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When you have a problem or a need, and you find a brand with the potential to solve your problem or fill that need, what do you find most valuable in the decision-making process?

If testimonials are near the top of your list, then you understand, firsthand, just how crucial they are to a brand’s sales.

Trust is an integral component in the building of a brand, and when a brand is unknown, there’s nowhere from which to draw that trust…except from the word of others.

Testimonials, in many ways, are even more valuable than an expertly crafted marketing campaign.

So how are you using these customer-attracting, sales-boosting gems? Read on to discover how you can put them to work, to build a brand.

Testimonials, and how they Work to Build a Brand

build-a-brandWe talk a lot here at How to Build a Brand about the importance of establishing trust. We’ve discussed demonstrating expertise and keeping promises…and there’s more. If you have what your ideal customers want, they’re going to look for reasons to trust your brand—and those reasons DO NOT need to come from friends and family. They can come from people willing to stick their necks out and tout your brand.

Over the years, I have compiled a list of tips for getting the types of testimonials that will not only foster trust in your brand, but that will convert strangers to friends, friends to customers, and customers to lifelong, loyal clients.

And here are those tips:

  • Ask and you shall receive. Very few people are going to take the time give your brand positive feedback unless you ask for it. Dissatisfied customers love to vent; however, satisfied customers rarely speak their opinions without being prompted.
  • Ask only your ideal customers for testimonials. When your target audience members read the testimonials on your website, social media pages, etc., they want to feel a connection with the people who’ve written those reviews. They want to know that they will benefit in the same ways…because they have the same problems, needs and preferences. This doesn’t have to be blatant. Consumers are quite perceptive, and will sense when they’re reading testimonials applicable to their own lives…so for this reason, you can rest-assured that by choosing well, you will get the results you want.
  • Avoid significant editing. I once met a business owner who edited every testimonial she received so each one would “sound like her brand.” She had the best of intentions, but was inadvertently making those testimonials sound fabricated. When you allow each reviewer’s personality and writing style to shine through, you are preserving authenticity and building trust with real voices.
  • Mix up the media. Not every testimonial has to appear on the Testimonials page of your website. Ask your best, most satisfied customers to post a review on your Facebook page, participate at a video testimonial station after a seminar you’ve hosted, speak to the audience during a webinar or link to your website from a blog they’re writing. You can also repurpose testimonials, by printing them on brochures and sharing them on multiple social media pages.
  • Provide your testimonial writers with focus. People struggle with knowing what to write, and you can help them with that by suggesting they review a product, a service or any specific aspect of your business. This will keep each testimonial from sounding generic and similar to those written by others. It will also increase the chances that a new customer will find a testimonial that speaks directly to his or her immediate needs.
  • Encourage honesty. If a customer had doubts before buying into your brand, ask them to talk about those doubts in their testimonial. If they were ridiculed by their friends for choosing your brand, ask them to put that in there, too. Why? Because if they had those feelings and experiences, others are having them, and could benefit from knowing they’re not alone (and that life will be better with your brand, even after navigating a few bumps).

Social proof is the oldest, and most effective, trick in the marketing book. And it works because it’s not a trick at all. When you’re hungry and you pass a restaurant with an empty parking lot, you’re unlikely to stop. However, if the lot is full, you’ll wait in line for a seat. Why? Because social proof has shown you that it’s worth the money and the wait.

Make your brand worth the money—so worth the money that your ideal customers not only see the value, but are happy to pay you what you’re worth. And then ask for the testimonials that will bring in more of the same type of customers, who will give more testimonials and attract even more business for your brand.

Need help with testimonials? Or other types of social proof, branding or marketing? Then check out our B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, a full-day, fully immersive branding experience that will teach you how to make your brand more credible, visible and profitable.

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