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 you can get testimonials 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.
In this post, I’m going to show you 2 great solutions to get testimonials, manage testimonials, display testimonials as well as automate the system so they keep coming to you all the time without you having to do it manually.
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.
It might come off as weird to ask people for testimonials for your business, so you simply… don’t.
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. If you run a local business, you might get reviews on Google My Business or a number of other third-party sites. 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 realized I could totally systematize this. I could put it on autopilot.
Tool #1: Get Testimonials With Thrive Ovation
Your first purpose-built tool is called Thrive Ovation.
In short, Thrive Ovation is a plugin offered by Thrive Themes as part of their Thrive Suite. It is 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
You can display testimonials anywhere using a short code. But, even better, if you’re using Thrive Architect 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.
The Pros Of Thrive Ovation
Thrive Ovation is a nice tool. It is one of the few tools I’ve seen which is purpose-built toward an autopilot system of getting testimonials.
Using Thrive Ovation, you can get, manage and display testimonials across your site. The integration with the landing page builder (Architect) makes it easy to integrate testimonials into your marketing.
The Cons Of Thrive Ovation
Thrive Ovation is part of the larger Thrive Suite and the only way to get your hands on Ovation is to buy the whole suite. That works nicely if you want to use the whole suite (and it is really a great package). But, if you’re not an avid user of Thrive Themes, Ovation might not be the right fit.
Also, Thrive Ovation doesn’t do anything about third-party sites. These days, many people leave reviews on Google My Business, Amazon, TrustPilot or a number of other platforms. For Thrive Ovation to work, testimonials need to be entered specifically into this system.
Tool #2: Get Testimonials From Anywhere With WP Social Ninja Pro
This tool serves a few different purposes, but one of the major ones is the ability to pull and display social reviews from sites such as Google, AirBnB, Amazon, Yelp, TrustPilot and more. It will pull these reviews off those sites automatically and keep things in sync.
Then, using templates, you can display those reviews on your own site. It allows your social reviews to serve double-duty and even be more obvious to your site visitors that they can leave reviews on these third-party sites.
But, you’re not limited to social reviews. WP Social Ninja Pro also has the ability to display custom reviews. This means, you can enter testimonials manually if your customer submitted to you directly. You can also integrate with Fluent Forms and create a testimonial-gathering form that will take their review and enter it right into your system.
WP Social Ninja allows you to manage all of these reviews and display them on your site regardless of where the review came from.
The Pros Of WP Social Ninja
This plugin does a great job of displaying reviews and testimonials on your site. Unlike Ovation, you don’t need to be using Thrive tools to make this work. WP Social Ninja is platform agnostic so you can use this with any theme or page builder.
Also, WP Social Ninja is more flexible because it can work with numerous third-party platforms and bring all that stuff in-house. This allows you to have a much wider net for testimonials. Plus, often the reviews have more weight when they come from these third-party platforms. Not to mention that they’re more likely to have an image and real name if they come in from something like Google.
The Cons Of WP Social Ninja
As of this writing, this plugin is pretty new. While they’ve done a great job with it, it is rough around the edges in some ways and they’re still making improvements.
Also, if you go this route, you’re also paying for functionality that doesn’t have much to do with social reviews. It is functionality you may very well want anyway, however. But, you certainly do not need to purchase an entire suite of tools (as you do with Thrive Suite).
How To Get Testimonials On Automatic
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 – Have An Obvious Testimonials Page With A Call To Action To Leave One
Include a navigation menu item on your site for testimonials. Show those testimonials so that they do you some good! But, also important…
Put a call to action on that page so that they can easily leave a new review for you. Make it really obvious.
This would be especially important for a local business that performs services. If you need to, you could link them to a page on your site which gives instructions for leaving a review. For instance, many people don’t really know how to leave a Google review and it would never have occurred to them.
#3 – 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:
- You’re making it a standard part of the product itself which increases the likelihood they’ll do it.
- 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 set up the system to categorize the testimonial depending on the product. Ovation has a tagging system and WP Social Ninja has a category system.
#4 – 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 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.
Point is…. you build this into your email automations so that you’re not having to do it manually.
Enhance It With Marketing Automation Tools
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. 🙂
So, using such tools, you set up an automation that will keep track of how many times they log in. After a certain number of logins, you can automatically trigger an automation to ask them for a testimonial.
Using WP Fusion’s Login add-on, you could even automatically route them to your testimonial form page right after they login.
#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.
Instead of showing testimonials right in your emails, you could alternatively just link them to your testimonials page. If that page is being auto-updated to show new ones as they come in, then this puts the whole thing on autopilot.
#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 didit with Drip.
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.
You could set up the same system with tools other than Drip.
This will increase your conversion rate on the testimonial form.
#4 – Automate Post-Delivery Sequence
Up above, I mentioned putting testimonial gathering at the end of your product. However, taking this to the next level, you can set up automated systems to do that after you have delivered any product or service.
For information-based businesses, you employ marketing automation. When they complete a course, for instance, you automatically tag them as having completed. You then trigger an automation to send them emails asking for feedback via your testimonial form.
For service businesses, the same concept applies. Many service businesses finish delivering and… that’s it. They don’t ask for testimonials as a matter of routine.
All service businesses should have a customer database. They should be using a CRM with some automation capability. So, you set up an automated process (and probably a procedure checklist for yourself) so that whenever you’re done delivering a service to a client, you add a tag to their profile which, in turn, triggers a feedback sequence.
Basically, it comes down to this…
Your business is a FLOW. It is an assembly line. Your customer contacts you, is closed, pays, you deliver. But, after delivery should be an automatic step to get a success story from them.
#5 – Run A Regular Net Promoter Score Survey
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.