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How To Set Up An Automated System For Gathering Testimonials On Autopilot

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In the last post, we talked about how to get social proof without testimonials. Now, let’s talk about actually getting some testimonials.

In fact, let’s set it up so that they come to you automatically without you having to do much.

What I’m going to cover here is, quite frankly, just super obvious and should be done as part of any business. But, I admit straight up… I wasn’t doing it. As long as I’ve been building and running online businesses, I have never had an automatic system for gathering – and using – testimonials.

Then, I found Thrive Ovation… which is part of the suite of tools offered by Thrive Themes.

Now, this post isn’t about pimping Ovation to you. It just happens to be what I’m using. It is a fundamental part of an automated system and stands above other form-based systems because it instantly integrates with your landing pages (if you’re using Content Builder).

So, let’s do it…

The Old Way Of Getting Testimonials

For most online businesses, gathering testimonials is a rather haphazard thing. Maybe customers submit a success story… maybe they don’t. Whatever happens – happens.

In some cases, you may ask for one. But, it might feel a little unnatural. Or you forget.

Perhaps you have a launch or promotional event coming up and suddenly think, “I need some testimonials.” So, you email your customer list and ask for some. Maybe hit up a few of your best customers privately. Either way, you’re fishing.

Or perhaps you just find them as they happen and you take screenshots. I mean, people will say good things on Twitter, Facebook, or even in your blog comments. You can grab a screenshot of it and file it away for later. That’s what we used to do. We’d clip them into Evernote and keep a file.

But, sometimes we’d just forget to ask. Often, in fact.

It’s often weird to ask, too. I mean, I am confident in my products here at the Blog Marketing Academy. But, I’m a modest guy. I’m not one who brags. And it just feels weird to hit people up for testimonials. 🙂

But, I came across Thrive Ovation. And I realized I could totally systematize this.

What is Thrive Ovation?

In short, Thrive Ovation is a plugin offered by Thrive Themes specifically for collecting, managing and displaying testimonials. Some of what it will do:

  • Set up special forms on your site specifically for people to submit testimonials
  • You can have one global form… or specific forms set up for each product.
  • All testimonials collected into a database for easy management
  • You can tag testimonials to divide them up based on which product they are for.
  • Each testimonial has a status depending on whether it is approved, ready to be used, etc.
  • Display those testimonials anywhere you want very easily
  • Multiple, beautiful templates for displaying your testimonials

The main Thrive Ovation dashboard. You can see there are different statuses for them for easy management.

You can display testimonials anywhere using a short code. But, even better, if you’re using Thrive Content Builder to create your landing pages, you can bring in testimonials automatically – right where you need them. In fact, it is all updated dynamically. You can add a section to your landing page for testimonials for your product and Ovation will rotate all approved testimonials for that spot without any edits to your page.

Ovation also makes it easy to bring in testimonials that weren’t submitted by the customer directly. For instance, perhaps they said something in a blog comment. With the click of a button, you can turn any blog comment into a testimonial in Ovation.

It also has automatic approval by the customer. For instance, if a customer said something in a format which didn’t give express approval to be used as a testimonial, you can get their approval. Ovation can automatically send them an email asking for their permission. Simple Yes/No options in the email automatically do the work for you.

So, that’s the technical part of a “set it and forget it” testimonial system. Thrive Ovation forms the guts of it. It collects, manages and displays your testimonials.

But, now you have to get people to those forms predictably.

Let’s automate it.

Asking For The Testimonial – Automatically

What you want to do is systematize the gathering of testimonials so that you’re not having to manually reach out and ask. Plus, by automating it you will get more of them.

So, here’s a few things I would recommend you do:

#1 – Display The Form Prominently In Your Member Dashboard

Wherever your customers log in to access the product they have purchased, display the testimonial form (or a link to it) right there in front of them.

This at least makes it easy.

#2 – Embed Testimonial Form At The End Of Your Product

Most information products these days are delivered via a website. Courses are usually broken up into modules and different training units. So, make the final training unit a testimonial form.

You’re actually accomplishing two things when you do this:

  1. You’re making it a standard part of the product itself which increases the likelihood they’ll do it.
  2. You’re getting them to acknowledge their own wins. This is as much for themselves as it is for you. It solidifies to them that they actually have gotten somewhere.

Look at it this way…

Any training product is a cycle of action. It starts, it changes, it stops. And, I think you should set up your product so that it isn’t actually completed until they’ve submitted their experience to you – via your testimonial form.

If you have multiple products, you can use the tagging system in Ovation to categorize incoming submissions based on what product it is for.

#3 – Build It Into Your Customer Autoresponder Sequence

Surely, your customers are put into a customer email list. And surely, you have some pre-written automated emails that are sent out to them as new customers. This is called an onboarding sequence. We talk about how to do this in our Lab course, The Email Followup Engine.

Well, you can build in emails in your onboarding sequence to check in with their progress and, yes, ask for their experience. You send them to your testimonial form for their answer.

You can even repeat this periodically so that your customers are asked several times. Especially if you run a membership site where people may be there for several months. Perhaps once a month or so, you email them just to check in and link to your testimonial form.

Enhance It With Marketing Automation

If you use a marketing automation tool like Drip, Active Campaign, Infusionsoft or Ontraport… then you can enhance this even more.

These automation platforms have tracking tags that are on your site, too. Which means you can see what your customers are doing on your site. You can use this information in a few ways.

#1 – Follow Up With Active Customers

If you see that one of your customers is logging in quite repeatedly, you can trigger an automation to send them an invitation to submit a testimonial. After all, they’re kinda hot. 🙂

#2 – Use Testimonials In Your Sales Emails

This one you can’t automate, but it’s a good idea. Have somebody in a promotional email sequence for a particular offer? Show off testimonials in those emails!

Now, you’ll have to do that manually by updating your email sequence periodically. However, now that your testimonial gathering is on automatic, you’ll have a lot more to work with.

Another thing you could do is set up a special page on your site just for testimonials. Build that page with Content Builder so that you are using the Thrive tools. Then, your testimonials will display there. Whenever you approve a new one, it will show up there automatically. In this way, your automated email sequences will still be able to see your more updated testimonials.

#3 – Run Abandonment Sequence If They Leave Without Posting A Testimonial

One of the more effective tools to increase conversions is the cart abandonment sequence. If people come to your cart/checkout page without buying, you automatically follow up with them to see how you can help.

You can see how I do it with Drip (a tool I just adore).

You can use the same logic for testimonials. It would just need to be coupled with a rule which tags people when they submit a testimonial.

The Thrive Ovation form is able to redirect to a URL after they submit. Essentially, you can give your testimonial form it’s own “thank you” page.

Using this logic, you can email people automatically when they visit the testimonial form but don’t submit it. Tell them you really value hearing from them and really want to hear about their experience… and send them back to the form.

This will increase your conversion rate on the testimonial form.

#4 – Run A Regular Net Promoter Score Survey

The net promoter score (or NPS) is a management tool developed by Fred Reichheld to figure out which customers are most likely to be promoters of your business. It all boils down to one question:

How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?

The result is a grade between 0 and 10. The average of all the responses is your net promoter score.

In this system, the 9’s and the 10’s are the people most likely to be your promoters. So, how could we apply this?

Let’s say that every time you have a customer support interaction with a customer – or even in every email you send to them – you ask that question. If they answer 9 or 10, you automatically follow up with them with your testimonial form. If they answer a 7 or 8, perhaps you would as well. Lower score, you’d probably follow up with something different to find out how you can make their experience better.

You could automate this using a marketing automation system. Send them an email with the NPS question. Make the numbers 0 through 10 links which are tracked by your system. If they click on the 9 or the 10, send them to your testimonial form.

You Will Get What You Systematize

The reason most of us don’t have enough testimonials to draw from in our marketing is because we don’t systematize it. It gets left to luck.

If you want it to be a regular thing, you must build it into the systems that run your business.

It may include some procedures executed by humans (like your VA with canned responses), or it may involve some marketing automation and pre-written emails.

Either way, setting up a system to do this automatically will help you get more testimonials.

And that, in turn, will help you make more sales.

Again, the tool I use to do this is Thrive Ovation. It’s a great tool. I use it myself. And for the absolute best deal in town, I recommend their Thrive Membership so you’ll get access to all of their tools. As I said, coupling Ovation with Content Builder is an awesome marketing combination. It really is.

3 Comments

  1. Deborah S says:

    I have actually been looking for just this sort of instruction since I implemented the entire Thrive package earlier this year. I, too, always get a little “weirded out” asking for testimonials from course members, so I am definitely going to study and implement this. Thanks, David!

  2. Manish Kumar says:

    Hi David,

    Awesome Post!

    Before using thrive ovation, i tried to have my testimonials in sheets in different places, quite a bit of mess, and not always easy to manage. This resulted in not using them as well as i could have.

    What i love most about thrive ovation is the ability to have testimonials organized in one stop and with the tags for what they are about as i sell a lot of different courses and services.

    I will tweet your post.

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

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