Building Your Reputation With Testimonials And User Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract and retain new customers, only to get the exact same results? As most small business owners know, that trying to generate new business can be extremely difficult. Just trying to keep your business afloat takes a lot of time, money and energy, and sometimes this can feel like it’s just not worth the effort.
In today’s online and social media-driven economy, you simply can’t afford to ignore the impact of online consumer behavior, especially if they are talking about your business.
Don’t ignore what your clients may be saying online about your business!
You could be doing your business a great disservice if you don’t publish the positive things your clients are saying about your services or products. Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are powerful ways of helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be added to your content.
In this article, we’ll show you ways to achieve better results online using more effective user testimonials.
Testimonials And Customer Reviews
Phineas Taylor P.T. Barnum, the great American showman and successful promoter, once stated that “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”
P.T. Barnum understood the power of “social proof”. Social proof-driven content is a powerful and effective way of promoting your business. Quoting testimonials and reviews from your satisfied users is satisfied clients are far more persuasive when it comes to drawing new customers than anything you have to say about your own products or services.
There is an untapped source of business growth potential that most businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … customer testimonials and reviews!
Testimonials and reviews are effective for building credibility for your products and services.
Research conducted by many marketing research companies all lead to the same conclusion: adding consumer reviews and customer testimonials to your site decreases doubts potential customers may have about purchasing some products or services, helps users select products and helps increase the number of sales.
Below are just some of the statistics available to support this:
- According to a study by eVoc Insights, a company that researches and measures user experience, “In general, 63% of users indicate they are more likely to purchase from a web site if it has ratings and consumer reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, reviews play a significant role in creating an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Web site 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 Consumer Reviews – Managing Online Reputation
Adding great reviews to your website from people who are delighted with your products or services is important for helping you grow your business online and creating a solid online reputation.
Reviews and testimonials, however, are like double-edged swords; they can affect your business both negative and positive ways.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your products directly to you, but they could have posted unhelpful comments on Facebook or a discussion thread about a bad experience they’ve just had with your services and this could be costing you business.
This is where online reputation management becomes a significant part of your business and content marketing strategy.
Misconceptions about engaging in online reputation management practices, such as being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you just don’t need to worry about it) could be harming your business without you even being aware of it.
See this article to learn more about a WordPress plugin that lets you legally and ethically manage customer feedback:
Improving Your Conversions With Compelling Customer Testimonials – Useful Tips
User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are effective ways of helping you promote and market your products and services online and should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. When you quote responses from customers in your content, you:
- Show other users exactly with similar problems and pains what your products and services can do for them.
- Help prospects identify and address their objections.
- Help prospects connect with their motivations and aspirations and facilitate moving them further along the sales process.
Below are some tips on how to create effective client testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: Try to use your customer’s actual words as much as you can. Leave grammatical or spelling errors in the content. This helps keep your testimonials ‘real’.
- Use real photos: It’s a proven fact that using images of people’s faces will draw the attention of visitors browsing a web page. Adding photos of your clients next to their testimonials and reviews can help your visitors and potential prospects take notice of your content.
- Use the power of storytelling: Stories are so much more effective and captivating than just providing statistical facts. The ability to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution came to the rescue will make a far more lasting impression on those reading your content than presenting generic statements about how “excellent” your customer support has been and giving “two thumbs up” product recommendations that everyone has heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: It’s good to add testimonials to your web content where it best makes sense to place them, and where you believe these can most effectively help you sell your point. For example, think about the impact you can create on your visitor’s perception if you were to present a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution retails for before posting product pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before discussing the benefits of your products, or testimonials where clients are genuinely thrilled about your support before offering guarantees or addressing objections.
- Quantify the information: Which of the following statements do you think is more powerful… “XYZ solution was directly responsible for helping us grow our bottom line by $86,708 during the previous financial quarter,” or “XYZ product definitely helped us grow our business?” If possible, publish testimonials containing quantifiable data, like how much your solution helped to increase their sales or reduce their costs by 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 testimonial repeatedly throughout your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult if you are just starting out or don’t have many clients, try to avoid displaying the same testimonial repeatedly throughout your site’s pages. 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 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 is a really powerful motivator and influencer. People want to see and buy from “better versions” of themselves, so make sure to include testimonials that appeal directly to your ideal customers.
- Reprint testimonials across different platforms. If someone posts a great comment on your Facebook page praising your commitment to customer satisfaction, send them a message asking for permission to reprint the comment or post on your site.
- Only use genuine testimonials. Your prospects need to see that the testimonials provided on your site are real. Don’t compromise your integrity with false testimonials.
How To Get Testimonials From Your Clients
Getting a testimonial from a happy client can be as simple as just asking for it.
Follow these tips for requesting testimonials from customers:
- Contact clients after 90 days with an email request for a testimonial if you have not obtained one immediately after completing a service.
- Add a field for entering testimonials in client surveys.
- Pull 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 very short video testimonial/feedback interview. If they agree, while recording your video, describe to your viewers what you have done for the client and capture your client’s positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy and write the testimonial 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 shape these into a testimonial, then contact the client and ask them for permission to quote them on your site. Explain that you have done this to help them save time and invite them to edit what you have written however they see fit before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link Back To The Source
Offer to publish a link back to their website in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive to get clients providing 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 subscriber list, include a request for a testimonial in one of your newsletter broadcasts. Preferably, this should be done after your customers have had a chance to assess the results of using your solution. Use words like “I need your help” in your email subject and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking them to provide feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature lets you solicit testimonials from other members for your profile. The process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite user-friendly and the person providing the recommendation receives a link to their profile. If you get a recommendation on LinkedIn, ask for permission to reprint it on your site (and 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.
Tip: You can measure the effectiveness of testimonials by how long visitors remain on the section of your pages or posts where you have added the testimonial content. A great tool for measuring what visitors are doing on your pages are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about a heatmap technology you can add to your website to observe visitor behavior here:
- How To Monitor User Behaviour On Your WordPress Site Using Analytics Software – HeatMapTracker Review
WordPress Testimonial Plugins
If your website or blog is powered by WordPress, you can use a plugin to display testimonials. Some plugins also allow you to add a form 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), you can then send clients to your “Testimonials” page.
Check out the testimonial plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add testimonials to the sidebar as a widget, or embed them into your pages and posts using a shortcode. The plugin also lets you insert a list of all your testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which is great to add a photo of the testimonial author, their company logo, etc.
The plugin also comes with a “pro” version that offers additional features and technical support.
For more information about using this plugin, go here:
Testimonials Widget is a free plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with videos or images on your site. You can insert testimonials content via a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and have multiple display options such as random or specific ordering.
The plugin has plenty of additional features available via a premium version, including built-in functions for improved search engine results and technical support.
To download and use this plugin, go here:
This premium plugin provides a range of great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes for correct display on any device or browser.
- Options to display your testimonials in a widget or as sliders, slideshows, grid layout, list layout, etc. by adding a shortcode
- Styling options (display image at the top, bottom, or side of testimonials, display testimonials in a speech bubble, customize font and background colours, font types and more.
For more information about this plugin, go here:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Summary …
Client testimonials and customer reviews are powerful sources of content that can help your business in terms of adding credibility, building authority, improving online reputation, and growing your sales funnel. Always ask for testimonials, reviews, and feedback from your customers or clients, and start publishing these on your web site.
The articles below are a great source of information on creating engaging 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 a comprehensive series of training emails with easy-to-digest information that will show exactly how to drive more traffic to your site, save money creating high-quality 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 100% FREE!
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