You may have not heard of Y Media Labs. But this is a company that is today trusted by some of the biggest companies for their digital strategy services. The company boasts of clients like Home Depot, Paypal and L’Oreal. And all of this started when Steve Jobs complimented them in an email for designing one of the very first iPad apps. Testimonials, especially from people your customers trust or adore, can help catapult your startup’s success.
Paying For An Endorsement
There is a thin line that separates paid endorsements from free testimonials. Endorsements that are paid for play upon the customer’s psychology to associate brands with values espoused by the endorser. A celebrity who is known for their trustworthiness or reliability (like Roger Federer, for instance) invites endorsement deals from brands that want their customers to associate them with those values. A celebrity known for their brashness is sought for brands that appeal to the youth segment of customers. This is also why brands tend to dissociate from celebrities who fail to live up to these values. A good example is of Tiger Woods losing his deal with P&G and several other sponsors following revelations of his extramarital affairs.
Although paid endorsements can help brands associate with values that their celebrity endorsers are reputed for, consumers do tend to realize that at the end of the day, it is a paid deal.
Why Testimonials Are Better
Testimonials are typically from two kinds of people – customers who use and love your product, and from established people or organizations who enjoy high repute. In the case of the former, your customers may not enjoy a brand as good as yours. However, they belong to the same demographics as your other customers. A good word about your business from such customers serve as a reassurance about your quality which nudges other prospects to sign up with your business.
Testimonials from established personalities or organizations is a little tricky and can potentially be viewed as a paid deal. Take for instance the testimonial from NFL linebacker James Harrison. In this case, the target audience for Belvedere’s exotic leather shoes are premium shoe buyers. Harrison, on the other hand, is more compatible to endorse sports shoes. But this testimonial from an established personality helps the business grab eyeballs from a sports audience who may overlap with Belvedere’s own target group.
However, it is worth pointing out that the objective of a testimonial is not to create brand awareness. Instead, it is to establish credibility. From a consumer’s perspective, if a credible personality like Harrison is known to use a particular brand of shoes, the brand is likely to be credible as well.
The reason testimonials are better is because it does not transpose the endorser’s values on your business brand. The good words coming from your existing customers or from celebrity users help establish your credibility without their personal brand impacting yours in any way.
How To Seek Testimonials
The challenging part however is seeking these testimonials. Unlike endorsements, money cannot really buy testimonials. There are however other ways to get worthy users from your target group to try your product. The most popular way to do it is to offer your product or service for free – this encourages these users to try your product. In addition to possibly seeking a testimonial through this engagement, you may also potentially turn these free users into paid customers at a later stage.
Testimonials are a lot more powerful than paid endorsements for your business. But seeking a testimonial is also hard work and this is the reason more businesses prefer endorsements over testimonials. However, customers seek validation from fellow users and testimonials pave the way for your business to establish credibility and provide your prospective customers with the validation they seek.