Whether you are established in your field of business or are looking to grow your reputation, obtaining testimonials, case studies and reviews can be an excellent way of developing a trusted brand and helping you stand out from the competition.
Why are testimonials and case studies important?
One word: trust. It is not enough for brands to say that that their services are ‘effective’ or that their products are ‘high quality’. They need to demonstrate what they preach with reliable feedback from customers.
Both consumer and B2B customers are more likely to work with your organisation or make a purchase decision if they have trust in your service, and testimonials, case studies and reviews can be a great way to demonstrate this trust.
When is it appropriate to ask for a testimonial?
Think about the journey of your existing customers and where you have really made an impact. This could be on completion of a successful project, where you have exceeded expectations or delivered a product on time. It is these touchpoints where it would be most appropriate to ask for a testimonial, case study or review.
As an example, Amazon will send you an e-mail once your product has been delivered, as they understand this is a key point where you are most likely to have something good to say about the service.
At Genesis, we seek testimonials once we have achieved a return on investment for our clients, such as achieving significant media coverage or driving sales and outcomes through digital advertising.
What format does a testimonial need to be?
The wonderful thing about obtaining a good testimonial is that it can be easily adapted to suit different marketing channels. Before asking your client, think about how you would like to use it and how it can be communicated through your PR and marketing.
- A video of a customer talking openly about your product or service
- Can be uploaded to YouTube and your website, shared on social media platforms organically and within digital advertising campaigns
Written testimonials and case studies
- A longer case study that assesses the impact of your product / service on their life or an organisational benefit
- Can be useful for new business proposals, client meetings, conferences, award entries, placed on your website and within the media
- Can be an added to press releases and editorials
- A short quote from a customer about your product
- Can be useful for creating impactful social media graphics, digital advertising, website copy and for press releases
- A written review on Google or platform related to your business sector
- Useful for all businesses with an online presence and can improve website SEO performance
Should I offer incentives?
Some brands use incentives such as competitions or discounts to encourage consumers to fill in a survey or leave a review, but this could also lead to biased reviews as the individual could be more likely to post a positive review if incentivised.
My view is that if a client is that impressed with your product or service, they shouldn’t need an incentive to leave a testimonial.
In a B2B scenario, by sharing their review and story, you are also promoting their brand within your communications – meaning they can benefit equally from the publicity and recognition.
How to deal with negative reviews
With the growing influence of social media and Google reviews, it is not uncommon for brands to find themselves come up against negative comments and reviews.
When this happens, it is important to be responsive. An ideal response time to any negative review is often 12-24 hours, or in certain situations it needs to be much quicker, but it is important that you take time to reflect on any comments and prepare a response that is empathetic, factual and honest.
An open public response is usually the best approach but be cautious not to fight fire with fire in public, even if the customer is factually incorrect. In a comment, invite them to get in touch (either in writing or over the phone), listen and see how you can resolve the issue.
Once the issue has been resolved, you could ask the customer to remove the negative review, or you could add an additional comment on the review thanking them for getting in touch and resolving the issue.
Remember, do not be shy to ask your customers for testimonials. A trusted brand is built on customer feedback and can help your organisation stand out from competitors!