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3 Testimonial Mistakes B2B Marketers Make

Here at The Starr Conspiracy, we have seen great results from including elements of “social proof” in B2B marketing — tactics like testimonials on landing pages, being able to see which of your Facebook friends have registered for an event you’re checking out, and more. Customer testimonials are one of the key elements to this year’s marketing Promise Land — customer advocacy. But many B2B marketers are still getting the formula for testimonials wrong.

b2b testimonials1. No testimonials in sight

Buying is an emotional decision. Whether your customers buy bars of chocolate or talent management solutions, word of mouth still goes a long way — hearing from real people why this particular product is going to make their lives easier.

If you’re still not using testimonials on your website or in your marketing collateral, you may want to consider rounding up the usual suspects (hopefully your happiest customers or consistent promoters, if you are using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system).

2. Your testimonials are doing more harm than good

If you’re like a lot of B2B companies that have taken that first step into showcasing testimonials, but haven’t exactly figured out the right formula, your testimonials might look like this:

“I can’t live without this product. It has made our processes so much better. I’ll definitely buy again.” — Joe Schmoe

So what’s wrong with this picture? Unfortunately, testimonials like this beg more questions than they answer. What product? What processes were changed? Who is Joe? What company is he with? What’s his job title? Is he a relevant proxy for your target audience to relate to?

Testimonials like these sound well-intentioned and fabricated at best and, at worst, completely deceptive.

Other symptoms of bad testimonials to use in your marketing materials?

  • Negative- or neutral-sounding testimonials: If you get negative feedback from your customers, so be it. Handle it. Take care of them. Don’t quote their neutral or negative feedback on your website.

  • Unethically edited testimonials: Do not, I repeat, do not ever edit a client’s testimonial beyond recognition and do not display any edited version of customer feedback without approving the revised testimonial with the customer.

3. Your testimonials could be doing more for you

A killer customer testimonial is easy to spot. You know them. You’ve probably read a testimonial from a credible user that has taken your opinion of a company, product, or service just a little bit further — from “curious” to “interested,” perhaps.

The formula is pretty well understood — an effective testimonial will include some combination or all of the following:

  • Specificity: If you can include real-world statistics of how your company, product or service changed your customers’ lives, do it. If you don’t have access to case studies at the moment, be specific by asking customers to be as detailed as possible in their reviews and testimonials about how their lives or businesses were changed. Did you gain a repeat customer because of a specific feature or product/service detail? Tell us about it!

  • Credibility: Including job title, company name, and specific results seen from a company, product, or service will offer you a surefire path to credibility.

  • Personality: Can you hear your customer in their testimonial?

Regardless of where you are with testimonials in your marketing ecosystem — whether you’ve just started utilizing testimonials and reviews or if you’re a pro at getting and using your customer’s best feedback for your marketing materials — don’t let these three common mistakes stump you.

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