Building Your Reputation With User Testimonials And Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract new customers, only to get the exact same results? As most business owners know, that generating new business can be difficult. Just trying to keep your business afloat takes 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 media-driven economy, ignoring what customers may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Ignoring what users may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
You may also be doing your business a great disservice if you are not spreading the positive things your customers say about your products and services. Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are powerful ways of helping you promote and market your products and services online and should be added to your content marketing.
In this article, we’ll show you all you need to know to start getting better results online using meaningful customer testimonials.
Phineas Taylor (Aka “P.T.”) Barnum, the great American showman and businessman, is often quoted as having stated 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. Quoting genuine testimonials and reviews from existing customers is satisfied clients are far more persuasive when it comes to attracting new customers, clients or users than anything you can say about your own products or services.
There is an untapped source of opportunities for generating new business that most businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … client reviews and testimonials!
Reviews and testimonials are effective for building credibility for your services or products.
Studies conducted by leading companies all seem to lead to the same conclusion: testimonials and user reviews help to eliminate doubts potential customers may have about purchasing products, help with product selection and help increase conversions of visitors into sales.
Below are just some of the findings available to support this:
- According to a study 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 user reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, customer reviews are responsible for producing an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more consumer reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Site visitors who interact with both user 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).
- Customer 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).
(Above figures sourced from eConsultancy.com)
Adding User Reviews – Managing Online Reputation
Adding testimonials and reviews to your site from customers who are delighted with your products or services is important for growing your business and creating a solid online reputation.
Customer reviews and testimonials, however, are like double-edged swords; they can impact your business both positive and negative ways.
People may not be saying bad things about your business directly to your face, but they could post updates on Facebook, or a discussion thread or forum about an unpleasant experience they’ve just had with your services and this could be costing you business.
This is where online reputation management becomes important to 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 really don’t need it) could be causing damage to your business without you even being aware of it.
See this article to learn more about a WordPress plugin that allows you to legally and ethically manage user feedback:
Tips On How To Create Effective User Testimonials
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are powerful ways of helping you market your products and services online and should be included as part of your content marketing. When you include your own client responses in your content, you:
- Show others exactly with similar problems and pains what your products and services can do for them.
- Help visitors identify and address their objections.
- Help prospects connect with their motivations and aspirations and this facilitates moving them closer to a buying decision.
Below are some practical tips on improving your conversions with meaningful client testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: Try to use the actual words used by your customers as much as you can. Leaving grammatical errors and misspelt words in the content helps preserve your testimonials’ authenticity.
- Use photos of real people: It’s a proven fact that using images of people’s faces draws the most attention of visitors browsing a web page. Adding client photos next to their testimonials and reviews will help increase visitor engagement with your site’s content.
- Tell a story: Stories are much more effective and memorable than providing mere facts and statistics. Being able to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution came to the rescue will make a longer-lasting impression on those reading your content than presenting generic statements about how “excellent” your customer support was and giving “two thumbs up” product recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Use it in context: It’s good to add testimonials in your web content where it makes the most sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help to 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 retails for before posting your product or service pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before talking about the benefits of your products, or testimonials where clients are truly ecstatic about your support before offering a risk-free guarantee or addressing objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements do you think is more powerful… “XYZ solution was directly responsible for helping to increase our net profit by $39,244 during the last fiscal year,” or “XYZ product has helped us grow our business?” If possible, ask clients to specify quantifiable results when submitting testimonials, like how much your solution helped to increase their sales or reduce their costs in specific percentages or amounts, how many hours of work they have saved, 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 testimonial throughout your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult if you are just starting out and have very few clients, it’s best to avoid displaying the same testimonial repeatedly throughout your website. Depending on your business, you could try to obtain more client testimonials by offering limited review copies of your product, or a special discount for existing clients in exchange for an honest review and permission to publish it if you decide 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 a powerful motivator and influencer. People want to see and buy from “better versions” of themselves, so make sure to include testimonials targeted to your ideal customers.
- Reprint across different platforms. If someone publishes a great comment on your Facebook page praising your commitment to customer satisfaction, contact them privately asking for their permission to reprint the content on your blog.
- Never use fake testimonials. Most people can see through sites that employ copywriters to create content. Outsourcing content is fine, but prospective clients need to believe that the testimonials provided on your site are genuine. Don’t compromise your integrity or reputation with a false testimonial.
How To Get Testimonials From Clients
Getting a testimonial from a happy customer can be as simple as just asking for it.
Here are some useful guidelines for requesting testimonials from customers:
- Contact customers after 14 days with an email request for a testimonial if you have not obtained one after performing a service.
- Add a text box for testimonials in your client satisfaction surveys.
- Take out your phone when you next visit a client or hand over a completed job and if they are delighted with your services, ask them if they wouldn’t mind recording a short video testimonial/feedback interview. While recording your video, explain to viewers what you have done for your client and try to record the client’s positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy for them. Whenever clients send you a positive email thanking you for a great job that contains snippets of useful testimonial material interspersed with the rest of their message, grab the juiciest sections (only use what they have written – never put words into their mouth), and use these to create 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 help them save time and invite them to change what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Publish A Link To Their Site
Offer to publish a link to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive to get clients providing you with a testimonial. It also makes an implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are not fake and can be verified.
Add A Testimonial Request To Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a list of subscribers, include a request for a testimonial in one of your autoresponder broadcasts. Preferably, this should be done as soon as your customers have had a chance to assess the results of using your product, service or solution. Use words like “I need your help” in your email subject and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking clients to provide honest feedback, a testimonial, or a product review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature lets you request testimonials from other members that become part of your account. The process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite simple and user-friendly and the person who provides the recommendation receives a link to their profile. If you get a recommendation on LinkedIn, ask their permission to reprint it on your site (you can offer to publish a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Section
Create a “Testimonials” page and add a “more client testimonials …” link pointing to your main testimonials section wherever you add new testimonials on your content sections.
Practical Tip: You can measure the effectiveness of testimonials by how long visitors stay on the section of your pages or posts where you have added your testimonial content. A great tool for understanding visitor behavior on your pages are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about a heatmap analytics technology you can add to your site to understand visitor behaviour here:
Useful WordPress Testimonial Plugins
If your site or blog is powered by WordPress, you can use a plugin to add, edit and display testimonials. Some plugins also allow you to add a form to your pages where users can submit feedback and testimonials.
Once your testimonial plugin is installed and set up (with instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you then send users to your “Testimonials” section.
Check out the WordPress testimonial plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is an easy-to-use free plugin that lets you add client testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed them into your pages and posts using a shortcode. The Easy Testimonials plugin also lets you publish a list of all your testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include an image with each testimonial, which you can use to add a photo of the testimonial author, their company logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also comes with a “pro” version that offers additional features and developer support.
Visit this site to download and use the plugin:
Testimonials Widget is a free WordPress plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with videos or images on your pages and posts. You can insert testimonials using a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and have multiple display options such as random or specific ordering.
Testimonials Widget makes loads more features available via a premium version, including built-in functions for better search engine results and technical support.
Go here to download the plugin:
This is a premium WP plugin that provides a range of great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes for displaying correctly on any device or browser.
- Options to display your testimonials in a widget or as slideshows, sliders, list layout, grid layout, etc. via a shortcode
- Styling options (display image at the top, bottom, or side of the testimonial, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customized font and background colours, font types and more.
To download this plugin, go here:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Conclusion …
User reviews and testimonials are powerful 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 existing clients, and start publishing these on your web site.
The articles below are a great source of information about creating engaging testimonials and were also used when researching 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 regular training emails with easy-to-digest information and practical tips that will teach exactly how to drive more traffic to your website or blog, save money creating useful content for your site visitors and grow your business online using content marketing. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also completely FREE!
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