Marketers know Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Google, and other reviews are a huge part of buying journeys.

But how can you use existing customer reviews in your marketing content to make the things your company says more believable? And what if you're in B2B and don't have a wealth of traditional review sites to pull from?

In this week's episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the award-winning marketing podcast from Salesforce, learn how to use customer reviews and testimonials to bring a new level of credibility from your marketing.

Take a listen here. For the full conversation that's filled with many more insights, subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

We're interviewing two leading experts in customer testimonials and reviews:

  • Daniel Lemin, author of Manipurated and head of consulting at Jay Baer's Convince & Convert
  • Andy Crestodina, cofounder and strategic director of Orbit Media Studios and planner for hundreds of websites

For all the tips, listen to the full episode of the Cloudcast. Here are a few tips to start upcycling your existing testimonial content to make your marketing more believable and resonate effectively with potential customers.


1. Save social media mentions.


According to Andy, customer reviews and testimonials help marketers "fix all those unsupported marketing claims which probably appear all over your website. The purpose of a testimonial is to add evidence to support all those marketing claims that we make all the time."

One crucial place to start that works for B2B and B2C brands alike is social media. You probably have positive tweets or Facebook comments floating through your streams all the time. But if you don't encourage social media managers to start collecting them, those wonderful customer stories are barely a blip in the radar. 


2. Use positive feedback from emails.


After you successfully complete a customer service interaction from email, customers are likely to thank you for your great service and for solving their problem. Again, this tip works regardless of if you have a prolific local Yelp page, for companies of all industries. Are you saving this social proof for more believable marketing?

Andy explains, "Everything we say is marketing. Everything your customers say is social proof." So whenever you train employees on email, train them to not only solve the problem, but save positive feedback and ask customers if it's OK to use their words on your website.


3. Avoid the dreaded testimonials page.


"The worst place to put a testimonial is on a testimonials page because visitors tend to not go to those pages. It looks and smells like marketing. They can see it a mile away, and they know that's just going to be filled with positive social proof, and it's not likely to answer any of their top questions. So, I don't recommend making testimonial pages."

So if testimonials don't go on a testimonials page, where should they be? That leads us to our next way to use them.


4. Make every webpage a testimonials page.


"Probably the best answer for where to put your most impactful, most authentic, most genuine testimonials would be on simply the highest traffic pages. So, go look at your analytics and see what the top-visited pages are and those are your highways. Your testimonials are like billboards. Put the billboards on the highways — that's how you are going to get the maximum impact and maximum number of views to them," shares Andy.


5. Highlight your best reviews in emails.


Daniel says it's important to place reviews wherever in "the variety of places consumers shop for your products. Look at the purchase funnel, or the touchpoints they have before they buy from you, and think about the ways you can feature reviews in as many of those settings as logistically possible or reasonable."

He shared a great example of using reviews in email: "I have pet insurance for my dog and every month, I get a newsletter from the insurance company. In [the email newsletter], they feature a review the month in their newsletter." Just seeing other customers' reviews encourages people to write their own. Wherever your customer journey would benefit from a bit of social proof, that's a great place to feature a review.


6. Collect public-facing reviews more strategically.


If you don't have enough good reviews on sites like Google or TripAdvisor, Daniel says "you have to look at why you don't have good reviews. If people keep mentioning the same things over and over again, maybe parking or air conditioning, if that's something you need to fix and you can, certainly take that action. If you can't fix it, at least find some reasonable explanation for it, because if you keep asking for reviews and you don't fix those things, you're going to keep getting the same feedback. The outcome's not going to change just because you ask more people."


7. For better content, focus on the law of large numbers.


Daniel says you'll have better, more positive customer testimonials to pull from if you focus on the law of large numbers. "Simply growing the number of reviews you have is a great way to defend yourself against the downside of any one stray negative review that may come in. That's something I always say to businesses: you have to think about this as a numbers game. If you have a 4.3 average rating on Yelp and you have 100 reviews, it's going to be very easy for a group of upset customers to impact that. If you have 1,000 reviews, it's a little bit harder. If you have 10,000 reviews, it's much, much harder. The law of large numbers is in your favor there.”

There's much more to learn from Daniel and Andy in the full episode of the Marketing Cloudcast.


Have you heard the new podcast format?


Three weeks ago, we shifted the Marketing Cloudcast to an entirely new format and style (think narrative with multiple guests — more Freakonomics, less live interview), and I'd love to know what you think!

Join the thousands of smart marketers who are Cloducast subscribers on Apple PodcastsOvercastGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.