Article

Kristian Jønsson
Kristian Jønsson 28 April 2017

7 Simple But Powerful Customer Testimonial Examples You Can Steal

In this article, I want to set the record straight. We’ll discuss seven types of testimonial you can use in your online marketing to drive more conversions, increase your bottom line, and instill brand loyalty. If you’re looking for good customer testimonial examples, this article’s especially for you…

It’s happened to me. And if you’re reading this, chances are it’s happened to you, too.

You go above and beyond for a particular customer and, in return, ask for a testimonial in an email. And when you do… Crickets.

No reply. No testimonial. And no brand exposure.

If that sounds familiar, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Often, it’s not that your work isn’t up to scratch; it’s that you’re asking the wrong way.

It’s no secret testimonials are the driving force behind purchasing decisions. Yet so few businesses are using them to their advantage. And those who are, aren’t always following best practices.

In this article, I want to set the record straight. We’ll discuss seven types of testimonial you can use in your online marketing to drive more conversions, increase your bottom line, and instill brand loyalty. If you’re looking for good customer testimonial examples, this article’s especially for you…

Asking for testimonials? Make sure you do this first

Before asking for testimonials, you need to deliver massive value in with your email marketing. And part of that includes sending the right emails to the right customers at the right time.

We’ve scoured the Interweb (and our inboxes) and put together 11 marketing emails you can swipe so you can start getting more opens and click-throughs for your campaigns today.  

Free downloadable bonus: Get access to our personal swipe file of e-commerce marketing emails, including three bonus emails not mentioned in the post. (Registration required).

Use these 7 testimonial examples to increase conversions

1. Quotes testimonials

There are three variations of a quote testimonial.

  1. Quote
  2. Quote with hero image
  3. Quote with hero image and call-to-action (CTA)

Let’s discuss each briefly.

i. Quotes

We’re all familiar with them.

And if you were lucky enough to have a college yearbook, you might have been asked to give one to accompany your photo:

 

I Can't Beleive I Ate The Whole Thing

Quotes are one of the earliest types of testimonial (and one of the easiest to acquire).

First appearing in newspapers, quotes are now commonplace on website pages to instill confidence in the visitor.

Fourlane uses a slider on their homepage to feature their testimonials:

 

Fourlane Testimonial


Adding additional features like a slider—or in Fourlane’s case, a star rating—give readers more to engage with and legitimize the testimonials further.

ii. Quotes with a hero image

Quotes, while easy to gather, are easy to fabricate.

Companies know this.

And it’s exactly why many add hero images to their testimonials.

Pictures legitimize the testimonial further and in many cases, increase conversions tenfold.

When 161 Driving Academy replaced their stock hero images with real pictures, they were able to increase conversions by 161%.

 

161 Driving Academy Split Test

Shopify feature high-resolution hero images to accompany their testimonials:

 

Shopify Testimonial

If evangelical customers are happy to wax lyrical about you, why not show them in a good light, too (see what I did there)?

iii. Quotes with a hero image and call-to-action (CTA)

You would think a quote and a hero image is enough for a prospect to take the desired action, right?

Wrong.

As marketers, we can never think prospects know what to do; we have to take them by the hand and show them.

And it’s exactly why a relevant CTA is always needed with an effective testimonial.

Following Shopify’s example, Marucci includes a quote with a hero image and a CTA to learn more about the equipment and link to a case study (more on that later):

 

Marucci Testimonial

If a visitor is interested, they can learn more about David’s transformation before deciding whether Marucci is for them.

Zapier goes one step further with their testimonials.

And it’s a goodie.

Rather than feature their testimonials on a relevant page, they include them on relevant posts, namely, in the form of slide-ins:

 

Zapier Slide In

When writing effective testimonials, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors by using what Copyblogger call a reverse testimonial.

This is when a testimonial begins with doubt, but continue with praise and ends with an eventual overcoming of the initial skepticism.

Here’s an example from Bony to Beastly:

 

Bony to Beastly Testimonial

Dallas addresses a common concern prospects have when buying online (“Is this a scam?”) before transitioning into the transformation he underwent having taken action (read: make a purchase).

Assignment: If you’re using quote testimonials, ensure each has a hero image and relevant CTA that gives the visitor the chance to learn more about the customer’s transformation (if you’re in a high-end market), rather than the product.

2. Influencer testimonials

Influencers are a lot like high school quarterbacks.

Popular for many but near impossible to pin down.

Getting the coveted high-five in the hallway from an influence is impressive in its own right, but what’s really impressive—and where you ought to focus your outreach efforts—is getting press from influencers in your market.

Think about it:

Everyone wants to be featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, The Huffington Post, etc.

But there’s a problem.

Everyone’s gunning for them.

What’s better is getting noticed by the movers and shakers your audience are most familiar with.

Di Bruno Bros specialize in gourmet gift baskets and travel the world to find the most delicious cheeses, meats, and specialty foods out there.

And their efforts pay off.

Having caught the attention of industry giants Travel + Leisure and Serious Eats (among others), Di Bruno Bros combine quotes with influencer badges on their media page:

 

Di Bruno Bros Testimonials

You can’t always attract influencers, that’s a given, but you can increase your chances by being the best at what you do.

Assignment: Contact authorities in your industry and ask if they would like to try your product. For more on “hacking the press”, read Tucker Schreiber’s thorough article on the subject.

3. Social media testimonials

Social media has changed how we express ourselves.

When we’re not Instagramming our lunch or asking for likes, we’re taking to social media to voice our dreams, fears and occasionally, beef with our favorite brands.

 

Tweet to Sainsbury's

When positive, online praise is welcomed by brands.

A cut above quotes, social testimonials are effective because it’s possible to click through and see the person you’re reading about is a real person living a real life.   

Shane Parrish from Farnam Street embeds tweets from readers on his newsletter page:

 

Shane Parrish Testimonial

If you can, invite people to leave you specific feedback. James Clear does this to perfection.

During one of his live webinars, James asks his viewers to Tweet him their thoughts on his presentation…

 

James Clear Webinar Request

…and that’s exactly what his readers do:

 

James Clear Testimonial

Assignment: Invite customers to leave feedback on Facebook and Twitter after making a purchase and embed on your product pages.

4. Consumer reviews

You’re probably familiar with the persuasive power of social proof: our tendency to assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.

But not all forms of influence are alike.

What’s more important is when actions of others belong to people who are similar to us.

In one 2008 study, hotel guests were more likely to reuse their towels when told the majority of the prior occupants of their particular room had participated, than those who learned the norms for the hotel in general.

Simply put, we prefer people who think similar to ourselves.

If you resemble a previous buyer, you’re more likely to be receptive to their testimonial.

It’s unsurprising, then, we’re so responsive to consumer reviews.
In fact, according to research by Deloitte, 60 percent of people rate reviews as equally trustworthy as information from friends and family.

 

Most Trusted Source of Information on Products and Services

Consumer reviews will vary in importance depending on the industry you’re in.

If you’re in e-commerce, it’s more likely a customer will write a review as a blog post (especially if they’re an affiliate trying to target prospect at the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey).

Here’s an example of Kitchn reviewing Blue Apron:

 

Blue Apron Review

Other companies, like Birchbox, rely on Google Customer Reviews or TrustPilot to improve their trustworthiness.

 

Birchbox Reviews

Consumer reviews are often the easiest of the seven types of testimonial to ask for because they’re super simple to ask for. Casper has an email in their email sequence for this very reason:

Casper Testimonial

Source: Really Good Emails

Finally, if you have positive reviews, don’t be afraid to publicize it. Nine Line Apparel feature their average rating on their homepage to comfort visitors they’re in the right place:

 

Nine Line Apparel Testimonials

Assignment: Email customers 14-days after their purchase asking them to leave a review on an industry-relevant review site.

Further reading: E-Commerce Email Marketing 101: 11 Must-Have Emails (w/ Templates)

5. Case studies

Case studies are an opportunity to really sell the reader on the transformation a previous customer made.

Using a copywriting formula like before—after—bridge (BAB), you can show readers where a customer was before they made a purchase, where they are now, after making a purchase, and bridge the gap using your product or service.

Kevan Lee from Buffer summarizes the BAB formula nicely:

 

Before After Bridge Formula

Steve Kamb from NerdFitness utilizes case studies as a way to generate leads for his flagship product, The NerdFitness Academy.

Kamb cleverly utilizes emails from his client as a way to move the story forward, legitimizing the case study in the process:

 

Nerd Fitness Testimonial

Assignment: Invite a previous customer to tell their story having used your product and focus on the transformation they went through having done so.

6. Video testimonials

Video is fast becoming the number one marketing channel for business owners.

In fact, in one report by Copypress, 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide named video as the type of content with the best ROI.

 

Video Marketing ROI

Brands like Dollar Shave Club and Orabrush were able to go viral seemingly overnight by leveraging video to market their services.  

As Neil Patel says, “If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then video is priceless.”

But video isn’t limited to product marketing.

Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You to Be Rich utilizes video to market his flagship product, Zero to Launch—with a twist. Rather than focus on the benefit to the viewer, Ramit differentiates himself by focusing on the transformation of previous customers.

Merging professional production values with insightful interviews and accompanying case studies, Ramit showcases his most successful students to sell his course for him (note the “Success Story Quick Wins” for the casual reader):

 

Ramit Sethi Video Testimonial

Other business owners, like the aforementioned Orabrush, feature customer video reviews on their homepage:

 

Orabrush Testimonials

Once upon a time, video testimonials were reserved for companies with 6-figure marketing budgets.

Today, however, anyone with a smartphone can record a video anywhere, anytime, and capture their thoughts on their favorite brand.

No more excuses.

Assignment: Ask customers to record a short testimonial video on their smartphone discussing what they enjoy most about your brand. Then, showcase them at critical points in the buyer’s journey.

7. Documentary series

Like most marketers, I thought I had witnessed everything when it came to customer testimonials.

Until I came across Bryan Harris.

In 2016, Brian launched his flagship product, Get 10,000 Subscribers, but went above and beyond when interviewing previous customers:

He filmed a documentary series.

With a camera crew on hand, Bryan visited three former students at their homes to document how their lives were different having enrolled on his course.

 

Videofruit Documentary Testimonial

And the results were remarkable.

Viewers loved it, prospects bought into Bryan’s product more than ever before and company revenue went from $900,000 to $1.5 million in fewer than 12 months:

 

Videfruit Revenue

While it’s impossible to know how much the documentary series directly impacted Videofruit’s annual revenue (only Bryan knows that), few can deny the influential power of spotlighting customer successes.

There’s something about giving prospects a glimpse into what their life could be like if they made a purchase that takes product marketing to a whole other level.

Filming a documentary might not be for everyone. And it might not be for you or your industry. But more business owners are opting for more professional videos to market their products moving forward for good reason:

It works.

Assignment: Ask your existing customers how their lives are different having bought your product and if possible, feature them in a documentary highlighting their transformation.

Asking for testimonials? Make sure you do this first

Before asking for testimonials, you need to deliver massive value in with your email marketing. And part of that includes sending the right emails to the right customers at the right time.

We’ve scoured the Interweb (and our inboxes) and put together 11 marketing emails you can swipe so you can start getting more opens and click-throughs for your campaigns today.  

Free Downloadable Bonus
Get access to our personal swipe file of e-commerce marketing emails (includes 3 bonus emails not mentioned in the post).

Successful customer testimonials is about trust

Testimonials are more important than ever.

Years ago, a brand could avert your eyes from bad press. Today, the power is at the consumer’s fingertips.

A company’s reputation is only a few keystrokes away. And with that in mind, it’s your responsibility to ensure that reputation is positive.

Don’t forget:

A testimonial is only as successful as the customer who gives it.

You can have the best marketing product in the world, but if you’re not impacting the lives of those who purchase it, your testimonials are nothing but digital paperweights.  

Which type of testimonial do you use? Leave a comment below.

This article originally appeared on Sleeknote.com

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