Marketing, in its most basic form, is all about communicating value to your audience.
If you know your product and audience well, you should be able to communicate the value of what you’re offering with relative ease.
A particularly skilled and seasoned marketer can do this in their sleep, but even some of the most talented marketers can only do so much on their own.
The modern consumer views marketing and advertising in a fairly positive light.
They understand that it’s largely unavoidable, or part of the deal and, in many cases, welcome it as a way to discover new products and services that will add value to their lives.Still, customers can only put so much weight behind claims made by the same people that are trying to separate them from their money, regardless of how trustworthy they perceive them to be, or how much they genuinely need the solution being promoted.
And this is why customer testimonials are so powerful.
Social proof is undoubtedly the most effective tool in the marketers arsenal
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people’s actions and decision-making is influenced by the actions of others, to make better decisions, or at least ones that conform to social norms.
Naturally, marketers picked up on this long ago, and have used it to great effect ever since.
As highly social beings, it’s only natural that we rely heavily on social proof and confirmation to determine if the decisions we make are in fact the right ones.
This applies to everything from what we should eat, to who we should vote for and, of course, what we should buy.
Relying on social proof in our decision making doesn’t always result in making the “right” decision, but there’s no denying that the desire for social validation is deeply ingrained in the human psyche, and influences many of our decisions.
In fact, 70% of consumers say they turn to product reviews before making a purchase.
You can bet that pro marketers are well aware of this too, because in another study from 2013, customer testimonials were rated as the most effective B2B content marketing tactic, above all others, by 89% of marketers.
Customer testimonials are generally thought of as bottom-of-funnel content that helps get prospects over the hump, and ready to buy.
There are instances where customer testimonials can help generate interest and awareness at the top of the funnel, but most people will only seek out testimonials or reviews after they’ve determined their needs, done a little research on their own, and narrowed down their options.
So even though a glowing testimonial isn’t likely to drive massive amounts of traffic to your website, a few well-placed testimonials at key trigger points throughout the customer journey is a highly effective way to convert visitors into buyers.
Later in this article, we’ll explore some ways to do exactly this.