Building Your Reputation With Testimonials And User Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract customers, only to get the exact same results? As most business owners know, that trying to generate new customers can be confusing, frustrating and extremely difficult. Just trying to survive in business takes a lot of time, money and energy, and sometimes this can feel like it’s just not worth the effort.
In today’s online and social-driven economy, you just can’t ignore the effect of online consumer behavior, especially if they are talking about your business.
Ignoring what your customers may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
You may also be doing your business a great disservice if you aren’t publishing the positive things your customers say about your services and products. Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are persuasive ways of helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be used in your content.
In this article, you’ll discover how to achieve better results online with compelling client testimonials.
Testimonials And User Reviews
Legendary showman and businessman Phineas Taylor P.T. Barnum is often quoted as having stated 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. Reviews quoted directly from satisfied users are far more persuasive for attracting new clients than anything you can say about your own products or services.
There is clearly a source of untapped opportunities for generating new business that most businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … customer testimonials and reviews!
User reviews and customer testimonials are a great way to build credibility for your services and products.
Studies conducted by many marketing companies all seem to point to the same inevitable conclusion: adding user reviews and testimonials to your site eliminates doubts potential customers may have about purchasing products or services that you are trying to sell, helps users select products and increases sales conversions.
Below are just some statistics that support this:
- According to research findings by eVoc Insights, a company 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, customer reviews are responsible for producing an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more user reviews per product can translate into a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Site 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 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).
(The figures above were sourced from eConsultancy.com)
Adding Consumer Reviews – Online Reputation Management
Clearly, you should be adding great testimonials and reviews from really happy clients to your site.
Testimonials and reviews, however, are like double-edged swords; they can impact your business both in a positive and 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 experience they’ve just had with your business and this could be costing you business.
This is where online reputation management becomes vital to your business success.
Misconceptions about managing your reputation online, such as being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you just don’t need to worry about 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 WordPress plugin that lets you legally and ethically manage your customer reviews:
How To Create Profit Boosting Testimonials – Useful Tips
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 included in your content marketing strategy. When you quote responses from customers 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 motivations and aspirations and facilitate the sales process.
Here are some practical tips on how to create awesome testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: You should try using the actual words used by your customers as much as you can. Leaving grammatical errors and misspelt words in the content helps preserve the authenticity of your testimonials.
- Use real photos: It’s a proven fact that using images of people’s faces will draw the attention of visitors on a web page. Adding photos of your clients next to their testimonials and reviews will help your visitors and potential prospects take notice of your site’s content.
- Tell a powerful story: Stories are much more effective and memorable than providing mere statistical facts. Being able 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 generalized statements about how “excellent” the support has been and giving “two thumbs up” product recommendations that everyone has heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: Add testimonials to your web content where it best makes sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help you sell your point. Think about the impact you can create on your visitor’s mind if you were to display 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 clients solve before discussing the benefits of your products, or testimonials where customers are genuinely ecstatic about your support before offering a risk-free guarantee 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 profits by $19,265 during the last financial quarter,” or “XYZ software helped us grow our sales?” If 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 in a recent financial period, 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 throughout your site: Although this can be a little difficult if you are just starting out and don’t have many clients, try to avoid using the same testimonial everywhere on your site. Depending on the type of business you run, you could try to obtain more client 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 ideal customer: As every infomercial featuring a celebrity endorsement, subject expert or “busy mom” knows, if you know who your ideal customer is, providing testimonials from people who your prospects aspire to become 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 ideal customers.
- Reprint content across different platforms. If someone posts a great comment on your Facebook page praising your business, send them a message asking for their permission to reprint the content on your blog.
- Only use genuine client testimonials. Your potential customers need to see that the testimonials provided on your site are real. Don’t compromise your integrity with a false testimonial.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
Always Ask For Testimonials
If you have just completed performing a service, or a customer says they are really happy with your product or service, ask them for a testimonial.
Follow these tips for soliciting testimonials from customers:
- Make it a part of your business processes to contact customers after 30 days with an email request for a testimonial if you did not obtain one after completing your service.
- Add a text box for testimonials in all client satisfaction surveys.
- Take out your phone when you next visit clients or hand over a finished job and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they wouldn’t mind recording a very brief video testimonial/feedback interview. If they agree, while recording your video, explain to your viewers what you have done for your client and try to record their positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy for them. Whenever clients send you a positive email thanking you for a great job 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 publish it. Explain that you have done this to save them 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 Post A Link Back To The Source
Offer to post a link to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive for clients to provide you with 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 one of your newsletter messages. This should be timed to reach subscribers just after your customers have had a chance to measure the results of using your products or services. 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 customers for feedback, a testimonial, or a review of your services.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature helps you request testimonials for your profile. 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 positive recommendation on LinkedIn, ask their permission to reprint it on your site (once again, you can offer to add a link back to their profile in exchange).
Create A Testimonials Section
Create a “Testimonials” page and add a “more client testimonials …” link to your main testimonials section throughout your content sections.
Useful 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 the testimonial content. ”Heatmapping” technology is a great way to measuring what visitors are doing on your site.
We have written an article about a heatmap technology you can add to your website to measure visitor behavior here:
Testimonial Plugins For WordPress
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin to display testimonials. Some plugins also let you add forms to your pages where users can submit feedback and testimonials.
Once your testimonial plugin is installed and set up (with instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you then refer clients to your “Testimonials” page.
Check out the testimonial plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add client testimonials to the sidebar as a widget, or embed them into a Page or Post using a shortcode. The plugin also lets you publish a list of all your testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which can be used to add a photo of the testimonial author, a logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also provides a “pro” version that offers additional features and developer support.
To download and use this plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials Widget is a free WP plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with videos or images on your WordPress site. You can insert testimonials content 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 has loads more features available via a premium version, including built-in options SEO functionality and developer support.
Visit this site to download this plugin:
This is a premium plugin that offers many great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes for correct display 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 the testimonial, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customized font and background colours, font types and more.
To download and use the plugin, go here:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Conclusion …
Testimonials and customer reviews are great 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 testimonials, reviews, and feedback from existing customers, and start publishing these on your site.
The articles below are a great source of information on creating effective testimonials and were helpful in providing research and 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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