Sometimes, even the best sales pitch in the world falls on deaf ears. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with traditional email marketing methods; there are just certain customers who put more stock in the words of their peers than the brands that spend big bucks on advertising. However, there is one tool – the customer testimonial – that bridges this gap by letting your satisfied customers spread the good word about your products and services. To ensure you pull this technique off just right the next time you roll out a new set of promotional emails, here’s everything you need to know about testimonials and how they fit into your marketing strategy.
Understanding the Benefits of Testimonials
Before getting into the “how,” let’s look at why testimonials can be so powerful. To start, few things can assuage the concerns of a buyer on the fence more than having someone who has already interacted with your company rave about how great your service or your products are. On top of this, firsthand knowledge of how to get the most use out of what you’re selling helps cut down on the uncertainty found in new buyers. Perhaps the best part about the testimonial approach is that when done right, these additions to your marketed emails don’t come off as “salesy.” For discerning viewers who are tired of blatant advertising tactics, honing in on this aspect can go a long way toward building a lasting connection.
Staying on the Right Side of the Legal Line
Unfortunately, some brands go a little too far when leaving the company voice behind while letting happy customers take the lead, creating both moral and legal issues. To keep your company out of hot water and in the good graces of your customers, there’s a few things you need to avoid at all costs. First off, don’t mislead your customers with vague or overtly false testimonials. If it ever comes to light that you’re pulling a fast one on your audience, you could do some serious and lasting damage to your brand image. Also, disclosing any relationships or affiliations with the customers profiled in your emails – like former employees or family members of current workers – should be a high priority, to avoid questions regarding conflicts of interest. Finally, if you’re pulling anything from an online review on Google+, Yelp, or another open source, it’s better to go overboard with the citation than come up short and find yourself in the sticky situation of using content without express permission.
Getting the Most out of Your Testimonials
Once you have all your ducks in a row as far as the legal stuff’s concerned, you can jump into the fun part of actually building a great testimonial to feature in your next email series. As you harvest customer feedback and start sorting through the responses, keep an eye out for short quotes that are snappy and easy to read. While having a devoted customer write a novel espousing the benefits of your products is definitely nice, the average browser isn’t going to sit around and sift through page after page of review. Additionally, try and pick testimonials that match up with your target audience; having a customer that fits into this demographic can help readers relate and connect with the person giving the review.A testimonial that addresses specific problems or concerns your customers might be facing is another great way to build the case for your products and services. If possible, presenting this content in a “before and after” shell is a smart approach that hammers home the need for your offerings and how the customer can get the most value out of this purchase. Once you have the ball rolling, don’t rest on your laurels. Keeping a steady stream of new and updated testimonials can build content for your site and create additional reach via repurposing on your social media accounts.
There’s Room for Creativity Too!
Of course, the best part about setting up a run of testimonials for your email marketing operations is that there is no cookie cutter format for what turns audiences on. If you want to spice things up with a YouTube channel dedicated to these reviews and demonstrations, there’s nothing stopping you. Additionally, weaving in social media interaction by asking customers to post their own reviews on your company’s Facebook or Google+ pages is another simple tactic to get a little added value out of this marketing push. As long as you stay on the right side of the process, the sky is literally the limit for where your testimonials can take your brand.