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How to Ask for Testimonials: 7 Tips from Top Brands

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

Nearly three in four consumers (72 percent) say positive testimonials boost their trust in an e-commerce brand. Eighty-eight percent go so far as to say they trust testimonials as much as a personal recommendation from friends or family. 

And here’s the kicker. Forty-two percent of e-commerce shoppers want more testimonials from online brands. Put these stats together, and it’s clear that 1) testimonials can have a huge impact on building trust, and 2) there’s a demand for a larger number of them. 

So, you should be using this to improve the perception of your e-commerce brand and make shoppers more comfortable buying from you. But how exactly do you go about doing this?

Here’s how to ask for testimonials and real-life examples from e-commerce stores that have nailed it. 

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Pick the Perfect Timing

Seventy-seven percent of e-commerce customers are willing to create a testimonial when asked, which is encouraging. But a critical part of getting them on board is asking them at the right time. 

According to Reviews.io, the optimal time frame is anywhere from 7 to 30 days after the buyer journey has been completed. “Ideally, the product will not only have arrived, but the customer will also have had a decent chance to use it,” they explain.

“This way, they can get as informed as possible and leave a review that’s really insightful and of high quality, covering everything from the on-site experience to delivery speed and quality of the item received.”

To find the sweet spot, I suggest experimenting with a few different times to see when your customers are most receptive to leaving a testimonial.

For instance, you could:

  • Ask a customer for one after seven days
  • Ask another customer after ten days
  • Ask another customer after 14 days
  • Ask another customer after 21 days
  • Ask another customer after 30 days

See which timeframe your customers are most responsive to, and then, once you find the sweet spot, rinse and repeat. 

For example, if you read through the testimonials of beauty and skincare brand Bliss, you’ll notice that most of the feedback is left three to four weeks after a customer makes a purchase. 

Here’s the product page for their “Lemon & Sage Soapy Suds” body wash.

And here are some of the testimonials, along with the date when customers bought this body wash and when they left their feedback.

Provide Examples

Here’s the scenario. You have a satisfied customer who’s enjoyed using your product and is more than happy to leave you a testimonial. But when you ask for one, they’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for, how it should be formatted, how long it should be, and so on. 

In turn, this can leave them feeling overwhelmed, which can create unnecessary friction. The solution? I suggest offering a customer an example—either an actual review or a template they can draw from.

That way, they can instantly see what you’re going for and quickly produce a testimonial without thinking too much about it. Let’s take a look at mattress and sleep brand Casper as an example.

They have an entire section of their site dedicated to reviews

So, if they wanted to ask a customer to leave a testimonial, they could point them to that section, allowing the customer to get a feel for the types of reviews others have left.

Following this route should get the wheels turning in the minds of your customers and help them create rock-solid testimonials without stressing out. 

Give Customers Suggestions on What to Talk About

You can take this strategy one step further by asking customers a few key questions to ensure their testimonial hits its mark. 

Testimonials should be written in a way that helps you sell, so you should have customers address the most burning questions and concerns e-commerce shoppers have.

Here’s an example. Bohemia Design is a brand that sells contemporary, ethical, handmade products.

They “believe in handmade; perfectly imperfect wares crafted slowly from natural materials locally sourced. Goods made by hand bear the characters of their creator, the nuances, and eccentricities integral to each piece.”

They’ve done an amazing job at leveraging testimonials and currently have nearly 900 of them for shoppers to view on their site.

Whenever a shopper clicks on this section, they’re taken to this page.

Here they can check out all of the reviews other customers have left.

And more importantly, Bohemia Design allows them to leave their own review. They start by simply choosing how many stars they want to give the brand. 

Then, the Bohemia Design prompts them by mentioning specific things to discuss in their review, including customer service, price, delivery, and returns and refunds. 

This helps customers zero in on what Bohemia Design is looking for and streamlines the overall process. So, keep this in mind when asking for testimonials and provide a bit of guidance to point customers in the right direction.

Offer an Incentive

Let’s be honest. Getting a customer to take the time out of their day to sit down and write out a testimonial is often easier said than done. Even if they love their purchase and trust your brand, it takes effort and brainpower. 

Given how busy many peoples’ lives are and how much information they’re bombarded with every day, it often takes some motivation to get them to take action. That’s why I recommend sweetening the deal with an incentive to get customers to follow through. 

“An easy way to do this is by providing an incentive for submitting a testimonial—like a gift card of their choosing, or company swag,” says Sophia Bernazzani of HubSpot

That’s what kids and baby furniture brand The Land of Nod did in a recent campaign. 

Source: CoSchedule.

Here they give customers a chance to win a $500 gift card by leaving a review. The more reviews they write, the more chances they have to win. You can also hook up your customers with a discount on their next order by leaving a testimonial.

Here’s the approach “tough” footwear and clothing company Wolverine takes where they offer 20 percent off apparel by clicking on the product a customer purchased and leaving a review. 

I know that would certainly pique my interest. 

To find the perfect incentive that motivates customers to leave testimonials without breaking the bank, I suggest doing some experimentation to see the response rate with different incentives. 

For example, you might run campaigns with the following incentives:

  • A $5 gift card
  • A $10 gift card
  • A $20 gift card
  • 5 percent off the next order
  • 10 percent off the next order
  • 20 percent off the next order

Then, use the data to see how low you can go and still get a sizable response. It’s all about creating a juicy, enticing incentive while keeping your profit margins intact. 

Create Urgency

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had a company ask for your input through a testimonial but skipped it right away to get to it later?

I know I have. I can think of several occasions where I’ve legitimately liked a brand and was impressed with their product but just didn’t feel compelled to leave a testimonial simply because I was wrapped up with something else at the moment.

This is a pretty common phenomenon, and without creating urgency, many would-be positive testimonials can end up slipping through your fingers. That’s why it’s smart to encourage customers to leave a testimonial as soon as possible, as this should considerably increase your response rate.

Here’s a good example that digital marketing expert Mark Brinkler offers in a testimonial template.

Toward the end of the email, he asks the customer to leave a testimonial in the next day or two, while still sounding casual.

Give Customers Multiple Mediums to Choose From

Up until this point, I’ve discussed how to:

  • Choose the proper time to ask for a testimonial
  • Make it easy for customers to leave one by offering examples
  • Make suggestions for specific points to cover
  • Decide which incentives to offer
  • Use urgency to get customers to take immediate action

But what about the actual mediums for leaving a testimonial?

There are several different channels you can potentially use, but I find that these three tend to work best:

  1. Email
  2. A link on your website
  3. Social media

Here’s an example of each. First, there’s email outreach from Casper, where they ask a customer how they slept after testing their specialty, ultra-comfortable bed sheets. 

I like it because it’s quick and to the point and features the exact product the customer purchased. 

Next, there’s a website link.

Home mobility company Silver Cross has a testimonials page on their site where customers can get detailed input from customers who have already bought in the past. 

And Silver Cross has a page where customers can conveniently leave a testimonial to share their experience.

On it, they help walk customers through the process quickly and painlessly, prompting them to include their name, location, numerical rating, and custom testimonial. 

I also like that they include previous testimonials to give customers an idea of how to format it, which goes back to the point I made earlier about giving customers an example. 

When it comes to using social media for outreach, there’s Clek, a brand that sells “award-winning infant car seats, convertible car seats, and booster seats.”

When a customer visits their Facebook page, they see this “Reviews” section.

By clicking on it, they can sift through a ton of helpful reviews from Clek’s customers to gain detailed insights on what using their products is like. 

And by clicking on either yes or no under “Do you recommend clek,” customers can provide their own input based on their personal experience.

So, for example, if they like Clek and clicked on “Yes,” they can leave a positive review and post it with ease.

Every customer has their own preferred means of communication, so having a few different options like these allows them to leave a review in a way that’s convenient for them. 

Be Proactive About Asking for Testimonials (But Not Annoying)

The final question many e-commerce store owners have when wondering how to ask for testimonials is how aggressive they should be. Ask different experts, and you’ll get different answers. 

For instance, some recommend asking for a testimonial, and if you don’t get a response within a few days, ask again with a follow-up. Others say that it’s better to only ask for an initial testimonial, and if you don’t get a response, let it go and forget the follow-up. 

My stance is that sending a follow-up is usually okay, as long as you’re polite. However, I would advise against sending multiple follow-ups because this can come across as annoying and a little desperate, which isn’t going to do you any favors. 

The bottom line is that you should proactively seek out testimonials because otherwise, you’re unlikely to have much success. That said, you shouldn’t be a pest because it’s going to turn off customers and create friction that prevents repeat sales. 

So, use your best judgment here. 

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Conclusion

“The regular use of customer testimonials can help you generate roughly 62 percent more revenue not only from every customer but from every time they visit your brand.”

This stat shows firsthand how big of an impact testimonials can have and that they can be instrumental in taking your e-commerce store to the next level.

But a common question store owners have is how to ask for testimonials. 

Fortunately, it’s not rocket science, and it simply involves following the formula, which I outlined above. 

It’s just a matter of finding a recipe that works for you and tweaking it until it’s just right. 

What are some specific things that motivate you to leave a testimonial?

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