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    Picture of Mike Rand
    By Mike Rand in March, 2017 | 5 minute read

    Referral Marketing - SaaS

    Using Customer Testimonials for SaaS Marketing

    Trust is a big factor when businesses start making decisions about their software. Customer testimonials are a great way to build trust for your SaaS, especially if you're a new player on the market.

    If you’ve explored any business websites, you’ve likely noticed sliders and scrolling displays containing customer testimonials. Today’s customers thrive on information and are more likely to purchase a product or subscribe to a service after looking at reviews and reading testimonials.

    In fact, one survey by Dimensional Research, a tech market research firm, showed that 90% of customers claim their buying decisions are impacted by positive reviews. If you’re interested in using customer testimonials for SaaS marketing, there are few tactics you should consider and a few rules you should follow.

    Using Customer Testimonials at Specific Stages

    Customer testimonials are especially useful for marketing to potential customers during the consideration and decision stages of the buyer’s journey. At these stages, a lead may have already invested some time in learning about your SaaS and they are comparing their options and considering a purchase.

    You can include testimonials in emails, case studies, product literature, sales collateral, and elsewhere.

    Using customer testimonials for SaaS marketing at the top of the funnel is also a great way to build trust with website visitors and establish more credibility. As mentioned above, you can include testimonials on your homepage in the form of sliders or scrolling graphics. You can also intersperse them on pages throughout your website or you can dedicate and an entire page to customer testimonials.

    Getting More Testimonials

    Of course, you have to actually obtain them before using customer testimonials for SaaS marketing. If you’ve enlisted an army of trial users for your SaaS, you’ve already established a working relationship with them.

    They're a good place to start. You can obtain customer testimonials from your current customers or any individuals who have used a trial version of your SaaS. That's only if it was clear to the user from the beginning that you intended to do so, of course.

    You may be tempted to use any comments from your business pages on social media or from review sites, but there are specific rules about doing so. The U.S. Small Business Administration has posted a set of guidelines that you can refer to for more in-depth information.

    Generally, you can’t copy and paste people’s reviews on other sites and present them as part of your own marketing materials. The users themselves have ownership of those comments. Using them would be infringing upon copyright laws.

    Plug-ins are available that can link website visitors to third-party review sites or your social media platforms, however. You can also install plug-ins that present social media reviews on your website. These plug-ins also make it clear to visitors where the reviews are coming from so there is no confusion about how they were obtained.

    SaaS Marketing Guide

    The only downside is that the reviews that come through may not always be positive.

    Ask your Customers!

    You can ask for them in your email interactions, on social media posts, through surveys on your website, and in other places. In fact, you can create your own dedicated web page for accepting customer testimonials. You can then provide links to it in your sales and marketing materials.

    Send out an email campaign with a link to your page. Web designers can help you build a website that gets you more customer testimonials.

    Rules for Using Customer Testimonials

    Using customer testimonials for SaaS marketing can be a powerful way of establishing authority, credibility, and trust among your potential customers, but you have to be careful with how you use them. In some cases, there can be legal implications for the misuse of customer testimonials. Here are some guidelines to follow:

    • Be Transparent

    Make customers aware that their comments may be used as a testimonial. Do this before they provide commentary. If you are asking for customer testimonials online or through your points of contact, you simply need to include language that states this clearly. The best testimonials are obtained through transparent means, not underhanded ones.

    To alleviate any concerns about whether or not you can use a testimonial, you can ask for written permission. This also protects you in the case that a customer wishes to retract their statement. Written permission can be obtained by including language in your Terms of Service and your Privacy Policy or by asking for a digital signature up front.

    • Use Review Sites Properly

    We all get excited when we find good reviews on review sites. However, we don't automatically have a license to use them as testimonials. Most review sites have clear guidelines about who has ownership of the posted reviews (usually the reviewer) and how they may be used. Misuse of the commentary on third-party review sites can lead to copyright issues.

    This also includes social media sites and the comments on your business page.

    Before using a piece of commentary from a review site or social networking site, read their terms of service. If you use a customer’s full name and image, that customer needs to approve of it. If you do want to use testimonials from review sites, those testimonials need to be made anonymous.

    You can’t use any photos or any individuals’ last names. Of course, the best way to use commentary from a third party site is to ask the customer directly. If they already gave you a good review, they will be more likely to agree.

    • Maintain the Integrity of Testimonials

    Most people can tell when quoted materials have been doctored to fit the agenda of the party presenting them. Misquoting and manipulating testimonials to fit your needs degrades the authenticity of the testimonial. It can also make you look untrustworthy.

    In some cases, you can use an ellipsis (…) in a quote to skip over language that is redundant or irrelevant. Use [brackets] to designate grammar corrections and [sic] to designated uncorrected errors. Beyond that, keep your testimonials true to their original form.

    Using Customer Testimonials for SaaS Marketing

    If you’re strapped for testimonials, you can make obtaining more customer testimonials a dedicated marketing effort. By leveraging the power of surveys and website optimization, you can get more testimonials as part of a single effort or an ongoing one. If you need extra help, lean on an external marketing team.

    They'll create the surveys and the web designs you need. They can also teach you more about using customer testimonials for SaaS marketing. Most importantly, they'll show you how to use other marketing tactics to get more customers.

    SaaS Marketing

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