Testimonial – a declaration of a company’s or individual’s character, conduct, qualifications, value or excellence, given or done as an expression of esteem, admiration, or gratitude.
They were the real-world ‘likes’ before Mark Zuckerberg was even born, but for organisations large and small, testimonials are often an under-utilised resource in terms of positive marketing messages. They are key content that can help promote your product or service in a convincing fashion – as well as proof that you are who you say you are. In the B2B world of complicated and often sceptical audiences, when a company says something good about itself, while it may be interesting, it is generally seen as selling. Furthermore, nobody wants to be a guinea pig and because there’s a certain reputational risk for organisations and individuals in trying something for the first time, as human beings we are generally happy to let someone else test the waters first. What that means is that even when delivering that same message of your company’s glowing attributes by way of a third party, suddenly your promise of a reward has a bit more teeth to it.
So why do many business owners fail to tap into the benefits of utilising this marketing gold? For many businesses, particularly in financial services, despite being delighted with a company’s product or service clients may be unwilling or unable to give a testimonial because lawyers or other guardians of the corporate identity have forbidden it as matter of corporate policy. But even if that is the case, there are other ways to cultivate testimonials for the purpose of increasing your brand credibility. So how can you do that?
- Quotes – Quotes are a great way to put the spotlight on a client in a way that indirectly benefits your business. A good B2B quote example here is from Freeagent – Accounting software for small businesses:
Although using a named person is the most credible and compelling way to use a quote, (even better if you can include a photo of that person to add the personal touch!), there are other options if that isn’t available to you. Using a person’s job description, industry, company size or its USP e.g. Managing Director, top-10 global FX provider, still carries weight and gives a good indication of the type of clients using your product or service.
- Case Studies – These real-life stories are informative and more in-depth than simple quotes and can include infographics or graphs demonstrating results over time, or images and screenshots that detail the process.
One of the best benefits of case study testimonials is that they provide a potential client or lead with a complete customer story and can demonstrate how certain products or services have benefited real clients of your business. This is great for B2B companies who are trying to convince an entire business to buy their product or service, as potential clients can read the client story and compare it to their situation to see if your company will fulfil their needs.
Examples of MD Consulting case studies include https://www.mdconsulting.com/files/KYC-case-study-.pdf
- Media Coverage – If you are looking for a credible third-party endorsement for your business then look no further than positive media coverage – either in the form of a new client win or a journalist review of your product or service. These digital FX awards from Profit & Loss magazine are based on purely subjective journalist reviews https://www.profit-loss.com/digital-fx-awards-2020-winners-announced/
and offer serious business street credibility to the market and potential clients for each of the winning banks.
- Video – particularly for younger audiences, video is a great way of humanising a client story as it adds an extra element of personality. It provides prospects with the opportunity to see real people give their opinions about your offering and adds a huge amount of credibility to what they are saying. If someone is prepared to go on camera to tell the world how great your product or service is, then they must genuinely mean it!
An example of a great Video testimonial from Nasdaq for Zoom https://zoom.us/customer/all
So how do you get testimonials?
Firstly you need to earn them. Happy clients make the best spokespeople so before setting out to gather testimonials make sure you have a product or service that your customers are happy with.
Then you need to ask for them – but do it a way that makes it easy for the client. For example proactively drafting sample text for them to approve or sending them specific questions to answer, provides guidance on the story you want the testimonial to tell. It also takes the thinking out of the process for the client – after all it’s not mandatory for them to provide a testimonial, so they are actually doing you a favour!
It’s also good to remember that although client testimonials can carry weight with a B2B audience they are not a guarantee of success. If they are a bit too slick or sound too much like ‘marketing speak’ they are likely to be dismissed as such. They need to sound credible and as if a person has actually said it. Equally, passive statements like “Company A is a great company to work with and provide a great service” are wasted opportunities, so ensure there’s potential buying power in the message and that it resonates with your intended audiences e.g. “since using Company B’s product, sales have increased by 50% over a 6-month period.”
As B2B offerings become ever more commoditised, subjective influences such as testimonials can help set your business apart from the competition and avoid falling into the commodity trap. They are proof that you are who you say you are and at the very least indicate that you have clients – lack of them could indicate otherwise. So what’s stopping you?
Reach out to your clients today to ask them to testify on your behalf – and then use these testimonials to reinforce your own marketing messages.
If you think your FX, FinTech or RegTech business would benefit from support in reinforcing your marketing messages, get in touch with MD Consulting.