There’s a lot of it (of the digital variety) that ecommerce marketers have to claw their way past.
At least that’s how it seems to many.
Ecommerce brands scramble to fight through the digital noise in order to have half a shot at being recognized, let alone heard.
There are all sorts of social media posts, email blasts, click-baitey blog posts, sponsored content, and more that clutter your customers’ world.
But there’s one effective way to blast through that wall of digital distraction – something that has proven effective since the days before digital marketing was even a serious thought.
And that’s the time-tested, time-honored tradition of customer testimonials.
Here’s a look at why customer testimonials are still so effective, what they mean for your company’s brand, and how to obtain them.
At the end of the day, your customers want to know that they’re making the right choice when they spend their money on your company’s products and services.
You can hit consumers over the head with all of the hilarious, sophisticated, memorable, viral advertising you wish, but at the end of the day, advertising tells a one-sided story.
Advertising allows you to convince consumers of how they should perceive your products or services. Customer testimonials are proof of how consumers honestly feel about your products and services.
If advertising is a one-sided story, then customer testimonials offer the other side of the story, and this is what a potential customer is looking for.
They want to know that others have taken a leap of faith in purchasing from your company and have come away pleased with their transaction. They also want to know if a consumer came away displeased from doing business with you, and they want to know exactly why.
While your marketing team might hope that prospective customers will blindly invest in your offerings based upon brand perception, most shoppers are too sophisticated for this, especially in the digital age.
Today’s digital-savvy shopper wants to know exactly what they’re buying into, and they’ve grown accustomed to being able to find the testimonials they need in order to make informed buying decisions.
Beyond the fact that shoppers crave learning what previous buyers think of a product (or a service), customer testimonials work for you because they offer you a free source of something (or rather, a phrase) that’s been thrown around in the digital space over the past five years:
Social proof essentially means that others are in agreement with the quality of an entity, usually website content of some sort. You’ve seen examples of social proof. When you re-tweet, like, plus, share, etc., then you are participating in the practice of social proof.
Customer testimonials offer the same thing.
Amazon is legendary for using customer testimonials as social proof, and a gateway for increasing their sales.
When a shopper clicks the link that leads them to a product sales page, they’ll immediately see an overall star rating for the product. This rating is based upon an overall average of stars that are assigned to a product.
If the shopper wishes, they can click on each star tier (from one to five) and learn how many people assigned each star tier to the product. Then, the shopper can read customer testimonials left behind for each star tier.
If they’re particularly motivated, then they’ll see that previous shoppers can comment on each customer testimonial left behind. Sometimes the comments are in agreement with the original testimonial, and sometimes the comments disagree.
But there’s no mistaking that the clean, efficient platform that Amazon provides shoppers in order to leave testimonials is social proof on overdrive, and shoppers love this!
This also lets product manufacturers (and Amazon) know in real time how consumers feel, if there are any product changes that need to be addressed, if there’s a public relations disaster brewing, or if the manufacturer should stay the course as they are.
There’s quite a few simple ways to obtain the revenue-generating gold that you’ll need to create social proof for your brand.
Start out by asking for testimonials during the shopper’s check-out process. At the bottom of the sales confirmation page, include a blurb asking the shopper to leave a testimonial on a dedicated section of your company’s website.
Does your marketing team send out emails? Why not include a line or two asking for testimonials. Email subscribers can either leave their testimony on your website, or they can click reply on their email and type in a testimony that will be sent directly to your sales and marketing manager (for example).
And the most common way that marketers obtain testimonials is in the comments section at the bottom of a blog post. In fact, blog post subscribers enjoy being heard, and when they leave a comment, this lets your content team learn how the content is being digested and received by the masses.
As Missy Ward states in the May 2015 issue of Feed Front Magazine:
With the frenetic pace of marketing today, it’s critical that we create personal stories to make our customers (and our prospective customers) pause.
Asking previous customers to share their experience with you (and the general public) is an organic, time-tested method of breaking through the digital marketing noise.