Unless you’re in an extremely niche market, then business is becoming increasingly competitive. Potential customers are looking for brands and products that really stand out from the rest of the pack. That means that your marketing teams need to be coming up with new ideas or using older ones to their optimum level to improve your brand’s social currency.
People have a tendency to trust the words of an employee of a brand less than those of their peers. After all, the employee is getting paid to say those positive things. In fact, 88% of consumers will trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation from friends or family. That means that good online testimonials can be a major business driver.
So, you can see the value of using testimonial advertising as a major part of your marketing tactics. Just what is testimonial advertising and what benefits does it offer your organization. How do you use it efficiently to improve your reach, awareness, and sales rates? Read on to find how testimonials can help you with anything from promoting your coaching services to writing a solar panel sales pitch.
What is testimonial advertising?
Simply put, testimonial advertising is using the words of your existing customers as part of your marketing efforts. As has been mentioned already, potential customers tend to trust reviews and recommendations from previous or existing customers so this is something you should focus on and use to your organization’s advantage. There are a number of Customer feedback tools available to help you generate these reviews.
For example, say you are marketing a VoIP service. While a potential customer may read your blurb, they are more likely to pay attention to your marketing if it contains reviews or quotes from real customers. Testimonial advertising has a more authentic feel to it than anything your professional marketers could write, making it a great way to connect with new customers.
Testimonial ads can take many different forms. How your marketing teams use customer feedback and recommendations can depend on the type of product you are marketing and what form the campaign takes. Some of those testimonial types you could consider using includes:
- Images of reviews taken from your own site or 3rd party sites such as Amazon or Google.
- UGC (user-generated content) from any platform such as Instagram.
- Videos posted by customers on social media platforms such as Facebook.
- Positive discussions on forums or sites such as Quora.
Why are testimonial ads effective?
It all comes down to one word; trust. You want to build relationships with customers and the foundation of those relationships is that all-important trust. But it can be difficult to establish that trust and to then maintain it. With 88% of shoppers ready to trust what your previous customers say, testimonial advertising can suddenly become very important. It’s important to format your questions so as to get quality answers for feedback and testimonials.
When your marketing team extols the virtues of a cloud hosted PBX system, they may be being 100% honest but the perspective of customers is that your staff are paid to say those positive things. When the potential customers read what previous customers have thought, they will trust those words more and you can start building that relationship.
Video versus static testimonial advertising
There are two primary types of testimonial advertising. Which you choose, and where you use it, will depend on a number of factors such as the product you are promoting and the platforms you choose to promote that product on.
- Static ads: with this type of testimonial advertising, you are only using text and an image (or images). The image may be chosen by you or it may be part of the original testimonial from the customer. For example, a customer may have talked about their preferred client portal solutions. They may not have included an image of their choice so you could add one later.
- Video ads: These can be a great option as they add an extra layer of realism and are very hard to fake. The video may be of them using the product and showing what they love about it or it may be simply them talking about the product, the benefits they gained from it or the problems the product solved for them.
1. Static testimonial ads
These tend to be the most popular because they are quick and easy to produce while still being effective. All you need to produce one is a quote from the (happy) customer – though it is advisable to keep it fairly short; perhaps between 30 and 50 words. Add their name to the post and, as mentioned, a photo either from them or from yourself.
Static ads can be posted on any platform you use or you can use your most popular platform as a base and cross-post from there. The downside of using static testimonial ads is that their credibility can sometimes be questioned. After all, most people will just see something that Bob from Newark says, so how do they know that Bob is a real person?
2. Video testimonial ads
Video testimonials offer you a far higher level of credibility as they are more difficult to ‘fake’. There is an authenticity to video testimonial advertising that is lacking in static ads. When someone is talking directly to the camera, consumers can not only listen to what they say; they can also observe facial expressions and body language during the video too.
The other big advantage with video testimonials is that they can offer more information, even in a short video, than any static ad could ever achieve. For example, in a one-minute speech, the speaker could say anywhere from 120 to 200 words. Given we recommended a maximum of 50 words in a static ad, you can immediately see that videos offer far more scope.
Challenges of video testimonial advertising
Of course, video testimonials offer more challenges than a static ad. With the latter, all you need is a suitable quote from a satisfied customer (which may be as simple as a screenshot from a review site and an accompanying photo).
There are perhaps two major challenges when it comes to businesses adopting more video testimonial advertising. The first is cost (if produced in house) and the second is the logistics and time. If you are a small business, then you can consider purely user-generated content (with perhaps a few post-production tweaks) but larger organizations may want to go a more professional looking route.
However, when you see the many videos produced by ‘ordinary’ people online, you realize that many of them look great thanks to the budget or free filmmaking software available today. You only need to spend some time on TikTok to see the wide range of both marketing and fun videos being produced.
Even with the best looking customer-made video, you will likely want to add some finishing touches to it. After all, while the customer message is what is important, there are other considerations to take into account. And if you are asking customers to make video testimonials for you, you could provide a template much as you might use a digital agency proposal template within your business operations.
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Some of the things you may want to add in a post-production phase includes:
- Adding branding elements including logo and colors to the finished video so it is immediately identified with your business.
- The customer’s name (and title and company if you operate in the B2B market),
- Transcribing the speech in the video (which can help your SEO efforts) or using subtitles to add extra information.
- Background music (this should be thought out carefully and should complement the video so Norwegian Black Metal is probably not a good idea).
- Adding in extra information using slides, infographics, or similar.
So, as you can see, while more complicated, video testimonials can be far more effective than their static counterparts. And while many organizations may be worried about the costs of video testimonials, one study showed that 72% of marketerssaw ROIs of anywhere from 50-500% when using video testimonials as a marketing tool, and that also included improvements to their conversion rates.
There is no argument that customer reviews are credible and can help drive better lead generation and conversion rates. While your marketing team may write great copy and flawless product descriptions, having someone who has actually bought and used (and is satisfied with) your products say how happy they are can be a real gamechanger.
You have a lot of choice when it comes to sourcing testimonials; from casual discussions on Facebook to reviews left on independent third party sites. It’s how you use them that is the important factor. From a simple static testimonial used as a banner ad to a well-produced video that imparts information that a potential customer finds useful.
With increasing competition in the marketplace, marketers have to be increasingly more creative and often have to think about the box. Customer testimonials offer a rich source of material that praises your product or brand and that your marketing teams can use in various ways to get your message to your target demographics. We hope that this guide will help you to get more customer testimonials for your product or business.