The Power of Startup Testimonials: Inspiring Examples That Make an Impact on Startups

Fostering trust with your ideal clients should be a top priority when launching an early-stage startup. 

The startup ecosystem always has new and exciting companies looking to grab a slice of the market share. According to Statista, 332,000 new businesses formed in the US in Q2 of 2023 alone.

You need strong testimonials from customers who rave about your new company or previous expertise to showcase your immense value.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the power of testimonials. 

We’ll share five real examples of helpful customer testimonials and six strategies for collecting your own. 

Let’s get started.

1. Cloudbeds’ reviews, ratings, and awards

Cloudbeds uses a testimonial strategy to build trust with its audience.

It features video testimonials with real customers sharing their experiences using the brand’s hotel PMS systems. It also spotlights its Capterra and HotelTechReport ratings and written testimonials. 

An extra trust element it showcases is its awards. This is an especially valuable addition to have on your site if you run a SaaS or tech company. 

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*Pro-Tip: If you don’t have any awards yet, consider applying for notable contests in your industry for the chance to win some. You might also consider sending press releases to journalists to see if you can get featured in respected news outlets. 

Cloudbeds also goes above and beyond on its review page by showcasing:

  • Employee testimonials (with an image of the team member above each one).
  • Best place to work ratings and awards.
  • Written customer testimonials.

2. Dyte’s testimonials by industry 

Dyte features testimonials across six industries to drill down on its solution’s impact in multiple use cases. 

Founders and CEOs from different customer segmentation profiles share their experiences with React native video SDK solutions. This not only nurtures prospects and encourages loyalty —  it also adds an extra layer of credibility. 

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Dyte also showcases 20 of its top B2B customers on its review page, which also has a section dedicated to case studies. 

It also sprinkles customer testimonials (along with an image of the client) throughout the website to further build trust.

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These multiple review touchpoints help Dyte consistently demonstrate social proof to its website visitors. 

3. Cruise America’s user-generated content (UGC) integration 

Cruise America, a San Francisco RV rental company, invested in a significant UGC campaign and featured social proof in its Instagram content. It then added an Instagram integration to its website so visitors could scroll through photos and videos in real time. 

Customers who participate in Cruise America’s UGC campaigns use the hashtag #betherenow, so Cruise America can quickly spot and reuse its content.

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And since 73% of users agree when brands ask permission to use their content, engaging UGC doesn’t have to be hard to find. 

These images and videos of real travel experiences help CruiseAmerica’s prospects envision themselves on a future trip. This stirs up excitement and helps the brand nurture leads to conversion. 

Cruise America also provides extensive travel resources on its site, including RV destinations, events, and lifestyle content. These guides help build trust and solve its audience’s pain points. 

For example, customers on the hunt for a trip or event idea can peruse its blog posts for inspiration. They can also scroll through its UGC content to see what their experiences could be like if they book an RV.

4. SoFi’s Trustpilot reviews integration

Loan and investment platform SoFi highlights its Trustpilot “Excellent” 4.6/5 score on its review page. 

The brand also added a Trustpilot integration to its website so visitors can scroll through ratings and reviews in real time. If you’re starting a FinTech company, a lending firm, or are in a sensitive industry, this simple integration can help you build trust quickly.

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SoFi also includes trust elements at the top of its review page using a large, bold banner. Its “We’ve helped over 6.9M SoFi members get their money right” text helps its visitors feel safe. 

It also features an image of a happy member holding a large smartphone with the brand’s rating score. 

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SoFi also adds copy to address some of its prospects’ top pain points, including:

  • How it helps them pay off debt sooner
  • How it safeguards their money
  • How it helps their money grow

These multiple sections help SoFi put its prospects’ minds at ease as they consider applying for a loan or investment product.

And speaking of putting prospects’ minds at ease, let’s look at how you can begin collecting testimonials and sharing your startup success stories. Form is a great example to look at.

Video testimonials are often more powerful than written reviews. 

When it comes to choosing a health professional or another personal solution, hearing firsthand experiences can build trust and help customers make confident buying decisions.

FORM also features its Trustpilot rating score, a link to its Google reviews, and written client testimonials (with an image of the customer above each one).

Adding multiple testimonial and review sections like this helps prospects conduct a deep dive into the brand’s social proof.

But FORM isn’t the only site that sprinkles in several testimonial and review sections …

5. Prosperity Media’s Use of High-Profile Endorsements

In the competitive landscape of SEO and digital PR, standing out can make all the difference. Prosperity Media excels in this by leveraging a high-profile endorsement on their Marketplace SEO agency page.

On a section close to the top of the page, they prominently feature Matthew Barby, Senior Director of Acquisition at HubSpot, praising their business.Source: prosperitymedia.com.au

This testimonial is a lot more than just a casual nod:

  • It comes from an authority figure in the marketing world.
  • It leverages HubSpot’s reputation as a leading brand in the marketing and sales industry.
  • It underscores Prosperity Media’s credibility and expertise.

Such an endorsement serves as a powerful testament to their stature as one of the best SEO agencies, both in Australia and globally.

For startups, this approach exemplifies the transformative impact of high-caliber testimonials. When industry leaders endorse a service, they not only enhance visibility but also significantly boost trust among prospective clients.

Startups aiming to establish themselves in their respective markets should consider cultivating relationships with industry influencers to secure similar endorsements. This strategy can dramatically improve their market perception, drawing in clients and partnerships with a level of trust that’s hard to achieve through standard marketing efforts alone.

How to collect business testimonials for your new startup (6 simple strategies)

Regardless of what stage your business is in, there are plenty of ways to collect testimonials. 

Here are six simple strategies you can use to collect social proof for your new business: 

1. Request testimonials on LinkedIn

When you’re in an early growth stage, LinkedIn can be a goldmine for support. 

Beyond offering mentorship and networking opportunities, you can use the platform to connect with esteemed‌ professionals, such as: 

  • A founding partner
  • Program manager
  • Both co-founders
  • Colleagues
  • Managers 
  • Founders
  • Clients 

And anyone else you’ve worked with.

The key to collecting testimonials on LinkedIn is to ask for them. Don’t expect your connections to automatically leave a review about their experience working with you. 

Instead, craft a few scripts to help you ask for testimonials in a thoughtful and professional way. 

Here’s an example:

“Hey Jill,

Thanks for connecting. 🙂

I wanted to mention that it was an honor to collaborate with you on the productivity webinar last fall. I really appreciate your hard work and attention to detail.

I also wanted to let you know that I’m launching a (Your Business Type) soon, and I’d love your support. Would you mind providing me with a LinkedIn testimonial about our previous work together? I’m happy to share a template if that’s helpful!

All the best,
Adrian”

It may surprise you how many people will gladly say yes. 

Once you have the review, LinkedIn will feature it on your profile unless you decline it or ask for a revision. You can then screenshot these testimonials and add them to your website and across your marketing channels.  

2. Request testimonials via email 

Reach out to previous and current clients, mentors, and partners to request a testimonial via email. 

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If you have a review form on your website, invite them to leave it there so it will auto-populate. If not, you can collect them from your email and add them throughout your marketing materials.

Consider providing a template — or offering to create the testimonial for them to make the process as easy as possible. 

Or, you might give them some prompts to inspire the testimonial, such as:

  • “There are several aspects we love about working with (Your Brand or Your Name). These include …”
  • “(Your Brand or Your Name) helped us rebrand our (Business Type) business …”
  • “(Your Brand or Your Name) helped us achieve success by …”
  • “(Your Brand or Your Name) guidance helped me … “

3. Add feedback and review forms to your website

Automate collecting testimonials by adding simple feedback and review forms on your website. 

Consider dedicating a page to collecting and showcasing reviews so people can conduct a deep dive on your site. 

You can also sprinkle calls to action (CTAs) throughout your site to invite customers to leave reviews.

Other places you can embed testimonial forms include:

  • In your AI-assisted chatbot messaging prompts
  • Across email marketing campaigns 
  • In automated DM campaigns 
  • In your social media bios
  • On landing pages

If you ask for feedback, be sure to apply your customers’ advice when relevant to improving your product or service. 

More on review automation in a bit.

4. Use social listening software to collect branded mentions and visual products

Invest in social listening tools to automatically spot and collect social proof. 

Social listening software can help you:

  • Spot negative comments and reviews (so you can quickly address them)
  • Respond to positive comments and reviews 
  • Collect branded mentions
  • Monitor brand sentiment
  • Collect visual products

When you come across positive reviews and mentions, screenshot, share them, and reuse them in your marketing campaigns. 

5. Launch UGC campaigns 

Lock arms with social media influencers in your niche who align with your brand. Have each influencer implement a marketing strategy that drums up UGC for your business. 

When looking for brand ambassadors, choose ones specializing in UGC and catering to your target audience. Peruse their previous UGC campaigns to see how much social proof they inspired. 

You can also ask your team to create employee UGC to reflect their continuous support for your new company. 

For instance, they can share behind-the-scenes videos and photos, highlighting the positive aspects of working with you. They can also share brand values they align with and why they’re important to them as employees.

Take the time to invest in and collect UGC. You’ll be forever grateful for the endless social proof you’ll have at your fingertips.

Then, sprinkle the content you gathered across your:

    • Social media campaigns
  • Email campaigns
  • Landing pages
  • Website pages
  • Ad campaigns

You can also add a social media integration tool to your site to showcase your UGC in real time — like Cruise America does in example four.  

6. Automate review requests 

Build-in review automation wherever possible to consistently collect feedback and testimonials. Treat responses like mini mentors that give you great ideas to improve your new business.

These auto-responses may help you see things differently. For instance, maybe you didn’t know your customers were unhappy with your onboarding process. Or maybe you didn’t realize a certain SaaS tier had too many irrelevant features. 

Use these insights to improve or innovate your product or service and business as a whole. 

One of the simplest ways to automate review requests is to create a “post-purchase review request.” 

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Simply use an automated review app to send review requests via DM, email, or after checkout on the receipt page. 

Wrap-up 

Your new business needs trust and a solid foundation to help it thrive. 

Regardless of how incredible your solution or product is — if you don’t have the proof to back it up, it will be difficult to foster trust with new prospects. 

Thankfully, you can build loyalty from the start by investing time in collecting quality reviews and UGC content. 

For good measure, bookmark this article and share it with your marketing team. Look back through the examples we shared to inspire your own testimonial campaigns. 

Then, start collecting your reviews.

Remember to:

  1. Request testimonials on LinkedIn.
  2. Request testimonials via email.
  3. Add feedback and review forms to your website.
  4. Use social listening software to collect branded mentions and visual products.
  5. Launch UGC campaigns.
  6. Automate review requests.

Don’t forget to implement relevant advice your audience shares so you can improve your business. This also helps your testimonial campaigns create win-win solutions. 

PS: Need more tips to help you launch a successful startup business? Join 2,000 entrepreneurs getting a weekly curated email of startup tools and articles. Sign up for startup resources now.

Best of luck collecting testimonials. 

Here’s to your success!