What’s one thing you always do before making a purchase on, say, Amazon?
Many of us would read at least a few reviews – even for small items. Some people just look at star ratings, some read only the best reviews, and some read only the worst reviews. In the end, most of us seek social proof as an important part of our decision-making process.
The same is true for telecom marketing. Your buyers want to see social proof about your services and products. If there isn’t any available on your website, chances are they’re going to move on to the next option. We try to drive this point home to our clients every day, yet some still push back on adding testimonials to their marketing strategy. We’ve heard a few reasons for this resistance:
- “Testimonials aren’t necessary.”
- “We work with small companies. Testimonials aren’t valuable to them.”
- “Our competition might see the names of our clients and go after them!”
- “Can’t I just make my testimonials up?”
The fact is, the clients we’ve seen the most success with leverage effective testimonials and provide a good amount of social proof. Your buyers want to feel they can trust your company before they make a purchase. While any testimonial is better than no testimonial at all, there are a few keys to truly great ones.
What makes a testimonial effective?
People approach an unfamiliar business with a certain amount of skepticism. Your buyers want to feel reassured they’re making the right decision, especially in the telecom industry where pricing could be in the thousands. Effective testimonials are the five-star Amazon reviews of the telecom world and can set buyers’ minds at ease.
The best testimonials take the form of a mini case study. You can show the following to your customers as an example of what a solid testimonial looks like if they are wondering where to begin crafting one for your business:
“Before I worked with Company X, I was faced with [insert pain points here]. Company X went above and beyond, and [here’s where you describe the actions you took to solve their pain]. Because of what Company X did, these [dollars saved, time saved, number of locations connected, etc.] were the results.” – John Smith, CIO at Organization Z
To me, that is the perfect testimonial. You give the reader specific, relatable pain points, quickly demonstrate how your product or service solved them, and offer quantifiable results.
Nota bene: It’s important that a testimonial isn’t attributed to a job title or vague industry name. There’s much more value and trust in naming an individual.
How do you elicit testimonials from customers?
It can feel awkward to ask your cherished customers to provide testimonials – especially when you need the testimonial to really pop. But there are two ways you can go about soliciting your customers without it feeling forced:
Listen for positive feedback in customer conversation.
Whether you’re having a catch-up call, a strategy meeting, or just a casual discussion, any positive remark can set the stage for a testimonial. If your customer mentions something they appreciate about your business, put a mental pin in that comment and follow up with them later about using it.
This is an organic way to introduce the idea of that customer writing a more fleshed out testimonial for you since you’re using their own idea as the starting point.
Reach out to happy customers.
If you are comfortable going the more formal approach, reach out to happy customers to ask for testimonials and provide the example above. With that example as a template, a customer will be much more willing to fill in the blanks rather than wrap their minds around starting from scratch. You’ll have done a lot of the work for them.
How should you leverage testimonials?
The great thing about testimonials is that they don’t just live on your website. That’s an excellent starting point, and it’s important to make them easy to find on your site. But testimonials can be used in a variety of other ways:
- Social copy. Post a testimonial with a tagged attribution on Twitter or LinkedIn.
- An attractive image or graphic. People love visual content. Create eye-catching graphics with your best testimonials.
- A complete case study. Turn your testimonials into detailed, downloadable, shareable case studies. This will require a little more work, but the payoff is worth it.
- Email campaigns. Testimonials can be leveraged in sequences of emails (e.g. “Check out what this similar client had to say about our services!”).
Our most successful clients leverage effective testimonials and social proof in a variety of ways. When potential clients feel they can trust your brand, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
Need to create trust (and then some)?
Effective testimonials and creating trust through marketing is just a small part of what it takes to help your telecom, IT, or cloud company succeed. We can help you develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that incorporates those pieces and much more. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you get started!