Customers are often overwhelmed with buying choices. A barrage of marketing messages confronts people daily, and often it’s hard to discern who is most credible and reliable. The one type of communication that still cuts through all the noise and helps consumers make wise choices is ‘word of mouth’.

In marketing terms, this type of communication takes on the form of customer testimonials – brief, positive, and honest statements from your customers about your company. But still, many companies under-appreciate the value of a good customer testimonial, and how it can be one of their best content marketing tools. Here are just a few reasons why you should be using customer testimonials as part of your marketing plan.

Establish Credibility

Projecting the quality of being trustworthy is a key goal for any company. Testimonials allow companies to do that by showing honest, positive feedback from actual clients.

Potential customers will research your company in order to find out what kind of experience they should expect. Often they’ll approach this research with a very cynical bias, with concerns that no one is capable of really getting to the core of their problem and offering a viable solution. The testimonials they encounter can offer confidence on two fronts. First, they can answer any questions and objections the potential customer may have through the explanations of a current or previous customer who has had direct experience with your company. They also assure them of having a positive experience with your company because you’ve proven it through this clearly satisfied customer.

Indicate Honesty

It’s easy enough to develop highly complex and creative marketing plans espousing how wonderful your company is, but testimonials give actual examples to back up and legitimize those claims.

Potential customers will often doubt the positive information they read on a website or marketing materials, disbelieving anyone with incentive to promote the company. Potential customers tend to give more credibility to other voices than that of the ‘salesman’. A testimonial provides that other voice to substantiate your claims that your company is worth their investment.

Connect Emotionally

At the core of the testimonial is a good story. A story can be broken down into three basic parts: a character (the customer) a conflict (an unfulfilled need) and finally a resolution (the need is fulfilled by your company and the customer then can succeed). Stories draw people in, and allow them to connect emotionally. When people see someone enjoying your product or service, they’re more open to enjoying it as well. And when people feel good they’re more likely to engage with your company.

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