Beyond Testimonials: How to Use Valuable Stories from your Clients

marketing social proof

In the marketing-driven world, customer reviews can be a game-changer for any business. A good review on Yelp leads to higher average paychecks, a positive review on Glassdoor improves employee retention, and a well-written case study gives people an idea of what it’s like to work with you. 

As buyers, we are always looking for cues to confirm that our purchasing decisions are safe, cool, or in line with our values. The art of gathering and sharing reviews, video testimonials, case studies, etc. is called social proof. Social proof is the powerful concept of using your customers’ stories to build trust and attract more clients. 

But there’s a catch. 

Traditional social proof in online marketing

In the online marketing world, many people treat testimonials in a certain way. For example, businesses might ask a client directly for a review, making the client feel like they need to don a marketing persona. Or the other side of the coin, businesses might just wait and hope that these testimonials come up organically and that these will just be naturally good and useful. 

These common practices in internet marketing don’t actually help you gather compelling and relatable experiences and journeys. They fall into either extracting forced stories or hoping clients give awesome testimonies. 

Most people think of testimonials like this or even try to gather them this way. We’re by no means saying that you won’t get any reviews if you fall into one of these categories. The truth is that you absolutely will get some testimonials and reviews. 

But, these stories might not give you that je ne sais quoi that will set you apart and will help you attract the types of customers you want to work with. 

So, how do you gather and tell valuable stories?

It’s important to establish, from the beginning, that part of the customer experience within your business is these comfortable spaces and multiple opportunities. So, customers know they can celebrate and share their stories, and that you will acknowledge their wins.  

Maybe you’ve reached the point where quality is more important than quantity. Now you want to implement a paradigm shift to establish the culture of your business as a place where clients are celebrated. Where they have continuous opportunities to share their story and their wins (big and small).

Client focus over self-focus

Make sure to create a space where the focus is not on you, but instead on clients acknowledging their achievements and taking a moment to pat themselves on the back.

What's important is to create a space where your customers feel comfortable and excited to share their stories with you, giving you an opportunity to collect and capture their stories without making them feel obligated to share. 

The name of the game is trust

You want to create the best of both worlds, by encouraging and guiding clients to talk about their journey naturally, but also use those stories to your advantage. 

Gather these stories intentionally. Give your clients the space to be themselves. You’ll have a much more powerful marketing strategy than low-quality testimonials. 

When it comes to building trust, painting a picture of what’s possible when someone works with you will lead the way to remove skepticism and construct that moment of “if they can do it, so can I.”