Getting customers and clients to give testimonials and reviews seems like pulling teeth sometimes, even though 86% of consumers would consider writing a review for a business according to Brightlocal.

When we do get those reviews, too often, we often get a bland, “good,” or a zesty, “highly recommend.”

The positive feedback we get just doesn’t seem all that enthusiastic. And, what we really need is the client’s story, and not just a ranking and a word or two.

The most influential testimonial is a story – hence the advent of uncountable influencers on social media. Those that are good at it will provide a narrative around the product or service. They tell a compelling story about their experience and this then moves their audiences to take action, or at the very least leaves them with a positive impression about the product or service.

According to Martech Zone, great reviews can get consumers to spend 31% more, so getting that critical testimonial is more important than ever.

Unfortunately, most of our clients and customers aren’t professional influencers. So, what we need to do as businesses is help them tell the story of their experience, and record it so we can share it with the world.

6 Questions to Get the Client’s Story for Content Marketing

  • Before you purchased, what was your main concern about the product/service?
  • What did you find was the result of buying from/working with us?
  • What specific thing did you like most about the product/service?
  • What would you say are the top 3 benefits of this product/service for you?
  • Would you recommend this product/service? If so, why?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

These questions elicit the thought process and mental conversation the customer was having as they made the decision to buy, and how they felt about it afterward. That insight into their minds is what makes a truly moving testimonial.

Why are these client stories important?

To quickly sum it up, there are 3 fantastic reasons that testimonials are powerhouses for driving revenue:

  • Natural content for your site and social media.
  • More believable than you (the business/brand) are to potential consumers.
  • Social proof that your service/product is being used by real people.

If you want to see the statistics that back these reasons up, check out our article 3 Data-Backed Reasons Testimonials are Essential.

Just a little snippet from that article:

66% of Americans trust an anonymous online review more than they trust a recommendation from an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend

So, testimonials make fantastic user-generated content, are more trust-inspiring, and more compelling than anything else except for word-of-mouth. Hence, getting fantastic reviews is really, really important for sales, conversions, and content marketing.

6 Questions to Create Compelling Testimonial Content

Before you purchased, what was your main concern about the product/service?

This is a fantastic question because no matter how ready a person is to buy, there is always a concern lurking in their mind. That concern could be cost, time investment, availability, or relevance, or a bunch of other issues that a potential buyer might have.

What did you find was the result of buying from/working with us?

This is the important follow-up question to the first. You are asking your customer to explain how your product or service addressed the concerns they had going in.

What happens is that a real client is telling a potential future client about results, instead of your marketing material making the claim. It’s much more believable coming from a peer than a pamphlet.

What specific thing did you like most about the product/service?

Traditionally, when we are asking about our feelings on a product as a whole, we tend to give vague responses that aren’t really that compelling. When we prompt a client to identify a specific feature or aspect, they will better articulate their happiness and satisfaction and may even surprise you by mentioning something that your marketing could emphasize more.

What would you say are the top 3 benefits of this product/service for you?

Since you have them thinking about one important feature, you can now go a little wider and see what else the client found useful. Asking for a number of benefits gets the client to really evaluate their experience.

Also, going ahead and asking them to give you three of the top benefits is a natural segue to generate a list. And as we all know, people love lists. “Top 5 Secrets About….” or “11 Things You Need To…” are examples of the phenomenon. Humans just respond naturally to lists and getting your customer to make one is tremendous for your future content marketing.

Would you recommend this product/service? If so, why?

This is a standard question, but since we are asking it after getting the client to recall their experience more vividly, they are more likely to give a very enthusiastic response, as well as provide more details about why they would recommend it to someone.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

This is also a pretty standard question, but again since we have opened up the buyer’s memory of the experience, we are more likely to get insights and feedback that we might not have otherwise. This is a catchall question that invites suggestions for improvements as well as demonstrating that you are a business that listens to its customers, and is genuinely interested in knowing more about how they can better serve them.

How Should You Document These Reviews?

Undoubtedly, getting testimonials on video is the best way to document and share it. Written reviews are good, but when you really want to stand out in the marketing environment, video is king.

There are some options to getting customers to video record their experience – you can have them jump on a virtual conference call and record it. That can be great if both parties have decent webcams, non-distracting backgrounds, good internet connections. Or, you can invite them to create a video review themselves, or have them stop by your office where you can record it yourself. Both these routes also need to have good cameras and non-distracting backgrounds.

The second is to take a written testimonial and hire someone to record it. You will have to pay the actor for their work and include a disclaimer on the video that the review is genuine and just being re-enacted by the actor. These can turn out really well with the right on-camera talent, but sometimes they can come across as insincere since the actor isn’t actually the client.

The third, and best option, is to get your client or customer recorded by professionals. Before you start feeling overwhelmed, this is actually much more doable than it might seem.

Technology being what it is, a lot of what used to take 10+ people on a set all day to create can now be done by one person with a great camera and knowledge of editing software. So, hiring a videography professional is not something that will break the bank.

Next, a professional will do all the recording and editing for you, while you talk with your customer from on or off camera and ask them the questions that really get to the heart of why your customer is so satisfied with your service or product. You can focus on them, and then your videographer can edit it all into a cohesive, understandable story that you can then share all over the place.

On the plus side, when you tell clients that you are hiring a professional videographer to record their testimonial, it makes them feel extra-special, and they are very likely to share with their friends and family on social media that they are going to be on video.

Consider scheduling a day-long shoot, and inviting your clients to participate. Schedule them for time slots, and get firm commitments from them that they will attend. Then you will have all that content recorded in one day, and you can drip feed it out over time, all while saving money because you booked the videographer for a day, instead of piecemeal one-off projects.

Finally, when you hire a specialist, it frees you to spend your time doing what you do best: work on your business.

Ask the Right Questions To Get the Best Testimonials To Use in Your Content Marketing

User-generated content will make more of an impact than any other content you create for your content marketing campaign. To maximize on that content, get to the heart of why your customers decided to purchase from your business and the reasons why they would recommend you to others.

Go from bland, boring “5 stars, would recommend,” to insightful, memorable, and completely human stories by asking the right questions. Whether you get them in a written format or on video, you will be able to increase your revenue and conversions when you include your powerful testimonials into your content marketing, social media, and sales pages.