With so much information just a click away, it makes sense that most people research products or services before making an important purchase.
Testimonials and case studies can help influence potential leads and customers.
They provide an effective form of social proof that increases trust. They can also help motivate current customers and clients to continue to do business with your company. While also convincing them to potentially try new products or services.
In this guide, you’ll learn how testimonial marketing works and why you should add it to your content strategy. Also, how to use customer testimonials and case studies to increase trust in your business.
What is testimonial marketing?
Testimonial marketing involves the use of testimonials and case studies in marketing efforts such as
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Website content
According to the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2023, 98% of consumers used the internet to research local businesses in 2022. This is an increase from 90% in 2019.
Using testimonials in marketing can help your business stand out.
A testimonial differs slightly from a general review someone leaves about your business. It goes a step further, giving the client the opportunity to gather their thoughts and write or say them strategically. That way, they can highlight how your product or service alleviated their specific pain point.
Sometimes, reviews can be a great starting point from which to gather a testimonial.
For example, say someone leaves you a positive Instagram comment. Your brand might reach out to the commenter to ask them to write or film a more comprehensive testimonial.
A case study goes a step further. Case studies offer a more comprehensive look at how your product or service solved a problem.
Case studies are instrumental marketing tools for business-to-business (B2B) brands. They show how a B2B service or product addressed a business pain point.
Case studies typically include:
- A problem
- How a product or service provided a solution to that problem
- Results, including quantifiable numbers that demonstrate the impact
Business-to-consumer (B2C) brands can also use case studies. However, they’ll typically focus on the impact a brand has on larger groups of consumers.
A testimonial features a single consumer or brand representative experience.
You can use both testimonials and case studies in your marketing efforts. Whether you’re a B2B brand or a B2C business, these marketing tools provide social proof to prospective leads and customers.
Why use testimonials in marketing?
Testimonials in marketing are powerful because psychology research shows us social proof works.
A study in “Frontiers in Psychology” found when people have no clear prior preference, social proof provides a “nudge” in a particular direction. Social proof works in situations where people are indifferent, or when there’s a choice conflict.
For many businesses and industries, customers make multiple Touchpoints with a brand before they make a decision. This is especially true in the B2B space, where price tags may be higher, and the product/service can impact hundreds or even thousands of people.
A 2021 LinkedIn report stated sales generally require six to nine Touchpoints prior to conversion.
Testimonials and case studies can facilitate that social proof nudge. They’re one way to move prospective buyers along the touchpoint journey toward making a decision to purchase.
How do you use testimonials in marketing?
To effectively use testimonials and case studies in marketing, you first need to gather high-quality content that has the potential to impact leads and customers. A generic “This product is great!” testimonial isn’t going to cut it.
Testimonials and case studies should be:
- Specific: How did this product or service solve this unique client’s specific pain point?
- Illustrative/tell a story: The testimonial or case study should present a narrative that’s easy to understand and follow along with.
- Impactful: What quantifiable, real results did the client achieve by using the product or service?
To collect better testimonials and create meaningful case studies, use these tips:
1. Pay attention to your customers
Listen to what your current clients are saying. Team members who directly interact with your clients, like salespeople and customer support members, can help you identify clients to provide testimonials.
Look at what customers are saying about your brand on social media. Both on your business pages and around the internet. What are customers writing on review sites?
Once you’ve identified brand advocates, you can reach out to them personally to ask if they’d like to provide you with a testimonial.
The 2023 BrightLocal survey found that 80% of consumers received requests from local businesses to leave a review in 2022. 65% did leave reviews in response to business requests.
Consumers are often willing to expand on their thoughts about a business. It’s up to the business to be proactive in contacting customers.
2. Make it easy to contribute
Once you’ve identified customers who can provide good testimonials, you can ask them to contribute.
Make it easy for them by following these steps.
- Explain why you’re asking. Maybe it’s because the user wrote a nice comment on your Facebook page. Or, you’ve worked with a client for a while, and they consistently state how happy they are with your work. Show gratitude for their praise, then ask if they’d be willing to provide you with a testimonial.
- Provide guidelines. Like we covered in our post on how to obtain powerful testimonials, the best testimonials are specific. They explain how you solved a problem and provide details on the impact you made. They’re written from the customer’s point-of-view, but specificity and details can result in a better testimonial. If you’re looking for information for a case study or testimonial, we’ve created a handy case study template for brands.
- Show what’s in it for them. There are little ways you can reward the testimonial provider that can make it worth their while. For example, you can offer to tag an individual on social media when you post it. Alternatively, link to your client’s website when you add their testimonial to your own website. Ask the provider what type of credit they’d prefer. They might even want to share their testimonial for your brand with their own followers.
Sometimes, an individual or company representative may hesitate to provide a testimonial. They might feel they’re not a good-enough writer, or sitting down to write one seems too time-consuming. In those cases, you could offer to interview the client and prepare a rough draft version they can edit and approve.
This tactic can be especially helpful for case studies, which come from the brand’s point of view. Case studies can feature quotes and testimonials, which you can pull from interviews with brand representatives.
3. Promote testimonials to current and prospective customers
Once you have client-approved testimonials, you can promote them in relevant channels.
The following are some marketing tools where testimonials or links to case studies make sense.
- Website: Create a website tab for testimonials and/or case studies.
- Product/service pages: Add testimonial quotes or link to case studies on product and service pages on your website.
- Press releases: You can pull testimonial quotes and insert them into relevant press releases.
- Email marketing: Add testimonials to your emails. You can do this when promoting a specific product, welcoming new customers, or trying to win back customers who have dropped off.
- Sales decks: When you’re making a presentation to win new clients, you can add testimonials and case studies to the presentation.
- Social media: Pull quotes from testimonials or stats from case studies, and turn them into shareable graphics. Post on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
- Print marketing materials: You can also use testimonials in print collateral like a label, postcard or mailer, menu, flyer, or guide. You could also add QR codes on physical marketing materials that take users to your web page collection of testimonials or case studies.
- Videos: You can weave testimonials and case study quotes into a video. Or, if you’ve filmed client testimonials, those can be used as standalone videos or as part of larger brand-focused videos.
- Ebooks: You can add pull quotes to make your ebook content more visually appealing. Alternatively, create a case studies chapter that shows your product or service in action.
- Email signatures: You can add a link to your testimonials or case studies webpage in an email signature. This is especially helpful for salespeople who are prospecting for clients.
Wherever you plan to use client testimonials, it’s always a good idea to ask for permission first. Touch base with someone if you want to feature their testimonial or quote in your marketing materials.
That ensures you don’t surprise them or turn them off of your brand. Asking permission also helps you protect your content marketing efforts. If you fail to ask permission, a customer may get angry and remove their original positive review. Or, they might ask your company to stop featuring them. That could result in headaches for your marketing team when they have to edit or redo content.
Power up your content strategy with testimonials and case studies
Testimonials and case studies are particularly strong forms of content marketing. Simply because the information comes directly from happy customers.
This form of social proof can motivate leads and customers to:
- Trust more in your business
- Try new products and services
- Choose your business when they’re indifferent or unsure about which provider to choose
You can repurpose testimonials and case studies through a variety of digital and print marketing tools.
To get assistance with gathering testimonials and case studies, and to get help with content strategy, contact ClearVoice for a free content strategy session.