The Giving Tree*

By Guest Writer: Jon Davis, Marketing Manager for Cushing

When thinking about the products and services you research and purchase online, what’s ever-present to the experience? If you answered website pop-ups and native advertisements, yep, I agree, but that’s a different article…

How about star ratings and reviews, from people across every corner of the web. And we all trust and rely on them. According to Nielsen 70% of consumers do…

Why wouldn’t we? No matter where you search, from Amazon to Clutch.co, chances are you can find a person sharing an experience (and review) that speaks directly to your: product needs, service questions, refund policy, customer experience – and countless other criteria I won’t list here.

Chances are that comment will make an impact on a purchase.

Proof is Powerful

Revealing stats about reviews - Testimonial Tree

We all know how much of an impact online reviews can make, right?

Digital marketers need to keep their ear to the ground and eye on the SERP’s – as in search engine result pages. Between algorithm updates, improving site speed, and earning authoritative links, there’s much to keep in mind.  When it comes to your online strategy and driving customer conversions, a critical component is social proof.  

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media sums this concept well:

When you say it, its marketing
When they say it, its social proof

“They” are the happy customers who are elated with your product, service, and team. The social proof you want is testimonials, reviews, and feedback you can incorporate into brand efforts. Don’t think this applies to your business? Research shows 92% of B2B Buyers are More Likely to Make a Purchase After Reading a Trusted Review.

Think Like a Salesperson

Customer testimonials have been a part of the outreach of years.  For marketers and business owners starting to formulate a strategy: think of customers as a different type of “lead” and happy ones will be a bit warmer.

Reviews and Testimonial Influence on the Sales Cycle

You need to prospect, create a funnel, ask the right questions, build rapport, follow up and close deals (the deal being the written, verbal, handwritten or in some cases video testimonial). This feedback is used on website, social media and more.

We obtain “leads” in different ways:

  • Ask our sales team for companies happy with recent work
  • Our customer service department shares client names of satisfied clients (and the actual feedback when applicable)
  • An Internal order system to search projects that contain the keyword topics we’re targeting (for example, customers who have purchased brochure printing or privacy film)

Asking for and earning testimonials with this approach has fueled website conversions, earned us Google reviews, and contributed to social media efforts. However, for the potential to earn a featured snippet in Google’s SERP’s, outreach is not enough. And for our busy clients – who want to oblige, but are too busy, we felt we needed another tool to keep efforts moving forward.

Enter Testimonial Tree

While we’ve always had a structured approach to customer reviews and website content, here are some reasons we decided to use an online reputation management firm and Testimonial Tree’s platform.

The Giving Tree - Testimonial Tree
  • *An opportunity to reference The Giving Tree in the title of this article – get it? Remember the Sheldon Silverstein story (and childhood favorite.) OK, just kidding, wanted to make sure you were still paying attention…
  • Potential to increase our presence in SERP’s by having aggregate star ratings appear under website links
  • Use EXISTING testimonials in the Testimonial Tree platform. Reviews obtained over the years can be used in efforts to increase search engine placement.
  • Embed widgets in our website – for returning site visitors, or customers to leave reviews, on-site pages, without a call or email outreach.
  • Improve our NPS (Net Promoter Score)
  • Customize email signatures for customer service and production teams to encourage more reviews

And of course: OFFLINE use of testimonials (full disclosure: I am in the marketing department of a print graphics company.) Testimonials enhance print collateral, marketing materials, banner stands, mailers and more! Or really in any setting where you want to share social proof.

Turn happy customers - into positive reviews.

Don’t Get Snippy

Coming back to featured snippets, schema.org has many types of microdata.  We are not placing all our eggs in one digital basket and continue to research the best ways to leverage structured data. Having collected hundreds of testimonials, it’s a natural starting point.

Disclaimer: Testimonial Tree does not guarantee placement and widgets are built with appropriate mark up to give us a fighting chance to appear in SERP’s.

Is it Asking A lot?

It made a lot of sense for us to graduate to a review system to enhance our “asking” efforts. While the initial need is to streamline efforts and provide customers even more ways to share reviews, we’ve barely scratched the “social proof surface” of what Testimonial Tree offers. We are excited to share the journey and excited to hear from YOU on your efforts to improve marketing efforts, using testimonials and client reviews. Let us know in the comments about your success stories.

Byline:
Jon Davis is in the marketing department at Cushing, a digital printing company in Chicago celebrating ninety years in business!  Their team recently chose Testimonial Tree to create more client reviews and improve testimonial outreach strategies for their company.

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