How To Build Your Reputation With Testimonials And User Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract new customers, and getting the exact same disappointing results? Most business owners don’t need to be told that trying to generate new business can be quite difficult. Just trying to stay 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 web-based and social-driven economy, ignoring what users may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Ignoring what users may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
You could be doing your business a great disservice if you are not boosting the positive things your customers say about your products and services. 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 an integral part of your content.
In this article, you’ll learn tips for converting more visitors into qualified leads with highly effective customer testimonials.
The great American showman and successful promoter Phineas Taylor (Aka “P.T.”) Barnum 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. Testimonials and reviews from existing customers are far more persuasive when it comes to drawing new clients, customers or users than anything you say about your own products or services.
There is a source of untapped opportunities for generating new business that most businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … consumer reviews and testimonials!
Reviews and testimonials are a terrific way to build credibility for your services and products.
Research conducted by many leading marketing companies all lead to the same conclusion: adding reviews and testimonials to your site helps to eliminate doubts potential customers may have about your products or services, helps with product selection and helps increase conversions of visitors into sales.
Here are just some of the findings available to support this:
- According to a study by eVoc Insights, an organization known for researching and measuring 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, consumer reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can mean 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).
- 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 Client Reviews – Online Reputation Management
Clearly, you should be adding positive reviews and testimonials from clients who have experienced positive results with your business to your site.
Reviews and customer testimonials, however, can work both ways and affect your business both in a positive as well as negative manner.
People may not be saying bad things about your business, products or services directly to you, but they could have posted disparaging remarks on Facebook or a forum about a bad encounter they’ve just had with one of your representatives and this could be costing you business.
This is where online reputation management becomes an important 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 realizing it.
See this article to learn more about a tool for WordPress users that allows you to legally and ethically manage your customer feedback:
Tips For Creating Testimonials
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are persuasive when it comes to helping you promote and market your products and services online and should be used in your content. When you quote your own user responses in your content, you:
- Show prospects 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 prospects connect with their aspirations and motivations and facilitate moving them closer to a buying decision.
Here are some tips on improving your sales with profit boosting testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: Try to use your customer’s actual words as much as you can. Leave grammatical or spelling errors in the content. This helps to keep it ‘real’.
- Use photos: Research shows 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 your visitors and potential prospects take notice of your content.
- Tell a powerful story: Stories are so much more effective 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 far more lasting impression on those reading your content than using generic statements about excellent service and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Use it in context: Add customer testimonials to 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 if you were to display a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution can be purchased for before posting service pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped your clients solve before talking about the benefits of your products, or testimonials where clients are truly ecstatic about your support when offering a risk-free guarantee or providing content that helps readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify the information: Which of the following statements is more powerful… “As a direct result of implementing your XYZ solution, we have noticed our net profit increase by $93,875 in the last fiscal year,” or “XYZ solution helped us grow our business?” If possible, publish testimonials containing quantifiable data, 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 testimonial repeatedly throughout your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult when you are just starting out and have very few clients, try to avoid displaying the same testimonial everywhere on your site. Depending on the type of business you run, you could try to obtain more 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 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 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 speak directly to your best audience demographic.
- Reprint across different platforms. If someone publishes a great comment on your Facebook page praising your business, ask them for permission to reprint the comment or post on your blog.
- Only use genuine testimonials. Your prospects need to see that the testimonials displayed on your site are real. Don’t destroy your credibility with a ”made up” testimonial.
How To Get Client Testimonials
Getting a testimonial from a satisfied client can be as simple as just asking for it.
Follow these useful guidelines for soliciting testimonials from your customers:
- Make a point of contacting clients after 14 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you did not obtain one immediately after performing a service.
- Include a text box for testimonials in all your client surveys.
- Pull out your phone next time you visit a client or hand over a finished job and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they would be happy to record a very brief video testimonial/feedback interview. While recording the video, describe to your viewers what you have done for the client and make sure to capture your 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 given you – don’t put words into their mouth), and shape these into a testimonial, then contact the client and ask them for permission to publish it. Explain that you have done this to help them save time and invite them to modify what you have written however they see fit before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link To Their Site
Offer to publish a link back to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is a great incentive to get clients providing 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 list of subscribers, include a request for a testimonial in one of your newsletter mailouts. This should be done as soon as your customers have had a chance to assess the results of using your products. Use words like “I need your help” in your email subject and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking users to provide feedback, a testimonial, or a review of your services.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature helps you obtain testimonials that become part of your account. With LinkedIn, the process for requesting and providing recommendations is user-friendly and the person providing the recommendation gets a link to their profile. If you get a positive recommendation on LinkedIn, ask their permission to reprint it on your site (you can offer to publish 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 customer testimonials …” link pointing to this page wherever you add single testimonials on your site.
Practical Tip: You can measure how effective client testimonials are by how long visitors remain on the section of your pages or posts where you have added your testimonial content. A great tool for observing visitor behavior on your site are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about adding heatmaps to your site to understand visitor behavior here:
Useful WordPress Testimonial Plugins
If your website or blog is powered by WordPress, you can use a plugin to add and display testimonials. Some plugins also let you add forms to your pages where users can submit testimonials.
Once your testimonial plugin is installed and set up (make sure to provide simple instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you then send clients to your “Testimonials” section.
Below are a few useful plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is a free WP plugin that lets you add testimonials to the sidebar as a widget, or embed them into posts and pages using a shortcode. The Easy Testimonials plugin also lets you add a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include an image with each testimonial, which can be used for adding a photo of the testimonial author, a company logo, etc.
Easy Testimonials also provides users with a “pro” version that has additional features and developer support.
To learn more about the plugin, go here:
Testimonials Widget is a free WordPress plugin that lets you randomly slide or list selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with videos or images on your posts and pages. You can insert testimonials via a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and specify different display options such as random or specific ordering.
Testimonials Widget has plenty of additional features available via a premium version, including built-in functions SEO functionality and developer support.
Go here to download and use the plugin:
This is a premium WP plugin that provides many great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes to display correctly 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 on top, bottom, or side of the testimonial, display testimonials in a speech bubble, customized font and background colors, font types and more.
Go here for more information about using this plugin:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Conclusion …
Client testimonials and customer reviews are powerful sources of content that help your business add credibility, build authority, improve online reputation, and grow your sales funnel. Always ask for testimonials, reviews, and feedback from existing customers or clients, and start publishing these on your web site.
For additional resources on creating engaging testimonials see these useful 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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