For most businesses, promoting products and attracting clients is key to making a profit. However, getting your business on people’s radar is a lot harder than it looks.
One strategy that has consistently been proven to work is word-of-mouth, such as testimonials and referrals.
ReferralCandy found consumers pay 2x more attention to recommendations from people they know. Word-of-mouth is also trusted by around 86% of consumers, which makes it the most trusted form of marketing.
It’s easy to think getting referrals and testimonials occur naturally if you do a good job. However, you need to be proactive in approaching clients and getting referrals that can propel your business forward.
Before everything else, let’s define business referrals and testimonials.
A business referral is a word-of-mouth marketing tactic that involves getting customers to advocate for your brand. When people recommend your brand to their network — you’re actually getting a referral.
While receiving referrals seems like a natural process, you can also incentivize customers and clients to promote your business to their network. Incentives can be in the form of freebies, discounts, and cash rewards.
For example, Postable lets customers earn $5 of credit for each friend they refer.
A testimonial is an endorsement of your product or service. It's a statement from your customers that affirm your business can deliver what you’ve promised.
According to research, 72% of consumers state positive testimonials boost their trust in a business. In addition, 88% of consumers trust testimonials as much as word-of-mouth recommendations from family or friends.
For example, Soko Glam’s homepage has testimonials with praises from consumers who use their product.
When customers contemplate their purchasing decisions, referrals and testimonials are one of the most trusted sources of information. Not surprisingly, we’re more likely to trust feedback from our network and fellow customers than sponsored marketing messages.
Here are some statistics that show why referrals and testimonials matter:
Because referrals and testimonials are reliable, they’re more likely to help you attract new customers or prospects.
Here are some of the best ways you can use referrals and testimonials.
Short testimonials on your homepage are a great way to foster interest in your business. They’re short and simple, but they could encourage customers to sign-up.
For example, Basecamp includes testimonials in the form of short quotes on their homepage. The highlighted quotes are from big companies like NASA, Shopify, and 3M, which further highlight their credibility.
A good tip is to present referrals or testimonials as blog posts. Ideally, this should be a customer’s detailed account of using your products, as well as the benefits they’ve experienced.
Airbnb’s host stories narrate the experiences of Airbnb hosts. Its goal is to encourage more people to join and open up their homes for visitors.
Video testimonials use simple storytelling to highlight the benefits that customers experienced. People love to hear reviews from real people, so it's a good way to present your testimonials.
RokuTV creates testimonial videos to allow customers to hear from real-life users.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can ask for referrals and testimonials from your customers.
Referral programs incentivize customers to refer your business to their peers in exchange for rewards. Since people are more likely to believe referrals, this is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers.
Most referral programs reward both referrers and the referred individuals to make the process happen. For example, Italic's referral program lets customers give a friend $15 off their first order. In exchange, they also get $15 for each friend that orders using their referral link.
Building your referral program may seem complicated; however, solutions like ReferralCandy enable you to create an automated referral system for your business.
You can launch a referral program that offers rewards and freebies—but not all small businesses can afford to reward every customer in exchange for a referral. As an alternative, you can launch a giveaway and contest with a few grand prizes instead. You can also set a promo period to encourage customers to participate as soon as possible.
Online retailer Huckberry’s contest encouraged participants to refer their brand in exchange for a $10 credit when they purchase. To bolster motivation, they also offered round-trip plane tickets and carry-on with packed gear to first prize winners.
Most businesses have an email list of their customer base.
Take advantage of this perk by sending surveys asking for referrals or testimonials. This way, you can get testimonials and praises for your promotional marketing materials.
You can use Google Forms or Typeform to launch online surveys asking for referrals. In addition, you could also include a customer satisfaction survey to identify points of improvement for your business.
If you want to attract a specific customer or company, you can try to find specific clients or leads on LinkedIn.
The Advanced People Search feature lets you find mutual connections. If you have shared connections, you can reach out to this individual to ask if it would be possible to give you an introduction to your target client.
Because word-of-mouth recommendations are more trustworthy, this is a more effective strategy compared to sending cold emails.
Most customers or clients won’t refer your business to others unless you ask.
Here’s a sample of a testimonial request email you can send:
Good day [customer / client name]
Thank you so much for being one of our most valued customers. In the past few years, you’ve achieved [insert milestones] by working with your business, we hope you’re satisfied with working with us.
In the foreseeable future, we’re hoping to attract more customers and grow our business. As such, we would like to ask whether you know any businesses or colleagues that would benefit from our products and services.
If possible, we would like to ask for a short testimonial regarding your thoughts about our business. Would you mind sharing how our products and services have helped you? Did our offerings meet your expectations?
We look forward to hearing from you.
You’re more likely to get good responses with a personalized email. And If you don’t get a reply on your first try, don’t be shy about sending a follow-up email.
If you’re in the B2B industry with companies or businesses as clients, it’s possible to make the first move and offer testimonials and referrals to them first. This way, they’re motivated to return the favor and give good recommendations for your services — when you ask.
A good tip is to only do this tactic for businesses and clients that you can vouch for. After all, this tactic is a double-edged sword. Your relationship with your target audience is also a stake. If a business or client offers subpar services, your customers will end up losing your trust.
Now that you know why referrals and testimonials matter, make an effort to get them from customers or clients.
Launch your own referral program and giveaways to encourage people to refer your business through rewards and incentives. You can also take a proactive approach and ask clients yourselves or make the first move and offer referrals first.
If you’re having trouble getting referrals, reach out to Fiverr’s business tips, business plans, and customer care services. Our marketing experts know what it takes to reach out to customers and get their word-of-mouth recommendations.