Testimonials are an often overlooked, yet effective marketing tool. They can be helpful to gain new customers and keep potential return customers.
Think of your own experience making purchasing decisions. Do you go to a restaurant based upon a recommendation from family or friends? Before making major purchases, do you research and read reviews from people who have experience with the product or service?
Testimonials work because they aren’t strong sales pitches and they come across in an unbiased voice and establish trust. You’re using real people to show success in your product or service. In the end, your testimonials will be there to convert more prospects into customers as long as you use them correctly.
If you’re selling a product or service on your website, customer testimonials can be a key content element because they are unbiased comments that prompt visitors to buy. By using testimonials in text, audio or video formats on your site, you introduce content that will promote your product in convincing fashion.
Here are some tips for effectively using testimonials to convert more leads on your website:
1. Be Selective
A key to using testimonials is to choose the ones that work best. Instead of direct recommendations of your product or service (“I think it is great!”) – find testimonials that provide details that explain how it satisfies a consumer need or tackles a pain point. Testimonials that provide specific product benefits will induce sales.
2. Show Face
Make your testimonials eye-catching by adding an image next to your customer’s statement. Research has shown that adding a picture increases your click-through-rate by a significant amount.
Prospects like to put a face to a name. It helps them feel more secure and confident in what you’re claiming. It shows that the testimonial is coming from a real person. Adding an image is a simple addition that will increase your trust factor.
3. Show Them Everywhere
Once you get great testimonials for your website, it’s important to show them off.
Make sure to add them across your website wherever appropriate. Add them to your homepage, contact page, case studies page or even create a dedicated testimonials page. Use in ads, on social media and other materials.
You might try a web application that allows you to set up a testimonial page or a plugin that will allow you to post different testimonials on each page of your site. There are a number of possibilities, so determine what works best and incorporate testimonials all over your site.
4. Remember Your Buyer Personas
When gathering your testimonials it’s important to make sure you’re hitting all the pain points of every one of your buyer personas. Many of your prospects are looking to see testimonials that they can relate to; stories that show others like them being successful.
Be sure to feature customers from all the demographics and buyer personas that you’re trying to attract. Focusing on just one in your testimonials will limit your reach and value.
5. Never Fake It
The most important rule in sharing testimonials is to use real testimonials from real customers. It’s not worth the risk to fake anything on your site, especially testimonials.
Testimonials are there to provide credibility and establish trust. If you’re faking them, how are your prospects supposed to build a healthy relationship with your company? Faking testimonials can put your reputation on the line and even if you do win some business, your customers are likely to go in with unrealistic expectations.
6. Get Video
Creating a video testimonial isn’t a must, but it’s something you definitely should consider. Seeing and hearing a customer talk about your product or service resonates more than just reading about it.
Get some of your more personable customers to create a short 30 second to 1 minute video testimonial sharing how your company has helped them. Your prospects will be able to really see the appreciation and emotion from your current customers.
Reach out to your current customers who you know are happy with your company and ask them to share their success story. By showcasing these powerful feelings and stories about your product or services, you’re creating another tool to get prospects to trust your brand and commit to it.
Would you be surprised to know that 99 percent of people check their email every day?
With a statistic like that,
it’s not hard to see why email marketing is a go-to for marketing campaigns.
What’s confusing, though, is that sometimes, email marketing ROI can look a
An unsuccessful email campaign
in a world where opening emails is such a big part of people’s lives can be
confusing, and brings up an important question:
Where is the gap between consumers checking their email
constantly, but not clicking on your brand’s message?
As you consider the value of email marketing, consider this — 73
percent of millennials prefer email communication when receiving marketing
material. Ultimately, the problem may not be the marketing channel,
but the message delivery. So, is email marketing dead? Or, is there
something that can be done to enhance the email marketing experience — for
consumers and marketers?
A marketing strategy makeover
might be necessary for a struggling brand. Email marketing as a marketing tool
isn’t dead. But some email marketing practices are, such as impersonal email
address lines, violating General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), ignoring
user experience, and not tracking metrics.
If your brand’s email marketing
strategy is currently struggling with bringing in high ROI, it could be that
your strategy hasn’t been improved to reflect how email currently works.
Ultimately, if you’re not
catering to your audiences, or if you’re not using metrics to appropriately
measure and improve your email campaigns, you’re likely missing out on ROI —
not because email marketing is dead, but because your strategy is outdated.
To improve your email marketing
ROI in 2020, here’s what to retire:
1. Impersonal subject lines
Email marketing starts before
readers even open the email. Subject lines can make or break open-rate, a
metric that tracks how many subscribers open your emails.
messages makes readers feel connected to what’s being sold. Generally, making a
subject line personal can be as easy as noting the holiday season or asking a
question to get readers thinking.
Think about what in your email
is the “must-know” takeaway, and create a short subject line that
taps into emotions to get subscribers clicking.
2. Ignoring GDPR standards
GDPR means making sure the reader gives clear, unambiguous
permission to receive marketing emails. Full compliance with GDPR ensures
that sending marketing emails is legal.
GDPR was created so consumers
know their data is protected and being used by brands they have trusted with
personal information. They opt-in to emails they’d like to receive from brands
they’re interested in.
This is good news for marketers
because it means your email campaigns will only be sent to users who are
genuinely interested in your marketing messages. It also ensures your email
marketing messages are compliant with the law.
3. Using templates that aren’t mobile-friendly
The world is mobile now. Many
people check emails from their phone.
Emails that aren’t
mobile-friendly are probably raising your bounce rate exponentially due to poor
user experience. Because it’s so easy to click away from something that’s
unappealing, emails optimized for mobile should be an important step in the
The Apple iPhone is the most popular method for opening emails.
For some audiences, marketing emails that are stellar for mobile should take
priority over emails for desktop, so the majority of readers don’t get turned
away from desktop-friendly templates.
4. Poor email design
It’s imperative to take time
designing emails that delight readers.
Emails lately have gotten snazzy. From animations to
GIFs, and even embedded full-length videos, businesses are dipping their toes
into exciting email marketing efforts to pull readers in.
Emails that have quick loading
time, bold CTAs (Call to Action), and colorful visuals typically perform best.
An email newsletter with long
paragraphs, the same-old template and a CTA that hasn’t changed in years are
less than exciting, and probably leave readers clicking out of that email.
5. Not strategically using metrics
Tracking metrics helps fill in
the gaps when looking where to improve marketing efforts. They break down the
behavior of email subscribers.
Metrics collect data on how
many people are interacting with emails, when they are, who they are, and for
how long. All of this information is important to know when planning because
they lead to important marketing decisions.
Metrics save time by reporting
on what’s working and what isn’t. To begin tracking metrics, consider what
email software you use. Many have reporting and tracking built into their
tools, as well as information about how that data is collected and interpreted.
Ultimately, the reasons you may not be seeing results, is not
because email marketing is dead — it’s because of how you’re
email marketing. So, before you turn away from email marketing as a whole,
think about ways you can improve your strategy to compete.
One expert says fear of a recession could lead to one.
over a recession could be the cause of the next recession, according to Analyticom President
Dan Geller, developer of the theory of money anxiety.
explains that an increase in money anxiety can lower consumer confidence and
cause a recession by reducing consumer consumption by just 5%. Since consumer
consumption makes up about 70% of gross domestic product, a 5% reduction in
spending equals 3.5% of GDP, which is greater than the projected GDP for 2019.
In July 2019, the Money
Anxiety Index was flat at 44, the same as June, but slightly higher than May’s
42.7 points. While these figures are relatively low and don’t point to an
immediate recession, Geller explained that the constant hype about a recession
could increase the level of money anxiety.
“An example of how
recession hype can increase peoples’ perceived anxiety and reduce their
confidence in the economy can be seen in the preliminary August figures of the
Michigan Survey of Consumer Sentiment,” Geller explained. “The August index
decreased 6.4% from the previous month indicating that the level of consumer
confidence in the economy dropped in the first couple weeks of August.”
“Since the Michigan
index is based on what people think about the economy, in the form of a
questionnaire, it is highly likely that the recent recession hype influenced
the respondents’ confidence about the economy,” he explained.
Nearly half of experts
surveyed by Zillow back
in 2018 said they expect the next recession to begin sometime in 2020, according to the company’s Home Price Expectations
Survey, a quarterly survey of more than 100 real estate experts and economists.
Since then, the talk
surrounding recession has only increased as more and more experts begin to
predict a recession by late 2019 or early 2020.
There were several dire
warnings this week about the economic dangers posed by President Donald Trump’s
ramped-up trade war with China.
“On a scale of 1-10,
it’s an 11,” Cowen Managing
Director Chris Krueger said in a note to investors, describing the economic ramifications of the trade war.
In July, Zillow’s
panel of more than 100 housing experts and economists said the next
recession is expected to hit in 2020. A few even said it may begin later in 2019,
while another substantial portion predict that a recession will occur in 2021.
But unlike last time, the housing market won’t be the cause.
When you or your clients see information about a product or service, do you know if the information is provided as advertising, or is it considered public relations? Knowing the differences can help you decide what might work best in your marketing efforts.
described as a paid, non-personal, one-way public communication that draws
public communication towards a product, service, company, or any other thing
through various communication channels, to inform, influence and instigate the
target audience to respond in the manner desired by the advertiser.
Advertising can be
done through print ads, radio or television ads, billboards, flyers,
commercials, internet banner ads, direct mail, etc. Social media platforms are now
a major source of advertising. The advertiser
has exclusive control over what, how and when the ad will be aired or
published. Moreover, the ad will run as long as the advertiser’s
budget allows or determines it is effective.
As advertising is a
prominent marketing tool, it is always present, no matter if people are aware
of it or not.
Public Relations is a
strategic communication tool that uses different channels, to cultivate favorable
relations for the company. It is a practice of building a positive image
or reputation of the company in the eyes of the public by telling or displaying
the company’s products or services, in the form of featured stories or articles
through print or broadcast media. It aims at building a trust-based
relationship between the brand and its customer, mainly through media exposure
Public Relations can
be called as non-paid publicity earned by the company through its goodwill,
word of mouth, etc. (It is often referred to as “earned media”). The tactics used in public relations are
publicity, social media, press releases, press conferences, interviews, crisis
management, featured stories, speeches, news releases.
Key Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations
Adverting draws public
attention to products or services through paid announcements. Public Relations
uses strategic communication to build a mutually beneficial relationship
between the public and the company or organization.
Advertising is a
purchased media, whereas, public relations is considered earned media.
While advertising is a
monologue activity, public relations is a two-way communication process. The
company listens and responds to the public.
Advertising is used to
promote products or services with the objective to induce the targeted audience
to buy. Public Relations aims to maintain a positive image of the company in
the media, with an indirect result of those effected becoming customers.
In advertising, the
advertiser has full control over the ad, such as when, how and what will be
displayed. In public relations, the company pitches the story, but has no
control how the media uses or does not use it.
In advertising, the ad
placement is guaranteed, but there is no such guarantee of placement with
In advertising, as
long as you are willing to pay for it, the ad will be published or aired.
Usually in public relations, the story is only published once, but it might be
published in many media.
Credibility is higher
in public relations than advertising. This is because customers know it’s an ad
and may not believe it easily and be skeptical. For Public Relations, third
party validation improves credibility.
uses paid announcements (ads) to draw public attention to products or services.
Public Relations is the use of strategic communication that aims at building a
mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the public.
Advertising and Public Relations both use communication channels to inform and influence the general public. While advertising is a highly expensive marketing tool, it can reach a large number of people at the same time. Public Relations is “free of cost” implied endorsement along with validation of the third party.
The real powerhouse for business networking and prospecting is the business focused social media site, LinkedIn.
platforms enable you to stay in contact with friends and family and stay current
on their life activities. They can also benefit you on the business side,
especially for sales. For many people, the top
social media networks that come to mind are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
While these sites have some benefits for sales prospecting,
with general consumers, the real powerhouse for business networking and
prospecting is the business focused social media site, LinkedIn.
In fact, when it comes to business, LinkedIn with over 360
million members world-wide, is the top social media choice for business
networking and sales prospecting.
If you are using the popular social media business platform, LinkedIn,
you might find that there are additional ways to reach potential clients or
connect through others to increase sales.
For many, LinkedIn has been somewhat thought of as the go to
social site when you’re looking for your next job. It certainly has value for
this purpose, and it is extensively used by recruitment specialists world-wide
to find and contact prospects, but its benefits far exceed that. In the know business
people use LinkedIn more and more as a revenue generating, sales prospecting
LinkedIn is a perfect tool to make lead and sales
prospecting smoother, quicker, and ultimately, profitable. It is an extremely
cost-effective tool for business development.
Modern sales techniques have changed, and LinkedIn allows
you to connect directly with and gather information on companies and prospects,
as well as develop relationships and contact decision makers directly.
Here are some proactive, easy to implement strategies for using
LinkedIn as a tool to effectively increase your sales prospecting and grow
Optimize your LI Profile
With a couple tweaks,
you can turn your LinkedIn profile into a powerful sales asset. The most
important thing is that your profile is 100% complete. There is a high chance
that your prospects will look you up if they are interested in what you are
selling. When they do, your profile should give off a professional impression
of you and your company.
An important thing to do when beginning to get serious about
using LinkedIn for prospecting is to take a long hard look at your contacts.
Contacts are the bread and butter on the site. If yours are predominantly
family, your college classmates, and friends, you need to do a little work.
Connections spawn more connections. Your primary contacts
open a route to a wide range of second and third level connections. This is how
to scale up your efforts.
and Map Your Leads
LinkedIn users generally put a tremendous amount of
information on their profiles. Everything from which teams they work with, what
projects they are focusing on, which office they work out of and more.
You can use this information to develop a map of who the
decision makers are and how they can be reached and influenced to make the
sale. (Start by checking out the “viewers of this profile also viewed…” box
on their profile.)
Groups to Keep Up To Date and Engage With Prospects
Groups on LinkedIn are collections of people with similar
likes, needs, skills and more. They are a great way to learn about the
industries you target for sales and can be a great source for new prospects.
Engaging with member questions is a great way to build trust and authority
while raising your thought leader profile which can lead to sales inquiries.
They are also a great “soft” way to make contact with a prospect.
Turn Your Profile Into A Lead
Much of what we’ve touched on so far has been outbound
information, where to go to find prospects, how to engage, etc. This is purely
inbound. The prospects you’ve engaged with through connections and Groups will
most likely seek out your profile to learn more about you. (Information flows
both ways on LinkedIn!). So it only makes sense to optimize your profile to
Make sure you have current links to your company
site, your Twitter account and your Facebook page. Include some high-quality
recommendations from existing happy customers – think quality, not quantity.
This can give visitors a better idea of who you are and what you’re all about.
Remember, effective sales is all about building trust and relationships.
This blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on this blog.
Discover more stories and conversations on our social media networks, or drop us a line on our contact page.
The Independent Underwriter for the Independent AgentSM