Build Your Reputation With User Testimonials And Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract and retain customers, and getting the exact same disappointing results? Most small business owners don’t need to be told that generating new customers can be hard. Just trying to remain 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 online and social media-driven economy, ignoring what consumers may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Don’t ignore what your customers may be saying online about your business!
You could be doing your business a great disservice if you are not promoting the positive things your clients say about your products, services, user support, etc. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are effective when it comes to marketing your products and services online and should be added to your content marketing.
In this article, you’ll learn tips for turning more visitors into prospects with powerful user testimonials.
Legendary showman and businessman Phineas Taylor (Aka “P.T.”) Barnum is often quoted as having stated that “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”
P.T. Barnum obviously understood the power of “social proof”. Social proof-based content is a powerful way of getting your business promoted effectively. Reviews from your existing customers are far more persuasive for attracting new clients than anything you can say about your own products or services.
There is a source of untapped opportunities for generating new business that most small businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … testimonials and reviews from your users!
Customer reviews and testimonials are terrific for building credibility for your services and products.
Studies conducted by many leading marketing firms all seem to point to the same conclusion: user reviews and testimonials help reduce doubts potential customers may have about a particular product or service, help with product selection and increases sales.
Below are just some of the stats 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, reviews play a significant role in creating an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can result in a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Website 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 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 User Reviews – Online Reputation Management
Adding positive testimonials and reviews to your site from delighted clients is essential for growing your business online.
User reviews and customer testimonials, however, can work both ways and affect your business both positively and negatively.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your business directly to your face, but they could be posting negative comments on a forum 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 vitally important aspect of your business success.
Misconceptions about managing your reputation online, 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 seriously 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 reviews:
Improving Your Sales With Awesome Customer Testimonials – Useful Tips
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are powerful when it comes to helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be added to your content marketing. When you include your own customer responses in your content, you:
- Show other users exactly with similar problems and pains how your products and services can help them.
- Help your visitors identify their objections and address these.
- Help potential customers connect with their aspirations and motivations and facilitate the sales process.
Below are some practical tips on creating powerful user testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: You should try using the actual words used by your customers as much as you can. Leaving grammatical errors and misspelled words in the content helps keep your testimonials sounding authentic.
- Use photos of real people: It’s a proven fact that using images of people’s faces draws the attention of visitors on a web page. Adding photos of your clients next to their testimonials and reviews can help increase visitor engagement with your site’s 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 more lasting impression on those reading your content than presenting generalized statements about excellent customer service 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 you believe these can most effectively help to sell your point. For example, 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 product or service pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped your clients solve before presenting the benefits of your products, or testimonials where clients are truly thrilled about your customer service before offering a money-back guarantee or providing content that helps readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements do you think is more powerful: “As a direct result of using your XYZ product, we have seen a revenue increase of $63,884 in the last financial quarter,” or “XYZ solution helped us grow our business?” Whenever possible, publish testimonials containing quantifiable results, like how much your solution helped to increase their profits or reduce their costs by in specific percentages or amounts, how many hours 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 repeatedly throughout your site: Although this can be a little difficult when you are just starting out and don’t have many clients, try to avoid displaying the same testimonial repeatedly throughout your site’s pages. Depending on the type of business you run, you could try to obtain more user 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 choose to use it.
- Appeal to your best 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 can relate to is a powerful motivator and influencer. People want to see and buy from “better versions” of themselves, so make sure to include testimonials that speak directly to your best audience demographic.
- Reprint testimonials across different platforms. If you get fantastic feedback on your Facebook wall praising your products or services, send them a message asking for permission to reprint the comment or post on your site.
- Only use genuine testimonials. Most people can see through sites that employ copywriters to produce content. Outsourcing content is fine, but prospective clients need to see that the testimonials displayed on your site are genuine. Don’t compromise your integrity or reputation with false testimonials.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
Getting a testimonial from a happy customer can be as simple as just asking for it.
Follow these useful tips for soliciting testimonials from clients:
- Contact clients after 90 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you did not obtain one immediately after completing your service.
- Add a text box for entering testimonials in your client satisfaction surveys.
- Pull out your phone next time you visit clients or hand over a finished project and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they wouldn’t mind recording a very short video testimonial/feedback interview. When recording the video, explain to viewers what you have done for the client and try to capture your client’s positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy and write it for them. If 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 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 let them know they are completely free to edit what you have written however they see fit before replying with their approval.
Offer To Publish A Link Back To The Source Wherever You Publish Their Testimonial
Offer to post a link back to their website in exchange for their testimonial. This is a great incentive for clients to provide a testimonial. It also makes the implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are real and can be verified.
Include A Testimonial Request In Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a subscriber list, include a request for a testimonial in one of your autoresponder broadcasts. Preferably, this should be timed to reach subscribers just after your clients have had a chance to measure the effect of using your products. Use words like “I need a quick favor” in the subject of your message and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking them for feedback, a testimonial, or a review of your services.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature helps you solicit testimonials from other members that become part of your account. With LinkedIn, the process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite user-friendly and the person who provides the recommendation gets a link to their profile. If you get a recommendation on LinkedIn, ask their permission to reprint it on your website (once again, you can offer to add a link back to their profile in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Page
Create a “Testimonials” page and add a “more testimonials …” link pointing to this section throughout your content sections.
Tip: You can measure how useful customer testimonials are by how long visitors stay on the section of your pages or posts where you have added your testimonial content. A great tool for observing what visitors are doing on your pages are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about adding heatmap analytics to your site to monitor visitor behavior here:
Useful Testimonial Plugins
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin to display testimonials. Some plugins also let you add forms to your pages inviting users to submit 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” page.
Here are some great WordPress testimonial plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add customer testimonials to the sidebar as a widget, or embed them into your pages and posts using a shortcode. The plugin also lets you publish a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include an image with each testimonial, which is great for adding a photo of the testimonial author, a business logo, etc.
Easy Testimonials also comes with a “pro” version that has additional features and plugin support.
To download and use the 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 blog. You can insert testimonials using a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and specify different display options such as random or specific ordering.
The Testimonials Widget plugin has loads of additional features available via a premium version, including built-in functions for improved search engine results and technical support.
Go here to learn more about using the plugin:
This premium WordPress plugin offers many 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 slideshows, sliders, grid layout, list layout, etc. using a shortcode
- Styling options (display image at the top, bottom, or side of the testimonial, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customize font and background colours, font types and more.
To download and use this plugin, go here:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Summary …
Customer reviews and testimonials are great sources of content that help your business add credibility, build authority, improve online reputation, and grow 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 on creating effective users 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 actionable information that will teach you how to drive more traffic to your website or blog, save money creating high-quality content for your site visitors and grow your business online using content. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also 100% FREE!
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