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? Most business owners don’t need to be told that finding new ways of generating new customers can be hard. Just trying to keep your business afloat takes up a lot of 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 your clients may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Ignoring what your clients may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
You may also be doing your business a great disservice if you don’t publish the positive things your clients are saying about your products or services. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are persuasive ways of helping you promote and market your products and services online and should be an integral part of your content.
In this article, we’ll show you tips for turning more visitors into qualified prospects with effective customer testimonials.
Consumer Reviews And Testimonials
P.T. Barnum, legendary American showman and businessman, 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. Testimonials and reviews quoted directly from existing clients are far more persuasive when it comes to drawing new customers, clients or users than anything you say about your own products or services.
There is clearly an untapped source of opportunities for generating new business that most businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … reviews from users!
Customer testimonials and customer reviews are great for building credibility for your business.
Tests conducted by many leading research firms all lead to the same conclusion: adding user reviews and testimonials to your site helps to eliminate doubts potential customers may have about buying products and services, helps with product selection and helps increase sales.
Below are just some of the statistics available to support this:
- According to research 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 user reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, user reviews can result in an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Website 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 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 And Testimonials – Online Reputation Management
Clearly, you should be adding testimonials and reviews from happy clients to your site.
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 business directly to your face, but they could be posting negative comments on Facebook about a bad experience they’ve just had with your services 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 aspect of your online 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 it) could be seriously harming your business without you even being aware of this.
See this article to learn more about a simple yet effective tool for WordPress users that lets you legally and ethically manage user feedback:
How To Create Effective User Testimonials – Useful Tips
User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are powerful when it comes to helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be included as part of your content marketing. When you quote responses from users in your content, you:
- Show others exactly what problems and pains your products and services can help to solve for them and how easily this can be done.
- Help site visitors identify their objections and address these.
- Help prospects connect with their motivations and aspirations and facilitate moving them further along the sales process.
Here are some tips on creating testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: You should try using the actual words used by your customers as much as possible. Leave little grammatical or spelling errors in the content. This helps to keep things ‘real’.
- Use photos of real people: Images of people’s faces draw the most attention on a web page. Adding photos of your clients next to their testimonials and reviews will help increase visitor engagement with your site’s content.
- Tell a powerful story: Stories are so much more effective and captivating than just providing facts and statistics. The ability 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 using generic statements about excellent support and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that everyone has heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: It’s good to add customer testimonials in your site copy where it best makes sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help to sell your point. For example, think about the impact you can create on your visitor’s perception by adding a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution sells for before posting price information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before presenting the benefits of your services, or testimonials where clients are truly ecstatic about your support when offering a risk-free guarantee or providing content designed to help your readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify the information: Which of the following statements do you think your prospects would consider to be more powerful: “XYZ solution was directly responsible for helping us grow our bottom line by $94,872 in the previous fiscal year,” or “XYZ product has helped us grow our sales?” If possible, publish testimonials containing quantifiable data, like how much your solution helped to increase their sales or reduce their costs 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 during a specific period, 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 when you are just starting out or don’t have many clients, it’s best to avoid displaying 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 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 aspire to become can be a really 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 posts a great comment on your Facebook wall praising your products or services, contact them privately asking for permission to reprint the content on your blog.
- Only use real testimonials. Your prospects need to believe that the testimonials published on your site are real. Don’t compromise your integrity with a false testimonial.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
Ask For Testimonials
When you complete performing a service, or a customer says they are really happy with your product or service, ask them for a testimonial.
Follow these useful tips for soliciting testimonials:
- Contact your customers after 14 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you have not obtained one after performing a service.
- Add a text box for testimonials in client satisfaction surveys.
- Take out your phone next time you meet with clients or hand over a finished project and if they are delighted with your services, ask them if they wouldn’t mind recording a brief video testimonial/feedback interview. While recording your video, explain to your viewers what you have done for the client and 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 shape these into a testimonial, then contact your client and ask them for permission to quote them on your site. Explain that you have already prepared something to save them time and let them know they are completely free to modify what you have written however they see fit before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link To The Source
Offer to add a link 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 an implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are not fake and can be verified.
Include Testimonial Requests In Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a list of subscribers, include a request for a testimonial in one of your autoresponder mailouts. This should be done after your clients have had a chance to measure the impact of using your services. Use words like “I need a quick favor” in your email subject and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking clients 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 profile. With LinkedIn, 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 positive recommendation on LinkedIn, ask their permission to reprint it on your website (you can offer to add a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Page
Create a “Testimonials” page and add a “read more client testimonials …” link to this section throughout your content sections.
Practical Tip: You can measure how useful user 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 monitoring visitor behavior on your site are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about adding heatmaps to your sites to predict visitor behaviour here:
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin to add and display testimonials. Some plugins also let you add forms to your pages inviting users to submit testimonials.
Once your plugin is installed and set up (make sure to provide simple instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you then refer customers to your “Testimonials” section.
Here are a few useful testimonial plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed testimonials into your pages and posts using a shortcode. The Easy Testimonials plugin also lets you insert a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which you can use to add a photo of the testimonial author, their company logo, etc.
Easy Testimonials also provides a “pro” version with additional features and developer support.
Go here to download the plugin:
Testimonials Widget is a free WP plugin that lets you randomly slide or list selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with images or videos on your posts and pages. 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 Testimonials Widget plugin comes with added features via a premium version, including built-in options for improved search engine results and developer support.
Go here to download this plugin:
This is a premium plugin that provides plenty of great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes to display correctly on any device or browser.
- 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 testimonials, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customized font and background colours, font types and more.
Visit this site to download this plugin:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Conclusion …
User reviews and client 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 customers, and start publishing these on your website or blog.
The articles below are a great source of information about creating effective 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
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