research, data, and interviews, you’re likely going to have more information than you need to develop your testimonial. Remember that testimonials are about two to three paragraphs long. You have enough room to include just the most important details. Zero in on those and cut the rest. You can keep all that information for later. You may choose to develop a longer project with the same client, such as a case study.
Of course, an effective testimonial comes from the customer experience. It sounds simple, and providing great customer service is probably something you already strive to do anyway. But what’s going to make people want to share their experiences working with your company? The answer is personalized attention or custom solutions that help your customers solve problems. The more memorable a customer’s experience is, the better relationship they form with your company. The better relationship they have, the more they’ll want to work with you and tell others about the quality of your company’s products or services.
Testimonials provide valuable content that shows target markets why your company is the best at what it does. Self-promotion and brand development is sometimes not enough to paint the full picture of how your business serves its customers. Using testimonials as part of your content marketing strategy can be the nudge leads need to convert to paying customers.
It’s like those “As Seen on TV” commercials. The spokesperson for the company touts all a product’s great features. But when you get the product home, it doesn’t even do half of what’s promised. That’s why people trust what real clients and other consumers have to say about a brand over its own marketing department. According to another study from Bright Local, 79% of shoppers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from people they know. Here are some other ways testimonials can take your content marketing to the next level:
Most companies have two goals in mind when creating testimonials: improving brand reputation and increasing conversions and sales. But you’re not going to reach either of those goals without a solid marketing plan. Content marketing, which often includes testimonials, isn’t just about creating pieces for fun. You have to understand the purpose of the articles and blog posts you write. What’s it going to do for your brand? And more importantly, how is it going to help you reach these key goals?
After you’ve written your testimonial, where are you going to put it? Is it going on your website? Is it part of a webinar you’re hosting? And what about putting it in that place is going to help you reach your goals? For example, you may choose to create a social media graphic with a great quote from your testimonial. Then, you can share it on each platform your company is part of with links to your website for full content access.
Using your testimonials through social media shares and website content can work extremely well for building engagement and brand recognition. By linking back to a landing page with the full testimonial and a compelling CTA, you can then guide visitors to other areas of your site. Encouraging them to make a conversion via compelling testimonials slides them further down the sales funnel.
You can also incorporate testimonials into other forms of content marketing, like eBooks or blog posts. Whether you’re adding a testimonial to your content, or developing more pieces to supplement the authentic words of your clients, CopyPress can help. Schedule your free strategy call with our team to learn how you can use testimonials and other content as your secret weapons for increasing engagement, conversions, and sales.
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