The reviews are in: social proof works.
Every company worth its salt knows the importance of collecting and displaying user reviews.
In fact, 90% of US adults report reading online reviews before making a purchase, typically reading about 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business according to BrightLocal.
Particularly in eCommerce, automation is the key to scaling and maintaining the process of collecting and displaying reviews. Our own 5-taco verified buyer reviews demonstrate that fact—and the eye test still applies. The more tacos, the more sales.
Today, there are so many different tools and methods for proving the value of your product or service online. In fact, we named “social proofing platforms” as our #3 software trend for 2020.
Let’s dive in.
How to Ask for Testimonials
1. Make it obvious
Tools like former AppSumo deal Endorsal (one of our top-selling tools for 2019! 🙌) make it easy to create branded testimonial capture forms. You can even connect Endorsal to your CRM to pre-fill basic client information to make it easier than ever for your clients to leave a review.
Simply create your forms and send a link to your best clients to capture testimonials faster than ever before. Plus, Endorsal takes the work out of collecting a photo of your client to go along with the review. You can also use Endorsal to display your favorite reviews from public sites like Facebook and Google.
Though the AppSumo deal is sold out, you can still try Endorsal free for 14 days.
2. Ask when the asking’s good
As we mentioned over at Sumo, ask for a testimonial when you see positive feedback from a customer or client. Simply use the opportunity to reach out directly to ask for a testimonial.
Here’s a template email:
I saw your [Tweet/Email/Review] and would love to get a quote from you for our [insert channel here].
Are you willing to send a quote over?
Just one or two sentences is fine! I’d really appreciate it.
Then, if you want to use their words on your website (or in promotional materials), you can send another short email just to ask:
Thank you so much for the feedback. Seriously, means a lot. Would love to use this on [insert channel here]. Is that cool with you?
3. Collect and curate reviews from public sites
There are so many online review sites out there—take advantage of that social proof! Depending on your line of business, you can take reviews from public sources like Google, Capterra, G2, Yelp, Facebook, etc.
Repuso is a tool that aggregates public reviews from across the internet, allowing you to add social proof widgets anywhere on your site with block code or a simple WordPress plugin.
If your reviews are scattered all over the web, Repuso helps you collect and beautifully display your best reviews all in one place.
Get Repuso free for one year in the AppSumo Store for a limited time.
4. Ask for video reviews
Video reviews work. For some quick video stats:
- 84% of consumers say that they’ve been convinced to buy from watching a brand’s video (Wyzowl)
- 54% of people WANT to see more video content from their favorite companies. (HubSpot)
- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they see it in video. (Social Media Today)
Today, there are tons of tools for automating video testimonial collection, including Bravo, Magnifi, VideoPeel, Boast.io, and many more. Of course, there’s always old-school YouTube. Or you could use an AppSumo partner tool like Swarmify to host fast-loading videos on your website—and use InVideo to edit them.
At AppSumo, we’ve launched our own video testimonial campaigns and learned a lot in the process.
5. Ask as a part of a larger initiative
If your business is doing a rebrand, collecting user feedback for a new feature, or launching a new product, you may be able to wrap your ask into a larger, more exciting narrative.
For instance, if you’re launching a new product, you could reach out to your top customers and say:
Hi [First Name],
I just wanted to let you know that we’re launching [NEW PRODUCT] today!
[insert a quick description of what the product/feature does]
As one of our most loyal customers, we wanted to give you exclusive access to this feature for the next 90 days. Try it out, no strings attached.
We really value your perspective, and we’d love to hear your feedback [link your form/tool of choice] after you have the chance to try it out.
6. Ask—and segment
This strategy has been around for quite some time, but I’d be remiss to leave it out:
Use a tool (or even a simple landing page) to help direct the 5-star reviewers to where you want them to go.
You could use a tool like ReplyButton to automate the process of asking for feedback via email.
Or in another strategy, James Clear did this really well in an email after I bought his book, Atomic Habits (which I highly recommend, by the way).
If you click 5 out of 5 stars, then you get this landing page which directs you to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads:
But if you click 1 out of 5 stars, you get a landing page that thanks you for your feedback—and promises James is “always working to get better.” Simple. Genius.
7. Ask at moments of maximum joy along your customer journey
If you’ve done customer journey mapping, consider looking at moments of maximum happiness where you can embed natural calls-to-action to collect feedback, reviews, and testimonials.
For instance, the moment after someone clicks “Buy” is typically the happiest moment in the online customer journey. Surprisingly it’s not when the actual product arrives, service starts, or course begins. It’s the moment when the decision has been made, the risk has been taken, and the money leaves the bank. 💸
“What was going on in your life that brought you to try/join/buy today?”
By embedding this question with an answer capture form on your website, you’d be surprised by the quality of insight you may get about your customers—and even a high-quality endorsement or two!
8. Automate social proofing campaigns
Today, so much shopping happens online that you can’t give new potential customers that line-out-the-door impression. Or can you?
Tools like AppSumo partner deals Evidence, VideoPeel, and WPfomify make it easy to create social proofing campaigns that signal the success and popularity of your offerings—without the need to beg people for testimonials.
With Evidence, you can use real-time targeted website notifications to show social proof and even create a little FOMO. Customize everything about the notifications. Show visitor counts, conversions, streaks, and even announcements. The key here is that once you set it, you can forget it—adding social proof to the fabric of your website.
Get Evidence for $49 in the AppSumo store for a limited time.
VideoPeel lets you collect and manage real customer testimonials just by sending your customers a link. They can record straight from their smartphones without dealing with downloads or logins. Add thank you notes and special offers as incentives, use tags for easy organization, and search through automated transcripts. The VideoPeel plugin makes it easy to share your videos and the tool integrates seamlessly with YouTube, Amazon, and Facebook.
Get VideoPeel for $69 In the AppSumo store for a limited time.
This WordPress plugin will boost your conversion rates by displaying custom social proof notifications on your eCommerce or membership website. Build credibility by showing customized activity notifications from customers who have already signed up for your course, product, or service. You can also use popups to show reviews from WooCommerce products or Google Business Pages.
Get WPfomify for $39 in the AppSumo store for a limited time.
9. Make it easy to say yes
Look, people are busy. Chances are, no matter how much they love you, they don’t really want to add “write Sarabeth a testimonial” on their to-do list. So what’s a business owner to do?
As Noah says, when you’re asking for something, “Make it easy to say yes.”
Quick detour: This is a lot like asking professors for letters of recommendation.
While you might have the fondest memories of a certain professor, there’s a big chance they might not even remember you—let alone your fancy academic accomplishments or aspirations.
So when you ask for a letter of recommendation (AKA a testimonial in the academic world), you should always let the professor know you’ll send over your resume, description of your accomplishments, and a list of what you hope to accomplish in graduate school.
YOU do all the work, so it’s just plug-and-play for your forgetful professor.
In a similar vein, you can also get much higher-quality testimonials this way.
Here’s what we recommend:
- Keep it simple
- Brag on your customer’s wins
- Ask nicely
- Offer backup
Remember, people are pretty self-centered. So give your customers something they can use for their own ends while asking for a no-brainer testimonial—where you’ve already filled in all the blanks.
Try something like this, tailored to your own line of business (and tone of voice):
Hi [First Name],
Thanks again for being such a killer customer of SumoTaco, digital taco platform of gold.
Dude, I just wanted to share some of the wins you’ve scored in the past 12 months:
🌮 900K+ happy taco customers
🌮 $900M in tacos sold
🌮 With only 3 total customer support tickets! [etc. etc… this will be highly dependent on what your product does]
We’re in the process of gathering some fresh new testimonials and your name just kept coming up. I wanted to share these stats that might be helpful for your own marketing, but I’d also love to collect a quick video/written testimonial [link your form/tool of choice] from you.
Any chance you’d be open to it?
No pressure. But if you need any more metrics about what we’ve accomplished together, I’m more than happy to send along whatever you need.
Taco cheers from afar,
Testimonials power conversions
The “make it easy to say yes” approach works because you’re preemptively helping your client know what to include in their testimonial. Plus, you’re also giving them valuable metrics—further social proof—that they can brag about on their own site.
One of the best ways to get a testimonial is simply doing really good work and then letting your clients know just how successful you’ve made them. And then making the ask.
Remember, customers trust other customers. If you’ve been sleeping on this powerful technique, give it a shot!
A solid testimonial backing your product or service can mean all the difference between your brand and the other guys.