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No matter where your customers are in your sales funnel, you need reliable tactics to guide them along to the next step. While expertly designed landing pages, well-written blog posts, and engaging social strategy can all drive conversions, sometimes your customers would rather hear about the benefits of your products and services from someone other than you. Find out why testimonials, reviews, and case studies are essential to your sales funnel, and learn how and when to use them to generate leads and drive sales.
Testimonials convey enthusiasm for and trust in your products and services, straight from your customers’ mouths or keyboards. Since they come from an unbiased third party, testimonials work well as less aggressive sales pitches, yet they still drive home key selling points. In fact, with an effectiveness rating of 89 percent, testimonials are some of the most impactful types of content marketing.
Testimonials come in all shapes and sizes, so choose examples that truly help you meet your sales objectives. For instance, a testimonial that’s short and sweet (such as, “I love this product!”) directly recommends your company’s offerings. Yet it doesn’t give potential customers much to go on during the decision phase.
Instead, ask your best customers for testimonials that provide much-needed details. Good examples concisely describe key benefits of your products, while the best testimonials address common pain points that your products resolve. Aim to use testimonials with as many specifics as possible, and seek out examples that touch on problems and solutions that you know are key issues for your customers.
While you can ask specific questions to guide testimonials in the right direction, be sure that the statements have an air of credibility. Consider including names, ages, and even photos to increase the credibility of each testimonial. Remember that customers can easily spot fake endorsements, and using them can seriously damage your brand’s trustworthiness.
These third-party statements work equally well on your website and your social channels. Marketing experts typically recommend adding a few of the most eye-catching testimonials to your homepage, where they’ll draw in potential customers at the top of your sales funnel. Consider creating a dedicated testimonials page with more examples, including a few that address each of your customers’ primary pain points. Customers in the middle of your sales funnel are more likely to seek out and act upon the latter type of testimonials, which are geared to drive decisions.
Give your most convincing testimonials a life outside of your website too. Post them on your social channels to increase awareness of your offerings and generate new leads. Like most social content, testimonials work best when accompanied by relevant images, logos, or even videos. Consider incentivizing your most dedicated customers to produce a short testimonial video so new prospects can truly hear it from someone else.
Image via Flickr by aniquenyc
Glowing reviews should be critical components of your sales strategy. After all, 90 percent of people read reviews before patronizing a business. Even if potential customers don’t know the reviewers, 88 percent of people trust the online reviews they read as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
Reviews take testimonials one step further by offering more in-depth discussions of specific uses and particular components of your products. Many also provide more details about the reviewers themselves, giving readers numerous chances to identify with the reviewer during the decision process.
If customers aren’t leaving organic reviews for your business via one of the main review portals, such as Google, Amazon, Yelp, or TripAdvisor, try providing an automated reminder. After all, over two-thirds of customers will leave a review if you just ask nicely.
You can also consider reaching out to industry influencers for an online review in exchange for a complimentary product or a nominal fee. Keep in mind, however, that influencers are required to disclose their relationship with your business. This isn’t something you’ll want to discourage, since it boosts the credibility of the review.
Customers typically read reviews when they’re ready to purchase, and many make decisions just moments after reading a handful of five-star reviews. That means you can easily guide customers through the final stage of the sales funnel if you ensure that they can easily find positive reviews online.
While reviews are often linked to the bottom of the sales funnel, they can also boost awareness at the top of the sales funnel. In fact, good reviews can do wonders for increasing visibility and boosting local SEO, as they can improve your search engine ranking. That means you’ll want to incorporate positive reviews into your strategy for several key parts of the sales funnel.
Case studies take reviews and testimonials even further, guiding readers through specific use cases and demonstrating the effectiveness of your products. They require more finesse and resources than reviews or testimonials, but case studies can pay off in a big way.
To find the best customer experience to feature in your case study, consider your target audience, the problems they want to solve, and the results they want to get from your product. You’ll get the most out of a case study if it details a customer experience that remains relevant for years to come.
Keep in mind that a well-written, credible case study that’s packed with plenty of figures and details can certainly resonate with your audience. However, an example that features a widely known brand or an easily identifiable personality may make an even bigger impact on your audience.
Case studies work best at the top of the sales funnel, as they’re closely linked with expanding awareness and educating potential customers. Use your best case studies to target potential customers seeking to learn how your company differs from competitors, assess your company’s value, and understand how you’ll help mitigate risk.
Whether you use just one or all three of these methods, don’t underestimate the power of case studies, reviews, and testimonials. Fail to use them in your sales strategy, and you could be leaving countless conversions on the table.