Build Your Reputation With Testimonials And User Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract customers, and getting the exact same disappointing results? As most small business owners know, that trying to generate new customers can be quite difficult and time-consuming. 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 online and social-driven economy, you just can’t ignore the impact of what your potential customers are doing online, especially if they are posting comments about your business.
Ignoring what your clients may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
By the same token, you could be doing your business a disservice if you don’t promote the positive things your customers say about your services and products. Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are persuasive when it comes to marketing your products and services online and should be included as part of your content.
In this article, you’ll discover how to get better results online with powerful user testimonials.
Testimonials And Consumer Reviews
Phineas Taylor P.T. Barnum, the great, legendary showman, 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 and effective way of getting your business promoted. Testimonials and reviews quoted directly from satisfied users are far more persuasive for drawing new customers than anything you can say about your own products or services.
There is an untapped source of business growth potential that most small businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … reviews from their customers!
Customer reviews and testimonials are fantastic for building credibility for your products and services.
Research conducted by marketing research companies all point to the same conclusion: adding customer testimonials and reviews to your sales information pages reduces doubts potential customers may have about purchasing products and services, helps with product selection and increases conversions of visitors into sales.
Below are just some findings that support this:
- According to a study 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 customer reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, reviews can produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more consumer reviews per product can result in a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Site 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).
- 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).
Adding Consumer Reviews – Managing Online Reputation
Clearly, you should be adding reviews from very happy customers to your website.
Consumer reviews and testimonials, however, are like double-edged swords; they can affect your business both negatively or positively.
People may not be saying bad things about your services directly to you, but they could have posted updates on a forum about an unpleasant experience they’ve just had with your business 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 vitally important aspect of your business success.
Misconceptions about online reputation management, such as being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you really don’t need it) could be seriously hurting your business without you even being aware of it.
See this article to learn more about a simple yet effective WordPress plugin that lets you legally and ethically manage user feedback:
Tips For Creating Customer 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 marketing. When you quote responses from users in your content, you:
- Show prospects exactly what problems and pains your products and services can solve for them and how easily this can be done.
- Help prospects identify and address their objections.
- Help prospects connect with their motivations and aspirations and this facilitates the sales process.
Here are some useful tips on how to create user testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: You should try to use your customer’s actual words 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 on a web page. Adding photos of your clients next to their testimonials and reviews will help increase visitor engagement with your content.
- Use the power of storytelling: Stories are far more effective and captivating than providing mere statistical facts. Being able to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution saved the day will make a longer-lasting impression on those reading your content than using generalized statements about how “excellent” your service was and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Use it in context: Add testimonials to your site copy where it makes the most sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help you sell your point. Think about the impact you will have on your visitor’s mind if you were to present a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution can be purchased for before posting your pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before discussing the benefits of your products, or testimonials where customers are genuinely thrilled about your customer service when offering guarantees or providing content that helps readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements do you think is more powerful… “XYZ solution was directly responsible for growing our sales by $84,718 during the previous fiscal year,” or “XYZ solution has helped us grow our business?” Whenever possible, publish testimonials containing quantifiable data, like how much your solution helped to increase their sales 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 during a specific financial period, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn’t do before, etc.
- Vary the client testimonials throughout your site: Although this can be a little difficult when you are just starting out or don’t have many clients, try to avoid using the same testimonial repeatedly throughout your site’s pages. Depending on the nature of your business, 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 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 ideal customer is, providing testimonials from people who your prospects can relate to 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 that appeal directly to your ideal customers.
- Reprint testimonials across different platforms. If someone publishes a great comment on your Facebook wall praising your products or services, send them a message asking permission to reprint the comment or post on your blog.
- Never use fake client testimonials. Many people can see through sites that employ copywriters to produce content. Outsourcing content is fine, but your potential clients need to believe that the testimonials displayed on your site are genuine. Don’t destroy your credibility with a false testimonial.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
Ask For Testimonials
Getting a testimonial from a happy customer can be as simple as just asking for it.
Here are some useful guidelines for requesting testimonials:
- Contact clients after a specific period of time, e.g. 90 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you have not obtained one immediately after completing a service.
- Include a text box for testimonials in all your client surveys.
- Pull out your phone when you next meet with a client or hand over a completed project and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they would be happy to record a short video testimonial/feedback interview. When recording your video, explain to your viewers what you have done for your client and record their positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy and write it for them. When 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 juiciest 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 done this to help them save time and let them know they are completely free to change what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link To Their Site Wherever You Quote Their Testimonial
Offer to publish a link 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 not fake 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 mailouts. This should be timed to reach subscribers just after your customers have had a chance to use your 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 users for feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature helps you solicit testimonials from other members for your profile. The process for requesting and providing recommendations is simple and 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 site (tip: offer to add a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Page
Create a new page for client testimonials and add a “read more testimonials …” link pointing to your main testimonials section wherever you add new testimonials on your site.
Useful Tip: You can measure how useful 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 understanding what visitors are doing on your pages are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about adding heatmap analytics to your website to analyze visitor behaviour here:
- How To Analyze User Behaviour On Your WordPress Site With Analytics Software – HeatMapTracker Review
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin to add, edit and display testimonials. Some plugins also let you 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 adding testimonials via the submission form – if available), you can then refer clients to your “Testimonials” page.
Below are some WordPress testimonial plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add user testimonials to your 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 images with testimonials, which is great to add a photo of the testimonial author, a logo, etc.
Easy Testimonials also provides a “pro” version that offers additional features and developer support.
To download and use the plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials Widget is a free plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with videos or images on your web 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 Testimonials Widget plugin provides additional features via a premium version, including built-in options for better search engine results and technical support.
For more information about the plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials WordPress 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.
- Options to display your testimonials in a widget or as sliders, slideshows, list layout, grid layout, etc. using a shortcode
- Styling options (display image on top, bottom, or side of the testimonial, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customized font and background colors, font types and more.
For more information about using this plugin, visit this site:
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 testimonials, reviews, and feedback from existing customers or clients, and start publishing these on your web site.
For additional information about creating effective clients testimonials refer to 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
We also recommend subscribing to our Free Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive regular training emails with actionable information and practical tips that will teach you how to drive more traffic to your site, save money creating high-quality content that will add value to your site 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 100% FREE!
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