The modern marketing landscape is not what it used to be. Creative thinkers and innovative “ideas people” are still at the heart of the department, but it has become a measurable, monitorable and data-driven discipline. To the most creative marketers this may sound like a negative thing; but in reality, it just means all of their ideas and innovations can be tracked, tweaked, improved and proven, making a real return on investment (ROI) demonstrable internally to the broader business (and especially up the food chain of decision makers).
To better understand the impact and opportunities of this marketing evolution, let’s explore two key developments that I think will impact marketing’s future.
For decades marketers have had to find ways to prove the need for their campaigns. The new methods they use, and the huge uplift in the volume of data available, makes this much easier than ever before. With so much data there are always new ways to grow, adapt, and change, to deliver the best possible results and answer executive concerns.
Marketing is no longer just about how creative you are. As customer experience becomes a key brand differentiator, marketers have to harness the data available to them to succeed. Part of the modern marketer’s role is knowing their customer—inside and out, personalizing their experience, and ensuring they come back for more.
Careers in marketing have never been more exciting, now they require a blend of creative skill backed by analytics expertise, data-driven research, and the ability to produce provable results. To make this shift, it’s critical that marketers understand and utilize the latest technologies, designed to aid marketer in every stage of their process, from targeting customers and analyzing their data, to automating content and engagements to suit the customer’s needs.
Data cannot be ignored. It has always played a role in marketing campaigns and decisions, but as we are now able to access more data more of the time it is a waste to not utilize it to deliver better customer experiences. Streamlining marketing strategies and processes in a way that embraces both data and technology falls under the coverall term ‘marketing operations‘.
Marketing operations is where all aspects of any marketing campaign come together and are organized effectively for success. Technology is a key driver of marketing operations. Why? MarTech has become so sophisticated that it is essential for marketers to incorporate the right applications and software into their marketing stack. The change in modern marketing is driven by technology, so while creativity is essential to such aspects as campaign planning or content creation, it should be controlled and informed by the insights found through their MarTech solutions, ideally with a foundation of an Engagement Platform that serves as the system of record.
87% of modern marketers already accept that technology is improving performance at their companies, and the scientific edge to their roles has meant a shift in expectation and the nature of their work. However, this shift is for the better as the right MarTech solutions and processes ensure that all work (creative or not) is measured and tested, allowing for more precise and targeted campaigns. In turn, this means the modern marketer can be even more creative as they deliver more ROI and tangible business value. It’s a win-win.
Spending on big data technology is set to exceed $57 billion this year, which shows just how committed companies are to getting the most out of every aspect of data. Marketers need to take note—data is driving their careers: Used well, data can accelerate career paths; badly interpreted data can stunt career progression. Both real-time and historical data can be used to inform and develop effective campaigns.
Data makes tracking every marketing campaign easier and more convenient. Harnessing real-time data allows for adjustments in-campaign at any time, or even in the planning stage of the next campaign by leveraging the learnings and trends identified from previous campaigns. And as mentioned, proving the success of a marketing campaign to those at the top of a company is so much easier when you have hard evidence backing up your claims.
Alongside big data and data-driven marketing is the concept of The Internet of Things (IoT), which further proves the essential and integral nature of technology in the marketing world. The more IoT technology is integrated, wearables become more common, and beacon technology is used, the more data marketers have to feed on, making it increasingly important to not only have an Engagement Platform to orchestrate all these touchpoints, but one that has a robust ecosystem of complementary technology integrations (so your technology is ‘speaking the same language’).
The typical marketer of ten years ago, or even five years ago, may not have been able to predict how different their jobs would look in 2017. However, marketing has always been an evolving discipline, with the move from print to online, text to video, and now with the incorporation of data and in-depth analysis as key to their roles.
There is nothing ‘fluffy’ and ambiguous about the modern marketer’s role. Yes, creativity is used to push forward and capture the audience attention, but it should be measured, tested and released once it is sure to succeed according to the data and research available.
Embracing marketing technology is absolutely essential for the modern marketer. Building an effective marketing stack for each individual business takes time and energy. But, once in place, it can push the business in the right direction and increase marketing success. That’s not to even mention the benefits it can offer in terms of time and capital saving.
Marketing operations cannot function effectively without MarTech, and the modern marketer cannot perform their role properly without embracing both. A blend of creative talent and a technologist’s knowledge must be combined to effectively market for growth.
Marketing is not going to go backward. There won’t be a return to the idea that the marketing department is ‘winging it’ and just trying out any creative idea. Modern marketing will become more entrenched and driven by data and technology, and it is essential the professionals involved embrace and utilize the resources available to them. The data and technology are there, it comes down to marketers ability to make the most of them. This way, marketers will not just safe-guard their jobs, but maintain their seat at the table.
I don’t need to tell you how big trust in business and marketing is.
Trust is everything.
You can pull every clever trick in the book, invest thousands of dollars in slick, sexy advertising and work tirelessly on conversion optimization tactics.
But at the end of the day, it’s trust that leads to sales.
That’s probably why word-of-mouth marketing is just as important as it’s ever been.
A new study from Ogilvy, Google and TNS found,
word of mouth is the most powerful factor when it comes to consumers’ relationships with brands.
According to that study, 74% of consumers cite word of mouth as being the most powerful factor.
And this totally makes sense.
I’ll trust the input of a friend or family member over some hotshot salesman any day of the week.
So, when it comes to your Twitter profile, trust-building should be given top priority.
You obviously want to grow your following.
But more importantly, you want your followers to trust you and take your opinion seriously.
Which elements should you focus on to build trust?
In this post, I share 16 essentials mandatory for creating a trust-boosting Twitter profile.
What’s the first thing Twitter users see when landing on your profile?
For most, it’s your background image.
Of course, it needs to look great and have the right pixel dimensions.
But it also needs to incorporate the same branding elements you use in your logo, on your website, other social accounts and so on.
Here’s a good example from Burt’s Bees:
Here’s another from Mashable:
Both incorporate a color scheme, style and message congruent with their overall brand.
This is important because it typically takes being exposed to your brand five to seven times before customers will buy.
Equally important is your profile picture.
Again, it needs to be appealing and be in line with the rest of your branding.
Here’s the image I use for my Neil Patel Twitter profile:
It’s simple yet professional, and visitors can instantly recognize me.
Here’s the profile picture for The Art of Manliness:
It’s matches the central theme of the Art of Manliness website.
I’ve mentioned before that adding a trust seal to your checkout page can increase conversions.
Twitter has its own version of a trust seal, which is a blue check mark.
It looks like this:
Although it’s just a small, simple icon, it can pump up your trustworthiness considerably because Twitter users instantly know your account is authentic.
I know I always look for the blue verified badge when I’m searching for a celebrity or major brand.
To get verified, you’ll need to submit a request, which you can learn about here.
And here are some of the basic elements you must have in order to be approved:
Twitter allows you to include some brief biographical information on your profile.
This is the perfect place to explain your credentials and what you bring to the table.
Use this space wisely.
Here’s the info I include on my profile:
Here’s the info Chris Ducker includes:
Just don’t go overboard tooting your own horn to the point of being annoying.
Twitter also allows you to include a link to a website in your profile.
This is great for driving referral traffic and can also serve as a trust-booster.
Just like Facebook, Twitter gives you the option of pinning a top tweet to the top of your profile.
At the moment, I’m using this feature to promote my podcast.
Pinning a top tweet is a simple way to maximize the visibility of a particular post and is great for increasing trust.
Pick what you feel is your absolute best tweet, and pin it to the top of your profile.
Ideally, it would have already received plenty of engagement (e.g., retweets, likes, etc.) because this will make you seem more legit to first-time visitors.
Keep in mind this is the first post they will see.
Pinning a top tweet is simple.
Click on the downward arrow on the top right-hand corner of your favorite tweet.
Then click “Pin to your profile page:”
That’s all there is to it.
This is a no brainer but definitely worth mentioning.
At the end of the day, you’re only as credible as the content you tweet.
If you post genuinely insightful, relevant content, people will trust you more.
If you post garbage content that’s worthless, spammy and overtly self-serving, it’s going to kill your trustworthiness.
That’s why I always try to make sure my content hits its mark and matches the interests of my audience, which fall under the umbrella of digital marketing.
Retweets are a big part of Twitter’s appeal.
With just a couple of clicks (or taps) you can retweet interesting content and share it with your audience.
But here’s the thing.
People will assess your legitimacy based on the type of content you retweet.
If you’re retweeting epic content from a credible source, you’re good to go.
This is going to enhance your image and increase your followers’ sense of trust toward you.
But if it’s crap, it’s going to diminish that sense of trust.
In other words, don’t retweet posts from spammy, irrelevant sources.
Again, the content you associate yourself with can help or hurt your brand.
Sprinkle in a few articles each week from major publications such as The Atlantic, Harvard Business Review, The New Yorker, etc.—whatever matches your industry or niche.
It needs to be relevant to your audience and cover a topic of genuine interest to them.
And here’s another thing.
It’s best to include the URL of the publication so that people can instantly recognize it.
The idea here is you can inform/entertain your audience while benefiting from the trust people have in an established, trusted site.
A big component of gaining trust is being seen as an expert or an authority on a particular subject.
To achieve this status, you have to be selective about the type of content you post.
For instance, you won’t catch me tweeting about interior design or cooking.
You’ll find me posting content strictly about digital marketing.
That’s my MO.
Be clear about what your niche is by sticking with a consistent theme.
Of all the social networks, people tend to post the most frequently on Twitter.
According to a recent study from CoSchedule, “15 tweets per day is recommended.”
Don’t be afraid of going a little crazy with your tweets.
The most important thing is to be consistent and not have any major gaps between posts.
I’m sure you know how huge video marketing is right now.
Brands that use video report more traffic, more leads and a higher ROI.
I also find video to be perfect for breaking down walls and making deeper connections.
Why not throw in a few videos on your Twitter page?
I’ve been doing this recently and am seeing some great results.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income does the same.
Just link content from your YouTube channel or website.
Hashtags are an effective way to increase the visibility of your tweets.
Their overuse, however, can backfire, especially on Twitter.
While it’s fine and even encouraged to use 10 or more hashtags on other networks, like Instagram, it’s considered best practice to use a maximum of three hashtags on Twitter.
However, two hashtags is ideal and is the number I typically aim for.
Recent research shows that
engagement drops significantly once any more than two hashtags are used, on average.
“Loading the box” with hashtags looks spammy and can be a trust killer.
Let’s say someone has 100k followers.
But what if they’re following 500k people?
All of a sudden, they don’t seem as legit and trustworthy.
But let’s say someone who has 100k followers is following only 50k people.
You’re probably more likely to take them seriously because their number of followers outweighs the number of people they’re following.
It may seem like a popularity contest, but you should try to reach a favorable ratio of followers.
I would like to think I’ve got a nice ratio:
According to Kred Stories,
it is essential that you get at least 20% of the users you follow to follow you back before you move on to the next group of followers.
In other words, don’t follow a ridiculous number of accounts unless you’ve got a sizable following.
It just looks bad if you’re following thousands of people and you have only a handful of followers yourself.
There’s evidence that indicates poor spelling and grammar costs businesses millions each year in sales.
Just like you should double-check your blog posts and emails, you should always look over your tweets before publishing anything.
Otherwise, blatant errors will make you look amateurish.
More and more businesses are using Twitter as a platform for handling customer service these days.
You’re likely to receive some complaints at some point along the way.
The worst thing you can do is ignore them.
Your followers will see them, and you’ll look bad.
The best approach is to respond as quickly as possible and try to resolve the situation.
Here’s a good example of Domino’s pulling this off perfectly:
Psychological studies have found that we have an innate desire to connect with others.
based on perceptions of trust, people reported positive interactions with a ‘close friend’ to be more rewarding than interactions with a stranger or a machine.
They also found that two specific brain regions—the ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortex—were actively engaged when someone thought they were trusting a close friend.
Your goal on Twitter is to maximize your trustworthiness and create more positive interactions.
You want to bridge the gap and make people feel a sense of camaraderie with you.
The essentials I listed in this post should help you accomplish this in a variety of ways.
This should make first-time visitors more willing to follow you and help you strengthen your rapport with your existing followers.
How do you decide whether or not you trust a person or brand on Twitter?
Trust has always been important from a marketing perspective.
But in my opinion, it’s never been more important than it is today.
That’s because so many consumers have an underlying cynicism about brands and companies.
And why wouldn’t they be skeptical?
Marketing communications account for 70% of today’s spam complaints.
Just think of all the scam artists, false advertisements and deceptive advertising techniques people so frequently encounter.
Not to sound pessimistic, but modern consumers have a good reason to be suspicious.
As a marketer, you have to put your audience at ease.
And social media is a great way to do that.
Facebook in particular is ideal for creating trust.
You can even use it to turn casual fans into die-hard brand advocates.
In fact, Facebook has been instrumental in helping me expand my following.
As of right now, I have nearly 1 million followers on my Neil Patel page, and it’s growing every day.
In this post, I’d like to cover 18 essentials mandatory for boosting the trustworthiness of your Facebook page.
These tactics have worked for me and countless other brands, and they can work for you too.
Just like on Twitter, Facebook has a feature where you can add a verification badge as long as you’re a public figure, media company or brand.
It’s a simple way to prove it’s actually you and not a fake account.
Here are the steps involved in getting your Facebook page verified:
Check out this guide from Facebook for more information on the process.
In order to build a solid brand, you need to have identifiable branding elements like a formal logo, recognizable color scheme, style, etc.
Facebook gives you an excellent opportunity to reinforce your brand, which helps with trust building.
Include a profile picture and a background picture that incorporate your core branding elements.
Take TechCrunch for example:
They use their signature green and white color scheme along with their logo.
The About page of your website is important.
In fact, “52% of people” want to see it on your website’s homepage.
It only makes sense to create a robust Facebook About page.
Here’s a good example from Chris Guillebeau:
Notice how he succinctly fills visitors in on his key info?
According to the same study from KoMarketing I referenced above, including contact information on your website is even more important than having an About page.
They found 64% of people want to see your contact information after arriving on your homepage.
Of course, you’ll want to include this on your Facebook page as well.
Include as much info as you can.
Ideally, also include a phone number because this tends to be a significant trust factor.
Here’s what I have for my contact info:
Any time you can create a link pointing to your website, you should do it.
This is just another opportunity for referral traffic.
It can also add to the trust users can feel from your Facebook page.
Even if you’re a massive, big-name brand, you still want to create a genuine connection with your audience.
You want to come across as being transparent and authentic.
One thing I love about Facebook is that it enables you to combine business with pleasure.
I know it’s helped me increase my credibility by allowing me to show a bit of my own personality.
If you’ve ever scrolled through my pictures, you’ll see stuff like this:
That’s my mom and me.
That’s my nephew and me having an epic intergalactic battle.
You want to be professional, but don’t be shy to share some personal information on your Facebook profile to help you gain trust and to be more likable.
Another way to forge a connection with your audience is to let them see what’s bubbling beneath the surface.
Give them a glimpse of what your team culture is like by including some behind-the-scenes content.
Here’s a great example from HubSpot:
I’m sure you know by now just how powerful leveraging key influencers can be.
Associating your brand with an influencer in your industry is almost guaranteed to elevate your trustworthiness.
The bigger the influencer, the bigger the impact.
One of the best in the business at doing this is Tim Ferriss.
Scroll through his Facebook photos, and you’ll see him with countless celebrities and influencers.
Here he is with the founders of Shopify:
And here he is with author and tidying master Marie Kondo.
I know this isn’t viable for everyone, especially if you’re a new or small brand.
But it can have a profound impact on how much your audience will trust you if you can pull this off.
Again, this won’t be realistic for everyone.
And I know this is easier said than done.
But including any type of media coverage you’ve received can increase your trustworthiness significantly.
Here’s a quick snippet of me on Viceland as an example:
We all know video marketing is blowing up.
Just look at the massive rise of mobile video over the last few years:
Why wouldn’t you want to get in on the action?
I’ve found that adding video to my Facebook page has helped me increase engagement while establishing myself as a trusted voice in the digital marketing realm.
I make it a point to include videos toward the top of my page.
By clicking on the “Videos” section of the sidebar or on “See All,” visitors can check out my full archive of videos.
If you haven’t experimented with videos yet, I strongly recommend giving them a go.
But why stop there?
Facebook and several other social platforms now allow you to create live streams.
You should be interested because “Facebook Live Stream search popularity has risen over 330% since Facebook Live’s rollout.”
Engagement is off the charts, and I can’t think of a much better way to quickly boost your trustworthiness.
Just think about it.
People can watch your videos in real time and get to know you intimately, and you can instantly respond to their questions and comments.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger takes full advantage of this new trend with great success:
You can check out his archive of videos for ideas and inspiration.
The beautiful thing about inbound marketing, and content marketing in particular, is that it gives brands a way to advertise without overt selling.
Rather than blasting your demographic with mind-numbing marketing messages, content marketing allows you to educate, inform and entertain them.
This way they’re learning about your brand and getting real value in an unobtrusive way.
My Facebook policy is to inform my audience—not to sell to them.
This has been a huge contributor to my success, and I recommend you take the same approach.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
This is what you want to avoid with your Facebook page.
In order to establish trust, you need to focus on your core competencies and not try to be everything to everyone.
Let’s go back to Darren Rowse.
His name is synonymous with one thing: blogging.
Not home renovation or gardening or crocheting.
It’s just blogging.
This is what has allowed him to be one of the top experts on the topic.
Be sure you’re doing the same and sticking with a central theme.
According to an article from CoSchedule that analyzed research from 10 different studies, one post per day is the recommended posting frequency on Facebook.
Unlike on other platforms, like Twitter or Pinterest, where posting several times a day is acceptable and even encouraged, one post a day tends to work best on Facebook.
I do at times post more often as do many other brands, but this research tells us one important thing.
You need to get in the habit of consistently posting or at least curating fresh content.
You know if you’re getting a lot of engagement, you’re winning on Facebook.
But to keep the momentum going and keep people interested, you need to respond as much as you possibly can.
That’s what I try to do.
I know it can be time consuming, but this is a must for building real trust with your followers.
Looking for ideas on which features to include in your new product?
Or wondering what topics to cover on your blog?
Just ask your Facebook followers for their input.
This is a great way to perform market research, crank up engagement and make your audience feel valued.
Here are a couple of specific examples from Mavrck:
You can get more ideas in this post.
Polls are another awesome way to engage your audience.
It’s a quick and easy way for them to give their opinions, feeling included.
Visit this page from Facebook to learn how to publish polls.
One last thing.
Social media is meant to be fun.
It’s not meant to be overly formal or rigid.
So another key factor in trust-boosting is to have fun with it and let your personality shine through.
Letting your hair down, so to speak, can help you get the trust you’re seeking.
When you get right down to it, trust equals revenue.
Gaining trust is like knocking down the initial domino, which leads to a host of other benefits like engagement, a big following, leads, conversions and ultimately sales.
And the way I see it, Facebook is one of the best platforms pound-for-pound for creating trust.
You just need to understand which elements to leverage and put in the work to give your audience what they’re looking for.
What makes you trust a brand on Facebook?
About three years ago, business for the sustainable fashion brand, Reformation, was booming. But their physical stores were so jam-packed with product that the customer experience was, in short, not good. Founder Yael Aflalo began to think about how to minimize the available merchandise, but at the same time have enough for the increased foot traffic. She settled on a model similar to Tesla showrooms that are conspicuously missing a parking lot of cars, or Apple stores with very limited inventory in the front of the store. Soon, Reformation stores only displayed one of each of the most popular items. However, all merchandise options are viewable on touchscreens.
“Around the store, there are touchscreen monitors that allow customers to scan through outfits. When they find one they like, they can click on the size and it will appear in the dressing room, as if by magic,” explains Fast Company. Behind the scenes, sales associates pull all of the garments selected by the shopper and organize them in a dedicated fitting room. On the touchscreen, customer options only include what is in inventory with near perfect accuracy. And in the background, Reformation is able to collect data about the outfits and sizes that are most popular and how long customers spend trying on clothes.
It’s a huge success — Reformation runs more efficiently, and the customer feedback is overwhelmingly positive as they are able to move seamlessly from touchscreen to dressing room. If there is a question, sales associates are trained to help shoppers effectively interact with the touchscreen and they also support the dressing room experience. Yael is already planning additional improvements, such as being able to send purchases directly to a customer’s home after an in-store touchscreen purchase, or having a dressing room ready with selections the customer made while shopping online from another location.
Creating Fluidity — and Fluid Experiences
Every retailer should focus on delivering a consistent and cohesive omnichannel experience. But more and more it’s becoming clear that sophisticated shoppers want more. They want fluidity between all touchpoints — whether digital or physical — and it’s raising the bar for omnichannel marketing.
Designing fluid experiences enables retailers to create and manage omnichannel experiences across all touchpoints — including in-store associate apps, social media platforms, physical signage, IoT devices, and smart screens. Content that is centrally managed and optimized, along with the ability to automatically edit and resize images and copy based on the channel are two technologies that help you create fluid experiences at scale.
Fluid experiences also help retailers maximize the unique capabilities of any platform without the added legwork. For example, a department store promoting its semiannual runway event may promote a new collection to its customers via email. The same campaign content could then automatically be positioned for Facebook, web content, or Twitter with just 140 characters, and provide detailed personal and relevant information about the promotion — including event timing, accessible locations, and specific offers.
Granted, the level of fluid experience varies by vertical. As I explained to the New York Times, “If it’s high-touch retail, you want to provide great experiences and entertainment. But if it’s grocers or big-box stores, the technology needs to make that experience more seamless and efficient.” What unifies these moments, however, is that they’re consistent across platforms and create powerful experiences that keep customers engaged in a delightful and personal way, and keep them coming back for more.
Personalizing experiences when there’s no single path-to-purchase — and when those paths involve both physical and digital touchpoints — requires leveraging data to deliver cohesive experiences at the highest level.
Do Personalization Right
With all the intelligence and technology available, it’s essential to match each piece of content to the right individual persona so the experience delivers value. And as a word of caution, no personalization is better than bad personalization — if you don’t leverage properly the data you have, you can deliver a flat-out terrible experience that alienates customers and prospects.
For example, there is a particular retailer that I love, but I’m ready to sever ties because even though they know I’m male, they consistently show me female-focused products, services, and content. For example, I’ve never given an indication that I want or need a slimming swimsuit, but I regularly receive “personalized” messages encouraging me to invest in one. When mistargeting mistakes like that happen, your customers will quickly move on to the next retailer — a retailer who will deliver a more relevant experience.
Additionally, if you deliver an experience that’s not personalized to the platform or device your customer is using, you’ll sink more than you swim. Desktop ads viewed on mobile devices lose 50 percent of their effectiveness — they’re just not the right experience for the small screen. And 50 percent of consumers under 50 take it a step further, saying they prefer ads personalized to their specific interests, traits, and preferences — and another 30 percent under 50 say even that’s not good enough.
Driven By the Customer — and YOU
Because experiences don’t happen only in the digital world, building fluid experiences crosses over into brick and mortar as well — as Reformation noted when creating a new model for their store. Now, when shoppers visit a store’s physical location, digital signage, associates’ apps and point of sale technology are all in sync creating a consistent, choreographed experience. The end result? A powerful brand experience in the customer’s journey that transcends platform and individual touchpoint. And it couldn’t come at a better time — customer experiences are far from linear, and aren’t completely digital either.
It’s a clear departure from the traditional funnel and from omnichannel marketing even a year or two ago — and that’s good for everyone. Data empowers digital marketers everywhere to deliver more effective and more efficient promotions and experiences across all channels, provided companies are willing to tear down the silos and flesh out 360-degree views of their customers. This, at the end of the day, is the Holy Grail when it comes to producing and delivering highly-relevant and incredibly timely content at scale — in other words, personalization done well.
Learn more more about how your organization can create and manage fluid experiences across all touchpoints and platforms. It’s a simple process that will take your campaigns to the next level — syncing your messaging, and enabling truly great customer experiences you can manage without long, drawn-out system overhauls or massive investments. It’s a win-win — fluid for customers and fluid for your business.
The post Make It Fluid — Creating a Seamless Experience from the Shopper’s Perspective appeared first on Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe.Read More
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the correlation between testimonials and higher conversions.
As humans, we’re wired to seek feedback from others.
But testimonials may carry even more weight than you may have thought.
Research found that
customer testimonials are considered to be one of the most effective content marketing techniques, identified by 89% of B2B marketers.
And there’s one particular A/B test involving testimonials I really like.
It compared different variations of a landing page for Seiko Watches.
Here’s the first version, containing no testimonials:
And here’s the second version, containing a widget featuring positive customer reviews:
Guess by how much the conversions improved.
Not too shabby.
But I have a bone to pick with the way most brands approach testimonials.
I feel the majority stick to a conventional format and aren’t fully harnessing the true power of testimonials.
In this post, I break down what I think the ultimate blueprint for creating a super persuasive testimonial is.
I’ll briefly touch on the fundamentals and throw in some other angles you might not have thought of.
Here we go.
I won’t bore you with a long-winded explanation of the importance of images.
This is usually one of the first bits of advice you’ll hear.
But they really are a critical element of a strong testimonial.
65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets are core to how their brand story is communicated.
Not only do images make testimonials look more professional, they increase “truthiness,” defined as a subjective feeling of truth.
This is what you’re looking for when attempting to create a connection and persuade leads to buy.
You probably know I’m a stat guy.
I love stats!
For me, data is the perfect way to help prospects connect the dots and understand why your brand is worth doing business with.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to include concrete numbers in your testimonials.
Don’t just feature testimonials that say your product “is good.”
Give prospects real data.
Here are a couple of examples of testimonials I use on NeilPatel.com.
There’s one reason I use these specific testimonials.
Seeing that Timothy earned $15 million in revenue and received 26% more traffic is much better than saying something like, “Neil really helped my company and you should work with him.”
It’s the same story here with Gawker Media:
Here’s how Freshbooks uses this technique:
The point here is to make it crystal clear what results your prospects can expect.
Show them how you can help them in a tangible way.
And here’s another quick tip.
Try to stay away from round numbers, like 20% and 30%.
Consumers tend to prefer exactness, and using only perfect numbers may raise suspicion.
If there’s one mistake I see brands making time and time again, it’s using only rosy testimonials.
Don’t get me wrong: you obviously want to sell yourself and ensure that prospects view you in a positive light.
But you don’t want to go overboard and feature testimonials that offer nothing but praise without any negatives whatsoever.
This can kill your credibility, and it tends to make visitors more skeptical.
After all, any charlatan can slap up some bogus reviews and make themselves look like a saint.
What people are looking for is authenticity.
They want to see your brand for what it really is, flaws and all.
In fact, studies suggest that bad reviews can actually be good for business.
Research from social commerce company Reevoo found that
68% consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see anything negative at all.
Just think about it.
Have you ever done research on a product and seen nothing but rave reviews, with every single testimonial giving it 10 out of 10?
To me, that’s a red flag. I feel something is definitely up.
This isn’t to say you should include testimonials that bash your company.
That would be foolish.
But showing a flaw or two can actually work to your advantage.
Anyone can say a testimonial was written by “Jack W. from Orlando.”
But how do your prospects know it’s legit?
I’ve realized one of the best ways to quell skepticism is to make your testimonials “traceable.”
By this I mean including a link to the person’s website, portfolio, Twitter page, etc.
It doesn’t really matter as long as you can prove that the person giving the review actually exists and that the testimonial isn’t fabricated.
And here’s another idea.
Create an entire page that thoroughly explains how your product/service helped the person and contributed to their success.
Here’s a nice example from Kissmetrics:
By clicking on the link, prospects are taken to this page where they can learn more about the company (Mention) and how Kissmetrics helped it improve its performance.
They’ll instantly know the testimonial is genuine, and it can provide even more incentive to purchase.
I took full advantage of this tactic on NeilPatel.com, where I feature a case study of Timothy Sykes.
Here are a couple of screenshots:
I’ve found this to be a tremendous help, and it’s helped me reel in several big name clients.
I’m going to preface this by saying this isn’t applicable to every brand.
If you’re coming from relative obscurity, it may not be feasible to get testimonials from big name celebrities and industry experts.
But if you can land even one “heavy hitter,” the rewards should be plentiful.
Here’s a good example from Help Scout:
It’s safe to say Gary Vaynerchuk is a pretty big deal.
Here’s another one, featuring Seth Godin:
Just imagine the impact of having someone prominent giving your brand a nod of approval.
It could make all the difference.
Check out this resource for some pointers on landing this type of testimonial.
If you listen to standard advice on testimonials, you’ll probably hear that you should keep them short and sweet.
However, this isn’t always the best route to go.
In fact, longer testimonials are often more persuasive than standard, short ones.
Think about it.
Long-form testimonials allow you to explain the ins and outs of your product and provide specific examples of how it has helped your customers.
You can effectively cover multiple aspects of your product and address any concerns your prospects may have.
One of the best examples I’ve seen of long-form testimonials is Noah Kagan’s landing page for Make Your First Dollar course.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
It’s incredibly in-depth, and I’m sure many of the people reading this testimonial could put themselves in Bryan’s shoes.
Now, I’m not saying long-form is the right approach for every single brand, but it’s definitely something to consider.
If you zig when your competitors zag, this could be your ticket to making your brand stand out.
Who says a testimonial has to be a conventional text-based snippet?
There are no rules.
I’m a fan of experimenting with different mediums, especially video.
And quite frankly, video has never been hotter than it is right now.
Here are just a few interesting video marketing stats:
If you’re crushing it with video in other areas of marketing, why not incorporate it into your testimonials?
One company in particular that pulls this off flawlessly is Codecademy:
They provide a great real-life example of how one of their users elevated his career and created one of the top 50 websites in 2013.
It’s very compelling, and I’m sure it’s motivated many “iffy” prospects to go ahead and sign up for Codecademy.
Unbounce did A/B testing on their homepage to see what impact video testimonials would have.
Here’s page A, featuring traditional text testimonials:
It looks good enough.
But here’s page B, featuring a video:
This led to a 25% conversion lift!
If you’re looking for inspiration and ideas for creating video testimonials, check out this post from HubSpot.
There’s a bunch of great examples.
At its core, a testimonial is a very simple thing.
a formal statement testifying to someone’s or a brand’s character and qualifications.
But the way you go about creating a testimonial and the elements you incorporate can make or break it.
The more tried-and-true tactics are okay, and I’m sure they will have some impact.
But the tactics I explained in this post should maximize that impact.
Following this blueprint should enable you to create a highly persuasive testimonial your prospects will eat up.
This should make it possible to quickly gain their trust, squash any skepticism they may have, and ultimately motivate them to buy.
What do you think the most important element of a testimonial is?