Building Your Reputation With User Testimonials And Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract new customers, and getting the exact same results? As most business owners know, that trying to generate new business can be very difficult. Just trying to remain in business 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 web-based and social media-driven economy, it’s foolish to ignore the effect of what your potential customers are doing online, especially if they are posting negative comments about your business.
Don’t ignore what users may be saying online about your business!
You are also doing your business a disservice if you aren’t publishing the positive things your customers say about your products or services. Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are effective ways of helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be included in your content.
In this article, we’ll show you tips for turning more visitors into qualified prospects using highly effective client testimonials.
Testimonials And Consumer Reviews
The great, legendary businessman and showman P.T. Barnum is often quoted as having stated that “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”
P.T. Barnum understood the power of “social proof”. Social proof-based content is a powerful and effective way of getting your business promoted. Testimonials and reviews from existing customers are far more persuasive for drawing new clients than anything you have to say about your own products or services.
There is an untapped source of opportunities for generating new business that most small businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … reviews and testimonials from clients!
Reviews and customer testimonials are a powerful way to build credibility for your products or services.
Studies conducted by leading marketing firms all lead to the same inevitable conclusion: testimonials and user reviews help decrease doubts potential customers may have about buying products or solutions that you are trying to sell, help users select products and help increase sales conversions.
Here are just some of the statistics available to support this:
- According to a study by eVoc Insights, an organization 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, customer reviews can produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more consumer reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Web site visitors who interact with both consumer 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 Customer Reviews – Managing Online Reputation
Adding positive reviews to your website from satisfied customers is important for growing your business online and creating a solid online reputation.
Testimonials and consumer reviews, however, can work both ways and impact your business both in a negative as well as positive way.
People may not be saying bad things about your business directly to you, but they could be posting disparaging remarks on a forum about a bad encounter they’ve just had with one of your representatives 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 part of your business success strategy.
Misconceptions about managing your reputation online, such as the process being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you just don’t need to worry about it) could be causing damage to your business without you even realizing this.
See this article to learn more about a WordPress plugin that lets you legally and ethically manage customer feedback:
Tips On Improving Your Sales With Standout Testimonials
User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are effective ways of helping you market your products and services online and should be included in your content. When you include responses from users in your content, you:
- Show potential customers exactly with similar problems and pains how your products and services can help them.
- Help prospects identify their objections and address these.
- Help prospects connect with their aspirations and motivations and this facilitates moving them further along the sales process.
Below are some tips on creating testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: You should try using the actual words used by your customers as much as you can. Leaving little grammatical errors and misspelt words in the content helps preserve the authenticity of your testimonials.
- Use photos of real people: Images of people’s faces draw attention to your content. Adding client photos next to their testimonials and reviews will help increase visitor engagement with your site’s content.
- Tell a powerful story: Stories are far more powerful and captivating than simply providing statistical facts. Being able to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution saved the day will make a longer-lasting impression on those reading your content than presenting generalized statements about how “excellent” the customer support has been and giving “two thumbs up” product recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Use it in context: Add testimonials in your site copy where it makes the most sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help you sell your point. Think about the impact you will have on your visitor’s mind if you were to insert a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution can be purchased for before posting service pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped your clients solve before discussing the benefits of your products, or testimonials where customers are genuinely thrilled about your support when offering guarantees or providing content designed to help readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify the information: Which of the following statements is more powerful… “XYZ solution was directly responsible for helping to increase our net profit by $40,324 in the previous financial quarter,” or “XYZ solution definitely helped us grow our business?” Whenever 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 they have saved, how many new leads or new clients they were able to generate in a recent financial period, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn’t do before, etc.
- Vary the testimonials on your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult when you are just starting out and don’t have many clients, it’s best to avoid using the same testimonial throughout your site. Depending on your business, you could try to obtain more testimonials by offering limited review copies of your product, or a special launch discount for existing clients in exchange for an honest review and permission to publish it if you decide to use it.
- Appeal to your ideal customer: 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 aspire to become 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 ideal customers.
- Reprint testimonials across different platforms. If someone publishes a great comment on your Facebook wall praising your business, contact them privately asking for permission to reprint the comment or post on your blog.
- Don’t use fake testimonials. Prospective customers need to believe that the testimonials provided on your site are real. Don’t destroy your reputation with a false testimonial.
How To Get Testimonials From Your Customers
Ask For 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 tips for soliciting testimonials:
- Make it a part of your business processes to contact customers after a specific period of time, e.g. 90 days with an email request for a testimonial if you did not obtain one after performing a service.
- Add a text box for entering testimonials in client surveys.
- Take out your phone when you next visit a client or hand over a completed project and if they are delighted with your services, ask them if they would be happy to record a short video testimonial/feedback interview. When recording your video, explain to your viewers what you have done for the client and make sure to capture their positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy for them. When clients send 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 – never put words into their mouth), and use these to create a testimonial, then contact the client and ask them for permission to publish it. Explain that you have done this to help them save time and invite them to edit what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link Back To Their Site Wherever You Publish Their Testimonial
Offer to add a link back to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive for clients to provide a testimonial. It also makes the implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are not fake and can be verified.
Include A Testimonial Request In Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a list of subscribers, include a request for a testimonial in one of your newsletter messages. Preferably, this should be timed to reach subscribers just after your clients have had a chance to experience your 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 users for honest feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature helps you obtain testimonials that become part of your profile. With LinkedIn, the process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite simple and user-friendly and the person providing the recommendation gets a link to their profile. If you get a positive recommendation on LinkedIn, ask for permission to reprint it on your website (you can offer to add a link back to their website or profile in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Section
Create a “Testimonials” page and place a “more testimonials …” link to your main testimonials page throughout your content sections.
Practical Tip: You can measure the effectiveness of your testimonials by how long visitors remain on the section of your pages or posts where you have added your testimonial content. ”Heatmapping” technology is a great way to understanding visitor behaviour on your pages.
We have written an article about a heatmap analytics technology you can add to your site to understand visitor behavior here:
- How To Monitor Visitor Behavior On Your WordPress Site With Heatmapping Software – HeatMapTracker Review
WordPress Testimonial Plugins
If your site or blog is built using WordPress, you can use a plugin to display testimonials. Some plugins also allow you to add forms to your pages inviting users to submit reviews and testimonials.
Once your plugin is installed and set up (with instructions for adding testimonials via the submission form – if available), all you have to do is refer customers to your “Testimonials” page.
Here are a few useful WordPress testimonial plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add client testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed them into a Page or Post using a shortcode. Easy Testimonials also lets you insert a list of all your testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which can be used for adding a photo of the testimonial author, a logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also comes with a “pro” version that has additional features and technical support.
To download and use the plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials Widget is a free WP plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with videos or images on your pages and posts. You can insert testimonials content using a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and specify different display options such as random or specific ordering.
The plugin makes loads of additional features available via a premium version, including built-in functions for better search engine results and technical support.
Go here for more information about this plugin:
This premium plugin offers 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, grid layout, list layout, etc. via a shortcode
- Styling options (display image on top, bottom, or side of the testimonial, display testimonials in a speech bubble, customize font and background colors, font types and more.
For more information about using the plugin, visit this site:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Conclusion …
Testimonials and user reviews are powerful sources of content that can help your business add credibility, build authority, improve online reputation, and grow your sales funnel. Always ask for testimonials, reviews, and feedback from existing clients or customers, and publish positive content about your business on your website or blog.
The articles below are a great source of information on creating effective testimonials and were 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 actionable information that will teach exactly how to drive more traffic to your web site, save money creating useful content for 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 completely FREE!
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