Who is a new client most likely to trust: your opinion of your services, or the opinion of those in the same boat as they are?
Getting a second, third or fourth opinion of a company is par for the course these days, but it’s not just about word of mouth. Word of mouse is equally as valuable.
In fact, 88% of consumers say that they place as much trust in online reviews as they do in recommendations by someone they know personally. What’s written about you on the web by your existing or previous customers, carries enormous weight and plays a major role in shaping the customer journey. It’s a discussion that you really need to influence as much as you can.
Of course, even with the best customer service in the world, you can’t guarantee a great review on a third party site. But you can make sure that your customers’ glowing feedback takes centre stage in your content marketing strategy.
Done well, and at the right point in the customer journey, testimonials and case studies make for excellent content marketing examples. For a potential buyer who is already interested in what you do, has already begun to build an affinity with your brand, but is still a little hesitant about whether to bite, they can help to assuage doubts, answer vital questions and fill in any gaps. And, of course, they boost your credibility along the way.
But the key here, as ever, is “done well”. Many companies make the mistake of publishing testimonials that are too bland to really make a difference. The problem here is twofold. First, people are cynical, and an overly brief or generalised testimonial gives the impression that the words could have been truncated, taken out of context or just plain faked.
Secondly, your customers aren’t looking for someone to tell them in broad terms that you’re great, or smart, or fun to work with. They are looking for solid details that tell them that this person’s problem resembled their own – and that you knew how to fix it. They want specifics. They want numbers. They want as much breakdown about the ROI as they can possibly get. They want to get the feeling that someone else was right here, in their shoes, and you walked them all the way to the destination they were hoping for.
That’s why “We loved working with XYZ. They helped to make us much more productive while cutting our costs” is never going to be half as effective as something like: “We hired XYZ because we wanted to reduce our costs by 5% without undermining our sales targets. Not only did their solution exceed expectations by cutting infrastructure costs by 10%, we also saw sales growth of 20% in the first quarter without having to increase overtime.”
Even better (for content marketing purposes) are in-depth case studies, which give background on the client and their situation and take the reader or viewer through the entire process from problem to successful solution and results. Telling the story behind the problem, including the challenges that arose along the way and how these were addressed, is a highly engaging way to show off your expertise and capabilities, while giving potential clients a taster of what working with you will be like. A word to the wise, though – make sure your clients are totally on board with what you’re trying to achieve. Never use a testimonial for any marketing purpose without their express permission and final sign-off of names, job titles and so on.
Maintaining this dialogue is essential for securing clients’ trust, but it’s also an unmissable chance to gather feedback about your company, your solution and the pain points in their industry that will prove invaluable as you take your content marketing forward. Don’t waste the opportunity!
For more great advice and content marketing examples, click here to download the B2B Content Creation Masterclass below.