How to Get Customer Testimonials on Autopilot
It's Tuesday morning, coffee in hand you open your laptop to read your emails.
In your inbox, you notice a message saying "Well done, you've just received a new testimonial!" You open the email and read the amazing results John obtained after following your coaching program.
With a smile on your face, you open your WordPress dashboard, approve the testimonial and all of your sales pages are automatically updated with John's raving praise.
And the best thing is, you didn't even have to beg John to leave you a testimonial! Everything happened without you lifting a finger.
What an amazing way to start the day, you think while closing WordPress and going back to work...
Sounds like something that would never happen to you? Yet, it's possible!
Let me show you how you can create a set-and-forget customer testimonial engine in less than 30 minutes!
To set up this complete system, you'll need the following tools:
- A WordPress website
- Thrive Ovation, our all-in-one testimonial plugin
- An email marketing service (such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Aweber, etc.)
- A free email delivery system (such as Mandrill or Postmark)
Now, I'm going to assume you already have a website and an email marketing service set up.
Let's have a look at how they all work together to create your customer testimonial engine...
The System: Step by Step
Here's how your testimonial engine works:
After someone purchased from you, they'll receive an automatic follow-up email asking for a testimonial.
The link in the email will lead back to a testimonial capture form on your website.
When the happy customer fills out the form, the testimonial is stored and labeled in Thrive Ovation. At this point, you receive an email notification to approve the new testimonial.
And once you received the first testimonial, you'll be able to use to the dynamic content display of Thrive Ovation. This will allow you to automatically update the pages where the testimonials are shown (such as your sales pages) without ever having to edit them again manually.
Ready? Let's set it up!
1. Create Testimonial Capture Pages
The first key to creating a customer testimonial engine is to create a central place to gather testimonials.
Most people get testimonials via email or through social media. They try to save screenshots and have a document where they copy paste snippets of text. This is far from ideal... You want to be deliberate about capturing and storing your testimonials so that when you need them, they are only a click away.
I suggest you create one testimonial capture page per product unless you're an e-commerce store. This will allow you to apply the appropriate tags when you receive a new testimonial. Later, these tags will help you to sort and automatically display the most relevant testimonials.
Setting up a testimonial capture page on your site is easy:
- Create a new page on your WordPress website
- Insert a capture testimonial form on the page
- Apply a tag to the testimonial capture form with the name of your product (you'll see in a few seconds why this is crucial)
While inserting the testimonial capture form is a 2-second task, you'll want to take a moment reflecting on the right questions to ask to get kick-ass testimonials.
If you're looking for help, sign up for the free testimonial mini-course in Thrive University. Lesson 2 is all about the right way to ask questions so that you'll get testimonials that:
- Are relatable
- Address objections
- Use real language
- Show results
Now that you have a central place to capture the testimonials let's have a look at the importance of tagging.
2. Apply Smart Tagging & Use Dynamic Content
You're almost done writing your sales page, the only thing left is adding testimonials.
"Was it Sally or Nadia who sent me an email saying she loved the downloadable bonus PDF's in my online course?"
37 Minutes later you give up. You can't find that specific testimonial anymore... Too bad it would really add social proof to your sales page!
Smart tagging allows you to find the perfect testimonial in seconds.
Every testimonial in Thrive Ovation can have one or more tags that you can use as a filter to quickly find the appropriate one from your testimonial library. These tags will also allow you to create dynamic testimonial displays that update automatically.
This means that rather than selecting manually each testimonial, you can choose the number of testimonials to display that have a specific tag. When a new testimonial with that tag is added, the display will automatically show the new testimonial.
This is super powerful, you'll never have to go into your sales pages again to update testimonials manual.
But, you'll have to be smart about it...
The most basic tagging level is the product level (that's why I told you to add it automatically for each testimonial capture form).
Let me give you a specific example on how we use testimonial tags at Thrive Themes.
When somebody leaves us a testimonial for Thrive Leads through the Thrive Leads testimonial capture form, the tag "TL" gets added to each and every testimonial submitted.
This means that now, we could show all Thrive Leads testimonials on the sales page using the dynamic content and choosing the "TL" tag.
This is already better than what roughly 99% of online businesses are doing. But we take it one step further (and I suggest you do too!)
When approving the testimonial we'll manually add additional tags.
These tags are more specific such as "competition". This means that somebody mentioned one of our competitors or "A/B testing" this means someone mentioned specifically how much they liked the A/B testing feature of Thrive Leads or "price" when someone mentions how good of a deal it is.
This takes only a few seconds to do but will literally save hours when writing a sales page!
Now we can display testimonials in very specific areas of the sales page. Finding these specific testimonials is as simple as applying a filter for a specific tag. And again, thanks to the dynamic content option, we can have these testimonials up to date.
3. Set up Email Notifications to Inform You About New Testimonials
Alright, now that you have the testimonial capture pages set up and you're applying smart tagging, let's make sure you're always informed when a new testimonial is submitted through one of these forms.
When a testimonial is submitted through a form, it will automatically go to "Awaiting Review". This allows you to approve the original testimonial before displaying it on your website or to accept it after turning a good testimonial into a great testimonial through some minor editing.
Because asking for and getting the testimonials will happen without you ever thinking about it, you might forget to check your Thrive Ovation dashboard about new testimonials.
That's why setting up email notifications to inform you about new testimonials is a smart thing to do.
STEP 1: Create the Notification
In the Thrive Dashboard, there's a little gem called "notification manager". I know, I know, it doesn't sound all that exciting but it's pretty cool when you discover the possibilities.
To receive an email when someone submits a testimonial through a testimonial capture form, simply:
- Click on the "add new" button
- Select "Testimonials" and click on the "Save and Continue" button
- Click on "Send Email Notification" and fill out the information
- Use the [testimonial_details] shortcode in the message if you want to receive the details of the submitted testimonial. By using this tag you'll actually get the full testimonial by email and will be able to assess it on the spot (or just get a happy boost ;-) )
- That's it! Click "Save notification"
If you've used the notification manager before to get email notifications when you're collecting a new lead or when an A/B test is finished, you're all done. But if this is the first time you're using it, you'll need to continue with step 2.
STEP 2: Set Up Email Delivery
Now, for the notification manager to be able to actually send the notification email you'll need to have the "Email Delivery" set up.
We integrate with a bunch of email delivery services, but I suggest you use either Mandrill if you have a MailChimp account (you will be able to use your MailChimp details) or PostMark. You can sign up for PostMark for free and you'll get 25 000 emails before having to pay anything.
4. Program the Email Follow-up
Everything is set up on your site. The very last thing to do is fuel your engine.
You'll have to ask for testimonials.
Please, don't run away now!
I know asking for testimonials is not a fun thing to do and might even scare the hell out of you, but hear me out.
I suggest you set up an automatic email that gets sent shortly after someone purchases your product or service.
Any decent email marketing provider will allow you to program follow-up emails.
At Thrive Themes, we typically send an email 31 days after purchase. This allows our customers to test the plugin(s) they bought and to get results from using them.
If you're wondering what you should write in the email, have a look at these 9 Real Testimonial Asking Emails to get some inspiration. And off course, don't forget to link to the appropriate testimonial capture page you created on your site.
Your Turn To Get Customer Testimonials on Autopilot
What do you think? Have you already set this up? Have you seen a difference in the number of testimonials you received? Let me know in the comments below!