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October 3rd, 2017

Draw a Crowd: Using Testimonials for Your Brand

We’ve all been there, to buy or not to buy. Staring at an online product or service, wondering should we go for it, or keep looking and gathering information in hopes of something better? Wouldn’t it be great if there was some way to get firsthand knowledge of the veracity of the product’s claims, or to understand better how the service really works? If only there was a recommendation to read, a way to gain critical knowledge on the points about which we’re unsure. A way to calm our fears about diving in sight unseen. We all want some proof that we’re making the right choices.

Consider the power of an excellent testimonial. It can overcome skepticism, substantiate claims, feel relatable, and endorse key benefits. At BOLTGROUP, we understand the value of testimonials to promote positive aspects of a brand, and we know how to acquire and deploy them. Acquisition of great reviews has to do with the way your brand is set up. It’s important that the value proposition for your brand is aligned with the needs of your customers, so the experiences they share are positive ones that you can promote. Are your purpose, pillars, personality, and position working for you or against you? If these are in line, your brand can build trust thorough an authentic voice that people can relate to and believe in.

Nielsen completed a global study in 2012 that looked at the metrics behind “truth in advertising.” It showed that 92% of people would trust a recommendation from someone they know—which isn’t too surprising–but it also showed that 70% would trust the opinions that were posted online from people they didn’t know. This important peer group–other consumers–helps guide us toward a decision in which we can be confident. These testimonials–opinions of unknown persons–posted online are highly effective, and when driven by a brand that’s built around a strong ecosystem, can be extremely positive.

Where do these testimonials come from?

My colleague wrote recently about how your brand is perceived in the marketplace, and how that perception is subsequently cultivated. If you can nurture a culture inside every employee that generates a desire to build the brand from the inside out, he or she will become a corporate and retail testimonial ambassador. Employees will work from every touchpoint of your brand to build a foundation on which affirmative experiences can grow.

Ask yourself these questions to potentially source additional testimonials:

  • Can you tie in to positive interactions that consumers or customers have experienced?
  • Can you build out a curated list of interactions from social media on your website to support the underpinnings of your brand?
  • Can you use video or images of testimonial authors to humanize the words on the page?

Codecademy.com has tapped into stories from consumers in a powerful way, creating a wall of interview-style exchanges with end users in which people explain how the service helped them in various ways. The exchanges are anchored with a short custom video that helps reinforce how quick and easy it is for people to take lessons and apply them to the real world. Scientific studies show that attaching imagery to a quote and name can increase viewer empathy, and provide a heightened viewer belief in the remark, further assuring readers.

FreeAgent.com ties in tweets on their homepage from users that are speaking to various features or benefits of their software package. On BOLTGROUP’s own website, we showcase a quote from our clients inside each of our case studies, which enhances the work we’re showcasing and brings to life the success we helped create.

How can you find out what makes you credible?

It’s rare, but not unheard of, that testimonials come in unsolicited. If you want more than a few, you’ll have to go in search of them. Asking the right questions from the start can help shorten the search. The devil is in the details, and whether you’re looking for a short quote or a long interview, getting concrete information on how you helped can go a long way to providing a persuasive roadmap to prospective customers:

  • Did the product have an impact on budgets?
  • How did the experience create change for the better?
  • Does the service save time and energy, and how much?
  • Is the story relatable and real, not cookie cutter?

Influencers and tastemakers can also be integral to your efforts. Trusted platforms, outlets, and sources that your audience is familiar with can provide invaluable recommendations for you. DiBruno Brothers, with multiple locations around Philadelphia, have collected quotes from Travel + Leisure, Serious Eats, and other heavy hitters from the food and travel scene that lend credence to their offerings.

PT Barnum was quoted with saying, “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.” By tapping into your crowd of satisfied customers, you can draw in an even bigger crowd.

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