One of the best and most reliable ways to sell your products is to amplify what your happy customers think with reviews or testimonials. And it is completely free.

But why do you need customer reviews, you ask? Well, have you ever tried telling people how good you think your services and products are? If you have, you probably found out that a self-review is not worth the paper it is written on. 

Effective testimonials help you sell because they tell the world that your product is worth buying.

However, like anything in marketing, your testimonials have to be strong to compete in the market. There will be reviews from many other similar services and products. For this reason a testimonial should be written to explain why your products, rather than those of your competitors, are worth buying. It is unfair to give this writing task to your customers. So, here are my top three tips that will help you collect effective customer testimonials that really sell your business.

Tip #1: A review should showcase a great result

The best testimonials tell this highly effective story: I got this service, and it helped me achieve this goal for my business.

Focus on getting most of your customers to leave a review, and urge them to tell you why they loved your product. Remember to include your review links in your emails, especially the transactional emails after a customer buys one of your products.

Below you can see two examples from my testimonials. You can see that my customers made applications that were successful. And, in their own words, the help I gave them played a big part in that success. What a wonderful outcome!

Anastasia has helped me tremendously by proofreading my application to a Masters programme, which was successful.

M, happy masters student

Anastasia created an important video to support an application for a funding bid to Lloyds Bank. Without the amazing video editing she pulled together, we would not have been successful.

Cheryl, CEO, London Plus Credit Union

Tip #2: A case study is even better than a review

If you work on a long-term project you will be providing many great services to your customer. Instead of trying to fit ten reasons why your services are good in one sentence, you can utilise a type of content that focuses on long-term benefits. This is called a case study. 

As a charity or small business with a mission you can use case studies to showcase your impact.

I have created several case studies for small charities. Here are some of the key steps in approaching a customer to do a case study: 

  1. Pick a customer that you know will showcase great impact. Perhaps this is someone that you have worked with on several projects. Or it can be a loyal customer that loves your products or services.
  2. If you can, offer incentive. Some high-street vouchers or perhaps simply a hot drink could go a long way. 
  3. Think about the questions you want to ask them in advance. Come up with five great questions that will encourage your customer to go into detail about how your product or services helped them.
  4. Make this as easy for the customer as possible. Arrange to meet at a place where they feel comfortable, and adjust your interview style to suit their needs.
  5. Take some great pictures! Faces will bring the story to life. Even better, you could film the case study and optimise it for your socials. 
  6. Ask your customer to check they are happy with the content before you post anything on your website or social media.
A photo of a service user with a quote showing the impact of this education charity

The Access Project is an education charity that wants to close the higher education access gap for young people in the UK. Check out this case study, showcasing the impact of their tutoring service for young people in the UK.

Tip #3: Offer incentive to your customers for their reviews

People are more keen to leave, and look for, negative reviews. We get a sense of, “I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else”. So we often forget to leave reviews for products and services that met our needs. Taking five minutes to leave a review is the last thing on our list. 

A customer is more likely to leave a review or give you a testimonial if there is an incentive in place. For example, a chance to win a voucher or a discount.

If you sell products online, putting people in a draw could work for you. You could create a monthly drawing where you enter anyone who leaves a review in that month. That means that, even with a low number of customers, a few people will have a chance to win. What do they win? This is up to you. It could be money off their next product, or access to exclusive content. 

What if you are a consultant, and only work with a small handful of customers per year? I found that asking in person (or at least on the phone) is more effective than asking over email. I also ask a maximum of 3 times. If the person has not submitted a review by then, I stop contacting them.

This graphic is a summary of the top tips in the blog.

That’s all folks!

Good reviews are a powerful marketing tool for your business. These reviews tell the world that your product or service has value. 

Reviews from real people who find value in your products and services will add credibility to your business. You might want to offer rewards as an incentive for customer reviews, such as a voucher or discount.

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