How To Build Your Reputation With User Testimonials And Reviews
Are you stuck in a cycle of doing what you’ve always done to attract new customers, only to get the exact same results? As most small business owners know, that finding new ways of generating new customers can be hard. 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, it’s foolish to ignore the effect of online consumer behavior, especially if they are talking about your business.
Don’t ignore what clients may be saying online about your business!
By the same token, you may also be doing your business a disservice if you don’t publish the positive things your clients say about your products, services, customer support, etc. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are effective ways of marketing your products and services online and should be included as part of your content.
In this article, we’ll show you how to achieve better results online with compelling client testimonials.
Testimonials And Customer Reviews
The great, legendary businessman and showman Phineas Taylor (Aka “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-driven content is a powerful way of getting your business promoted effectively. Genuine testimonials quoted directly from existing clients are far more persuasive for attracting new clients, customers or users than anything you can say about your own products or services.
There is clearly an untapped source of opportunities for generating new business that most small businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … client reviews!
Reviews and testimonials are great for building credibility for your business.
Tests conducted by leading research companies all point to the same inevitable conclusion: adding customer testimonials and reviews to your sales information reduces doubts potential customers may have about buying some products, helps users select products 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 site if it has ratings and consumer reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, reviews can produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more user reviews per product can result in a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Site 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).
- Customer 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).
(Above figures sourced from eConsultancy.com)
Adding Client Reviews – Online Reputation Management
You should be adding positive testimonials and reviews from very happy clients who have experienced positive results with your business to your site.
Customer testimonials and reviews, however, are like double-edged swords; they can impact your business both positive and negative ways.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your services directly to you, but they could have posted negative comments on Facebook or a user thread about an unpleasant encounter they’ve just had with you or your business and this could be costing you business.
This is where online reputation management becomes important to your business success.
Misconceptions about engaging in online reputation management practices, such as being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you really don’t need it) could be causing damage to your business without you even realizing it.
See this article to learn more about a tool for WordPress users that lets you legally and ethically manage customer feedback:
Tips On Improving Your Sales Conversions With Customer Testimonials
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are effective when it comes to helping you market your products and services online and should be used in your content marketing strategy. When you include your own client responses in your content, you:
- Show prospects exactly with similar problems and pains how your products and services can help them.
- Help potential customers identify and address their objections.
- Help prospects connect with their motivations and this facilitates the sales process.
Here are some useful tips on how to create compelling customer testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: You should try to use the actual words used by your customers as much as you can. Leave grammatical or spelling errors in the content. This helps keep your testimonials ‘real’.
- 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 your visitors and potential prospects take notice of your site’s content.
- Use the power of storytelling: Stories are so much more powerful and memorable than simply providing facts and statistics. Being able 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 presenting generic statements about excellent support and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: It’s good to add testimonials in your site copy where it best makes sense to place them, and where you believe these can most effectively help sell your point. Think about the impact you can create on your visitor’s perception by adding a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution retails for before posting your pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped your clients solve before talking about the benefits of your services, or testimonials where clients are genuinely thrilled about your support before offering guarantees or providing content that helps your readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements is more powerful: “XYZ solution was directly responsible for increasing our revenue by $98,466 during the last fiscal year,” or “XYZ product definitely helped us grow our sales?” If 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 of work 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 testimonial throughout your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult if you are just starting out or have very few clients, try to avoid displaying the same testimonial throughout your website. Depending on your business, you could try to obtain more customer 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 choose 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 is 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 ideal customers.
- Reprint across different platforms. If you get great feedback on your Facebook wall praising your business, ask them for permission to reprint the content on your blog.
- Only use genuine client testimonials. Many people can tell if you are employing copy writers to write your content. Outsourcing content is fine, but your potential customers need to believe that the testimonials provided on your site are genuine. Don’t compromise your credibility with false testimonials.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
Getting a testimonial from a satisfied customer can be as simple as just asking for it.
Here are some useful tips for requesting testimonials:
- Make it a part of your business processes to contact customers after 14 days with an email request for a testimonial if you have not obtained one immediately after completing your service.
- Include a field for testimonials in all client surveys.
- Take out your phone when you next visit a client or hand over a finished project and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they would be happy to record a short video testimonial/feedback interview. If they agree, while recording the video, explain to viewers what you have done for the client and try to capture the client’s positive reactions and responses.
- Make it easy and write it for them. If a client sends you a positive email thanking you for a great service that contains snippets of useful testimonial material interspersed with the rest of their message, grab the best sections (only use what they have written – don’t 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 done this to help them save time and let them know they are completely free to modify what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link Back To Their Site
Offer to add 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 an 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 requests for a testimonial in a regularly-spaced email message. Preferably, this should be timed to reach subscribers just after your customers have had a chance to assess the results of using your product, service or solution. Use words like “I need your help” in the subject of your message and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking customers for honest feedback, a testimonial, or a review of your services.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature lets you obtain testimonials from other members that become part of 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 their permission to reprint it on your website (and offer to add a link back to their website or profile in exchange).
Create A Customer Testimonials Section On Your Site
Create a “Testimonials” page and add a “read more testimonials …” link to this section throughout your site.
Practical Tip: You can measure how effective testimonials are by how long visitors stay on the section of your pages or posts where you have added the testimonial content. ”Heatmapping” technology is a great way to understanding what visitors are doing on your site.
We have written an article about adding heatmaps to your site to track visitor behaviour here:
Testimonial Plugins For WordPress
If you use 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 (remember to provide simple instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), all you have to do is send customers to your “Testimonials” section.
Check out the plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add user testimonials to the sidebar as a widget, or embed testimonials into your pages and posts using a shortcode. Easy Testimonials also lets you insert a list of all your testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include an image with each testimonial, which is great for adding a photo of the testimonial author, their logo, etc.
Easy Testimonials also can be upgraded to a “pro” version that has additional features and technical support.
To download and use this plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials Widget is a free WordPress plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with videos or images on your site. You can insert testimonials using 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 loads of additional features available via a premium version, including built-in functions SEO functionality and technical support.
Visit this site for more information about using the plugin:
This is a premium plugin that provides plenty of 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. via a shortcode
- Styling options (display image on top, bottom, or side of testimonials, display testimonials in a speech bubble, customize 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 Summary …
Testimonials and customer reviews are powerful sources of content that help your business in terms of adding credibility, building authority, improving online reputation, and growing your sales funnel. Always ask for feedback, reviews, and testimonials from your customers or clients, and publish positive content about your business on your website.
The articles below are a great source of information on creating effective clients 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 easy-to-digest information and practical tips that will teach exactly how to drive more traffic to your web site, save money creating useful content that will add value to your visitors and grow your business online using content marketing strategies. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also completely FREE!
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