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Business Marketing Today: Using Consumer Reviews and Testimonials

December 19th, 2013 by

content marketingBusinesses use content marketing for many purposes. Content is written and published to draw the attention of newcomers and retain the interest of current customers.

When B2B Content Marketing Report put out their survey results for 2013, they found the top three goals of businesses using content marketing were:

  • Lead Generation
  • Thought Leadership
  • Customer Acquisition

These top trends were well ahead of most companies’ desires for “brand awareness” or “website traffic.” Of the businesses surveyed 88% said that customer testimonials are the most effective form of modern marketing.

The Importance of Earned Media

In a 2012 study by Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers trusted “earned media” (recommendations from friends and family or by word-of-mouth). This same study found that 70 percent trusted online consumer reviews and less than 50 percent trust TV, radio or print ads.

This is huge–it means customers really trust each other about the true nature of a product! Customers are still swayed by well-written content and memorable advertising, but they are much faster to respond to an unsolicited recommendation from a friend. Unfortunately, it also means they are much more likely to listen to the bad experiences as well.

Using Customer Testimonials to Your Advantage

Feature reviews: Encourage your customers to review your products and put the best-written ones on your site. Reviews can be included on website pages, email newsletters, blog posts and social media posts.

Always respond: According to Tweet Smarter, “71 percent of complaints are not responded to.” No response or an unprofessional response will only show your brand can’t be trusted. Responding to testimonials (both good and bad) will show a strong online presence, public awareness and boost customer opinion. Of the complaints that were responded to by the company, “83 percent liked that they got a response and were satisfied with it.”

Encouraging Testimonials: Testimonials for your company should be frequent and unsolicited. If you are pushing your customers to review your products, then you might get annoyed customers. If you bribe your customers (with giveaways or contests), then you end up with fake-sounding shout-outs and reviews that are obviously solicited (not that this is always a bad thing).

Have a strong social presence: One of the best ways to get your customers talking about your brand is to encourage them to do so by quick and professional responses. Social media is about interaction, and customers love to hear from brands.

Ask for them: Occasionally asking your customers to review a service or product is a great idea! An email can be sent with a link to a quick place to write up a review and then the review can be sent directly to you for approval. This keeps reviews from going directly on your website that are confusing or overly negative.

Tying it all Together

Content writers can help wind your customer testimonials into articles, blog posts and web pages. Provide your copywriter or ghostwriter with testimonials you would like to highlight, or encourage them to find the ones they think would best fit the piece, and start including them in your published content.

Alethea M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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