Building Your Reputation With User Testimonials And Reviews
Are you stuck in a cycle of doing what you’ve always done to attract customers, only to get the exact same disappointing results? As most small business owners know, that finding new ways of generating new customers can be extremely difficult, confusing and frustrating. Just trying to keep your business afloat 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, ignoring what consumers may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Ignoring what your customers may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
By the same token, you could be doing your business a great disservice if you are not spreading the positive things your customers are saying about your products and services. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are powerful ways of helping you market your products and services online and should be used throughout your content.
In this article, you’ll learn how to get better results online using profit-boosting user testimonials.
Testimonials And Customer Reviews
Legendary businessman and showman Phineas Taylor P.T. Barnum is often quoted as having said 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 way of getting your business promoted effectively. Quoting genuine reviews directly from existing customers is satisfied clients are far more persuasive when it comes to drawing new clients, customers or users than anything you have to say about your own products or services.
There is a source of untapped opportunities for generating new business that most businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … testimonials and reviews from customers!
User reviews and testimonials are a fantastic way to build credibility for your products or services.
Tests conducted by leading companies all lead to the same conclusion: adding customer reviews and customer testimonials to your sales information decreases doubts potential customers may have about buying products or services, helps users select products and increases sales.
Below are just some of the findings available to support this:
- According to research findings by eVoc Insights, an organization that researches and measures user experience, “In general, 63% of users indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has ratings and customer reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, customer reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can translate into a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Website visitors who interact with both customer 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).
Adding Customer Testimonials And Reviews – Managing Online Reputation
You should be adding reviews and testimonials from really happy clients to your site.
Testimonials and reviews, however, can work both ways and impact your business both positively and negatively.
People may not be saying bad things about your business, products or services directly to you, but they could be posting updates on Facebook or a forum about a bad experience they’ve just had with your business 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 vitally important to your 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 to worry about it) could be harming your business without you even realizing it.
See this article to learn more about a simple plugin for WordPress users that lets you legally and ethically manage customer reviews:
Improving Your Sales With Client Testimonials – Useful Tips
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are effective when it comes to helping you market your products and services online and should be included in your content marketing strategy. When you include your own user responses in your content, you:
- Show potential customers exactly what problems and pains your products and services can solve for them and how easily it can do this.
- Help visitors identify and address their objections.
- Help potential customers connect with their motivations and facilitate moving them closer to a buying decision.
Here are some practical tips on improving your conversions with user testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: You should try using the actual words used by your customers as much as possible. Leaving little grammatical errors and misspelt words in the content helps keep your testimonials sounding authentic.
- Use photos of real people: Images of people’s faces draw the most attention on a web page. Adding client photos next to their testimonials and reviews can help increase visitor engagement with your content.
- Tell a story: Stories are far more powerful and memorable than simply providing statistical facts. The ability to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution saved the day will make a more lasting impression on those reading your content than presenting generic statements about excellent support and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that everyone has 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. For example, think about the impact you will have on your visitor’s mind by adding a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution can be purchased for before posting your product pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before discussing the benefits of your services, or testimonials where clients are genuinely thrilled about your support before offering guarantees or providing content designed to help your readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements do you think your prospects would find more powerful: “XYZ solution was directly responsible for helping to increase our bottom line by $59,638 in the previous fiscal year,” or “XYZ product has helped us grow our sales?” Whenever possible, ask clients to specify quantifiable results when submitting testimonials, like how much your solution helped to increase their sales or reduce their costs by in specific percentages or amounts, how many hours 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 client testimonial repeatedly throughout your site: Although this can be a little difficult when you are just starting out and don’t have many clients, it’s best to avoid using the same testimonial everywhere on your site. 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 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 best customer 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 that appeal directly to your best audience demographic.
- Reprint content across different platforms. If someone posts great feedback on your Facebook page praising your customer service, contact them privately asking for their permission to reprint the comment or post on your site.
- Only use genuine testimonials. Most people can see through sites that employ copywriters to create content. Outsourcing content is fine, but your potential clients need to see that the testimonials published on your site are genuine. Don’t compromise your integrity with a ”made up” testimonial.
How To Get Testimonials From Clients
Getting a testimonial from a happy customer can be as simple as just asking for it.
Follow these useful tips for requesting testimonials:
- Make it a part of your business processes to contact clients after a specific period of time, e.g. 30 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you did not obtain one immediately after performing a service.
- Include a field for testimonials in all client surveys.
- Pull out your phone when you next meet with clients or hand over a completed job and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they would be happy to record a quick video testimonial/feedback interview. If they agree, while recording the video, describe to viewers what you have done for the client and make sure to record their positive reactions and responses.
- Make it easy and write it for them. Whenever 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 given you – 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 modify what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Publish A Link To Their Site
Offer to add a link back to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is a great incentive to get clients to provide you with a testimonial. It also makes the implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are real and can be verified.
Add Testimonial Requests To Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a subscriber list, include a request for a testimonial in a regularly-spaced email broadcast. This should be done as soon as your customers have had a chance to experience 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 clients to provide honest feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature is a great way to obtain testimonials from other members for your account. With LinkedIn, the process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite user-friendly and the person who provides the recommendation receives a link to their profile. If you get a recommendation on LinkedIn, ask for permission to reprint it on your website (tip: offer to publish a link back to their profile in exchange).
Create A Testimonials Page On Your Site
Create a new section for customer testimonials and add a “more testimonials …” link pointing to your main testimonials page whenever you add small blocks of testimonials on your site.
Tip: You can measure the effectiveness of customer testimonials by how long visitors stay 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 site are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about adding heatmaps to your website to understand visitor behaviour here:
Using WordPress 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 forms to your pages where users can submit reviews and testimonials.
Once your testimonial plugin is installed and set up (remember to provide simple instructions for adding testimonials via the submission form – if available), you can then send clients to your “Testimonials” page.
Here are some great testimonial plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is a free WordPress plugin that lets you add customer testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed testimonials into a Page or Post using a shortcode. Easy Testimonials also lets you publish a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which is great 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 technical support.
Go here for more information about using the plugin:
Testimonials Widget is a free plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with images or videos on your website. You can insert testimonials 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 makes loads more features available via a premium version, including built-in functions for better search engine results and plugin support.
To download this plugin, visit this site:
This is a premium plugin that provides many 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 sliders, slideshows, list layout, grid 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 colors, font types and more.
To learn more about this plugin, go here:
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 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 website.
For additional sources of information and resources about creating engaging testimonials read these articles:
- 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
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