How To Build Your Reputation With User Testimonials And Reviews
Are you stuck in a cycle of doing what you’ve always done to attract customers, and getting the exact same results? Most business owners don’t need to be told that trying to generate new customers can be very difficult, confusing and frustrating. Just trying to stay in business takes up a lot of your time, money and energy, and sometimes this can feel like it’s just not worth the effort.
In today’s digital, mobile and social-driven economy, it’s a mistake to ignore the impact of what potential customers are doing online, especially if they are posting negative comments about your business.
Ignoring what your clients may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
By the same token, you may also be doing your business a disservice if you are not promoting the positive things your clients are saying about your services and products. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are powerful when it comes to helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy.
In this article, you’ll discover how to improve your visitor-to-sales conversions using more effective user testimonials.
Phineas Taylor (Aka “P.T.”) Barnum, the great American showman and businessman, is often quoted as having said that “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”
P.T. Barnum understood the power of “social proof”. Using social proof as content is a powerful way of getting your business promoted effectively. Reviews and testimonials from your existing clients are far more persuasive for attracting new clients than anything you can say about your own products or services.
There is an untapped source of opportunities for generating new business that most small businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … client reviews!
Reviews and customer testimonials are a terrific way to build credibility for your products and services.
Studies conducted by leading firms all lead to the same conclusion: testimonials and user reviews reduce doubts potential customers may have about buying a certain product, help users select products and help increase the number of product sales.
Here are just some of the findings available to support this:
- According to research by eVoc Insights, a company known for researching and measuring user experience, “In general, 63% of users indicate they are more likely to purchase from a web site if it has ratings and reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more consumer reviews per product can result in a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Website visitors who interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with user-generated content (UGC). (Bazaarvoice, Conversation Index, Q2 2011).
- Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US internet users by online video review site EXPO. (eMarketer, February 2010).
(The figures above were sourced from eConsultancy.com)
Adding Client Reviews And Testimonials – Online Reputation Management
Clearly, you should be adding great testimonials and reviews from really happy clients who have experienced positive results with your business to your site.
User reviews and customer testimonials, however, can work both ways and impact your business both in a negative or positive manner.
People may not be saying bad things about your services directly to your face, but they could be posting negative words on a forum about a bad experience they’ve just had using your products and this could be doing far more damage to your business than all the good work you’ve been putting into building it.
This is where online reputation management becomes a vital aspect of your online success.
Misconceptions about engaging in online reputation management practices, such as the process being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you just don’t need to worry about it) may be harming your business without you even being aware of it.
See this article to learn more about a simple yet effective plugin for WordPress users that can help to avoid the escalation of problem reviews about your business through effective customer review management:
How To Create Testimonials – Useful Tips
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are effective when it comes to helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be an integral part of your content marketing. When you quote responses from clients in your content, you:
- Show potential customers exactly with similar problems and pains what your products and services can do for them.
- Help prospects identify and address their objections.
- Help potential customers connect with their motivations and aspirations and facilitate moving them closer to a decision to purchase.
Below are some tips on improving your sales conversions with engaging testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: You should try using your customer’s actual words as much as you can. Leaving little grammatical errors and misspelled words in the content helps to keep it ‘real’.
- Use photos of real people: Research shows that using images of people’s faces draws the attention of visitors browsing a web page. Adding client photos next to their testimonials and reviews will help increase visitor engagement with your content.
- Tell a story: Stories are much more powerful and captivating than simply providing facts and statistics. Being able to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution came to the rescue will make a more lasting impression on those reading your content than presenting generic statements about how “excellent” your support has been and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Use it in context: It’s good to add testimonials to your site copy where it best makes sense to place them, and where you believe these can most effectively help you sell your point. Think about the impact you will have on your visitor’s mind if you were to present a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution can be purchased for before posting your service pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped your clients solve before talking about the benefits of your services, or testimonials where customers are truly ecstatic about your support when offering a money-back guarantee or providing content that helps your readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify the information: Which of the following statements is more powerful… “XYZ solution was directly responsible for growing our profits by $52,256 in the last fiscal year,” or “XYZ software helped us grow our sales?” If possible, ask clients to specify quantifiable results when submitting testimonials, like how much your solution helped to increase their market share or reduce their costs in specific percentages or amounts, how many hours of work you have helped them save, how many new leads or new clients they were able to generate, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn’t do before, etc.
- Avoid using the same client testimonial throughout your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult when you are just starting out or don’t have many clients, try to avoid using the same testimonial throughout your website. Depending on the nature of your business, you could try to obtain more user testimonials by offering limited review copies of your product, or a special launch discount for clients in exchange for an honest review and permission to publish it if you choose to use it.
- Appeal to your target audience: As every infomercial featuring a celebrity endorsement, subject expert or “busy mom” knows, if you know who your target audience is, providing testimonials from people who your prospects can relate to can be an extremely powerful motivator and influencer. People want to see and buy from “better versions” of themselves, so make sure to include testimonials targeted to your best audience demographic.
- Reprint across different platforms. If you get fantastic feedback on your Facebook wall praising your solution, send them a message asking for permission to reprint the comment or post on your site.
- Never use fake client testimonials. Most people can tell if you are employing copywriters to create your content. Outsourcing content is fine, but your potential customers need to believe that the testimonials published on your site are real. Don’t destroy your reputation with ”made up” testimonials.
How To Get Testimonials
When you complete a service for someone, or a customer says they are really happy with your product or service, ask them for a testimonial.
Here are some useful guidelines for soliciting testimonials from clients:
- Contact customers after a specific period of time, e.g. 90 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you have not obtained one immediately after completing a service.
- Add a field for testimonials in your client surveys.
- Pull out your phone next time you meet with clients or hand over a completed project and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they would be happy to record a very quick video testimonial/feedback interview. If they agree, while recording your video, explain to your viewers what you have done for the client and record the client’s positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy and write the testimonial for them. If a client sends you positive written feedback that contains snippets of useful testimonial material interspersed with the rest of their message, grab the best sections (only use what they have written – don’t put words into their mouth), and shape these into a testimonial, then contact the client and ask them for permission to quote them on your site. Explain that you have already prepared something to save them time and let them know they are completely free to edit what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link Back To Their Site
Offer to add a link to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive for clients to provide a testimonial. It also makes an implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are real and can be verified.
Add A Testimonial Request To Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a list of subscribers, include requests for a testimonial in a scheduled email broadcast. This should be timed to reach subscribers just after your customers have had a chance to experience your product, service or solution. Use words like “I need a quick favor” in your email subject and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking subscribers for feedback, a testimonial, or a product review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature is a great way to obtain testimonials for your profile. The process for requesting and providing recommendations is user-friendly and the person providing the recommendation gets a link to their profile. If you get a positive recommendation on LinkedIn, ask their permission to reprint it on your site (tip: offer to publish a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Customer Testimonials Section
Create a new page on your site for customer testimonials and add a “more testimonials …” link pointing to this section throughout your content sections.
Practical Tip: You can measure how effective testimonials are by how long visitors remain on the section of your pages or posts where you have added your testimonial content. A great tool for understanding visitor behaviour on your pages are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about adding heatmaps to your site to analyze visitor behavior here:
Testimonial Plugins For WordPress
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin to add, edit and display testimonials. Some plugins also let you add a form to your pages where users can submit feedback and testimonials.
Once your testimonial plugin is installed and set up (make sure to provide simple instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you then refer clients to your “Testimonials” section.
Check out the testimonial plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is a free WordPress plugin that lets you add testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed them into a Page or Post using a shortcode. The plugin also lets you add a list of all your testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which can be used to add a photo of the testimonial author, a company logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also comes with a “pro” version with additional features and plugin support.
Go here to download and use this plugin:
Testimonials Widget is a free WP plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with images or videos on your blog. You can insert customer testimonials using a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and have multiple display options such as random or specific ordering.
The Testimonials Widget plugin makes plenty more features available via a premium version, including built-in options SEO functionality and plugin support.
Visit this site to download the plugin:
This is a premium WordPress plugin that offers plenty of great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes for correct display on any device or browser.
- Display options for your testimonials in a widget or as slideshows, sliders, list layout, grid layout, etc. by adding a shortcode
- Styling options (display image on top, bottom, or side of the testimonial, display testimonials in a speech bubble, customized font and background colors, font types and more.
To download this plugin, visit this site:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Summary …
Customer reviews and client testimonials are great sources of content that help your business in terms of adding credibility, building authority, improving online reputation, and growing your sales funnel. Always ask for feedback, reviews, and testimonials from your clients, and start publishing these on your website.
The articles below are a great source of information on creating effective testimonials and were also helpful in providing research and information for sections of this article:
- Ecommerce Consumer Reviews: Why You Need Them And How To Use Them
- How To Create Captivating Customer Testimonials
- 5 Tips For Knockout Testimonials
- Make Customer Testimonials Meaningful
- 7 Simple But Powerful Customer Testimonial Examples You Can Steal
- Your 5-Minute Guide To Writing an Amazing LinkedIn Recommendation
- How To Get Great LinkedIn Recommendations
We also recommend subscribing to our Free Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive a comprehensive series of training emails with easy-to-digest information that will teach you how to drive more traffic to your website or blog, save money creating useful content that will add value to your visitors and grow your business online using content marketing. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also 100% FREE!
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