Building Your Reputation With Testimonials And User Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract new customers, only to get the exact same results? Most small business owners don’t need to be told that finding effective ways of generating new business can be hard. Just trying to survive in business requires a lot of 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 your clients may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Don’t ignore what clients may be saying online about your business!
You may also be doing your business a great disservice if you don’t promote the positive things your clients say about your products, services, customer support, etc. Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are persuasive ways of helping you market your products and services online and should be included as part of your content.
In this article, you’ll discover how to achieve better results online using captivating user testimonials.
Phineas Taylor P.T. Barnum, the great American showman, is often quoted as having said that “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”
P.T. Barnum understood the power of “social proof”. Using social proof as content is a powerful and effective way of getting your business promoted. Genuine reviews and testimonials from your existing users are far more persuasive when it comes to drawing new clients, customers or users than anything you have to say about your own products or services.
There is clearly a source of untapped business growth potential that most small businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … testimonials and reviews from clients!
Testimonials and reviews are effective for building credibility for your services and products.
Studies conducted by leading marketing firms all lead to the same conclusion: adding reviews and testimonials to your sales pages helps reduce doubts potential customers may have about buying certain products or services, helps users select products and helps increase the number of sales.
Here are just some of the findings available to support this:
- According to research findings by eVoc Insights, an organization 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, customer reviews can produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can translate into a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Website 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 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 Customer Reviews – Online Reputation Management
Adding reviews to your website from existing customers is essential for creating a solid online business reputation.
Customer testimonials and user reviews, however, are like double-edged swords; they can impact your business both in a positive as well as negative manner.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your business directly to you, but they could have posted disparaging remarks on a forum about an unpleasant experience they’ve just had using your products and this could be costing you business.
This is where online reputation management becomes vital to your success.
Misconceptions about online reputation management, such as the process being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you just don’t need it) could be causing damage to your business without you even being aware of this.
See this article to learn more about a simple plugin for WordPress users that lets you legally and ethically manage user feedback:
Creating Customer Testimonials – Useful Tips
User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are persuasive ways of marketing your products and services online and should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. When you include responses from users in your content, you:
- Show prospects exactly with similar problems and pains how your products and services can help them.
- Help site visitors identify and address their objections.
- Help prospects connect with their motivations and aspirations and facilitate moving them closer to a decision to purchase.
Below are some useful tips on how to create effective client 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: Marketing tests show that using images of people’s faces draws the attention of visitors browsing a web page. Adding photos of your clients next to their testimonials and reviews can help increase visitor engagement with your site’s content.
- Tell a powerful story: Stories are far more effective and captivating than providing mere statistical facts. The ability to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution saved the day will make a far longer-lasting impression on those reading your content than presenting generic statements about how “excellent” the customer support was and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: Add testimonials in your web content where it best makes sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help to sell your point. Think about the impact you can create on your visitor’s mind if you were to add a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution sells 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 genuinely ecstatic about your customer service when offering guarantees or addressing objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements is more powerful… “XYZ solution was directly responsible for increasing our sales by $69,752 during the last fiscal year,” or “XYZ product definitely helped us grow our business?” Whenever possible, publish testimonials containing quantifiable results, like how much your solution helped to increase their market share 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 in a recent period, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn’t do before, etc.
- Use different testimonials on your site: Although this can be a little difficult when you are just starting out or have very few clients, try to avoid using the same testimonial throughout your web pages. 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 launch discount for clients in exchange for an honest review and permission to publish it if you choose to use it.
- Appeal to your best 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 is a 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 content across different platforms. If you get fantastic feedback on your Facebook page praising your products or services, send them a message asking for permission to reprint the content on your site.
- Only use genuine client testimonials. Many people can tell if you are employing copywriters to produce your content. Outsourcing content is fine, but your potential clients need to see that the testimonials you provide on your site are real. Don’t compromise your credibility or reputation with a false testimonial.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
When you complete a service for someone, or a customer says they are really happy with your product or service, ask them for a testimonial.
Follow these tips for requesting testimonials:
- Contact your customers after 14 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you have not obtained one immediately after performing a service.
- Include a field for testimonials in your client surveys.
- Take out your phone next time you visit clients or hand over a completed project and if they are delighted with your services, ask them if they wouldn’t mind recording a very quick video testimonial/feedback interview. If they agree, while recording the video, describe to your viewers what you have done for the client and make sure to record your client’s positive reactions and responses.
- Make it easy for them. If a client sends you positive written feedback that contains snippets of useful testimonial material interspersed with the rest of their message, grab the juiciest sections (only use what they have written – don’t 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 help them save 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 Their Site
Offer to post a link to their website in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive to get clients providing you with a testimonial. It also makes the implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are real and can be verified.
Add Testimonial Requests To Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a list of subscribers, include requests for a testimonial in a regularly-spaced newsletter broadcast. This should be timed to reach subscribers just after your clients have had a chance to experience your solution. Use words like “I need a quick favor” in your email subject and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking users for honest feedback, a testimonial, or a review of your services.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature helps you obtain testimonials from other members for your account. With LinkedIn, the process for requesting and providing recommendations is simple and 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 (you can offer to publish a link back to their website or profile in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Section
Create a “Testimonials” page and add a “more client testimonials …” link to your main testimonials page wherever you are adding new testimonials on your site.
Practical Tip: You can measure how effective testimonials are by how long visitors remain on the section of your pages or posts where you have added the testimonial content. A great tool for monitoring visitor behaviour on your pages are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about a heatmap analytics technology you can add to your sites to analyze visitor behaviour here:
- Monitoring Visitor Behaviour On Your WordPress Site Using Heatmapping Software – HeatMap Tracker Review
Using Testimonial Plugins For WordPress
If your site or blog is powered by WordPress, you can use a plugin to add, edit and display testimonials. Some plugins also let you add forms to your pages where users can 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 send customers to your “Testimonials” page.
Check out the WordPress testimonial plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed testimonials 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 business logo, etc.
Easy Testimonials also provides users with a “pro” version that has additional features and plugin support.
For more information about using this plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials Widget is a free plugin that lets you randomly slide or list selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with videos or images on your posts and pages. You can insert user testimonials using a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and specify different display options such as random or specific ordering.
The plugin has plenty of additional features available via a premium version, including built-in functions SEO functionality and plugin support.
Visit this site to download and use the 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, list layout, grid layout, etc. using 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.
Visit this site to learn more about using this plugin:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Summary …
Client testimonials and user reviews are powerful sources of content that can help your business add credibility, build authority, improve online reputation, and grow your sales funnel. Always ask for feedback, reviews, and testimonials from your clients or customers, and start publishing these on your website.
For additional information on creating effective customer testimonials refer to these 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 that will teach exactly how to drive more traffic to your site, save money creating useful content for your site visitors and grow your business online using content marketing. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also completely FREE!
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