How To Build Your Reputation With Testimonials And User Reviews
Are you stuck in a cycle of doing what you’ve always done to attract and retain customers, only to get the exact same disappointing results? As most small business owners know, that finding new ways of generating new customers can be quite hard, confusing and frustrating. Just trying to keep your business afloat takes 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, it’s a mistake to ignore the impact of what your potential customers are doing online, especially if they are posting negative comments about your business.
Don’t ignore what consumers may be saying online about your business!
You are also doing your business a disservice if you are not spreading the positive things your customers say about your solutions, customer support, etc. Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are powerful when it comes to helping you market your products and services online and should be used throughout your content.
In this article, you will learn how to convert more visitors into prospects with sales boosting client testimonials.
Testimonials And Consumer Reviews
Legendary showman and successful promoter P.T. Barnum once 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 way of getting your business promoted effectively. Quoting genuine reviews directly from existing users is existing clients are far more persuasive when it comes to attracting new clients, customers or users than anything you have to say about your own products or services.
There is clearly an untapped source of business growth potential that most businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … customer reviews!
Testimonials and consumer reviews are fantastic for building credibility for your services or products.
Studies conducted by many leading firms all seem to point to the same inevitable conclusion: user reviews and testimonials help decrease doubts potential customers may have about purchasing products, help users select products and increases sales conversions.
Here are just some of the stats available to support this:
- According to research 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 user reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, user reviews can produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can result in a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Web site visitors who interact with both 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 Consumer Reviews And Testimonials – Online Reputation Management
You should be adding reviews and testimonials from really happy customers to your website.
Reviews and testimonials, however, can work both ways and affect your business both negative and positive ways.
People may not be saying bad things about your business, products or services directly to you, but they could have posted negative comments on Facebook, or a discussion thread or forum about an unpleasant encounter they’ve just had with one of your staff and this could be costing you business.
This is where online reputation management becomes vitally important to your business success.
Misconceptions about managing your reputation online, such as being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you really don’t need it) could be harming your business without you even being aware of it.
See this article to learn more about a simple WordPress plugin that allows you to legally and ethically manage user reviews:
Tips On How To Create Customer Testimonials
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are powerful ways of helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be added to your content marketing strategy. When you include responses from clients in your content, you:
- Show other users exactly what pains and problems your products and services can help to solve for them and how easily this can be done.
- Help prospects identify their objections and address these.
- Help prospects connect with their motivations and aspirations and facilitate moving them further along the sales process.
Here are some tips on improving your sales conversions with profit boosting user testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: You should try using the actual words used by your customers as much as you can. Leave little grammatical or spelling errors in the content. This helps to keep things ‘real’.
- Use photos of real people: 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 will help increase visitor engagement with your content.
- Tell a story: Stories are far more powerful and memorable than just providing statistical facts. 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.
- Use it in context: It’s good to add testimonials in your web content where it makes the most sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help sell your point. Think about the impact you can create on your visitor’s perception if you were to add a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution retails for before posting product or service pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before presenting the benefits of your services, or testimonials where customers are truly ecstatic about your customer service before offering guarantees or providing content that helps readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements do you think your prospects would consider to be more powerful… “XYZ solution was directly responsible for growing our sales by $41,047 during the last fiscal year,” or “XYZ product has helped us grow our sales?” Whenever possible, ask clients to specify quantifiable results when submitting testimonials, 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 during a specific business quarter, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn’t do before, etc.
- Vary the client testimonials on your site: Although this can be a little difficult if you are just starting out or don’t have many clients, it’s best to avoid using the same testimonial repeatedly throughout your site. Depending on your business, you could try to obtain more client testimonials by offering limited review copies of your product, or a special discount for 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 aspire to become is a very powerful motivator and influencer. People want to see and buy from “better versions” of themselves, so make sure to include testimonials targeted to your best audience demographic.
- Reprint across different platforms. If you get a great comment on your Facebook page praising your products or services, contact them privately asking for permission to reprint the content on your site.
- Never use fake client testimonials. Your prospects need to see that the testimonials you provide on your site are real. Don’t destroy your reputation with ”made up” testimonials.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
Getting a testimonial from a happy client can be as simple as just asking for it.
Here are some useful tips for soliciting testimonials from your customers:
- Make a point of contacting customers after a specific period of time, e.g. 60 days with an email request for a testimonial if you have not obtained one after performing a service.
- Add a field for entering testimonials in all your client surveys.
- Pull out your phone when you next visit clients or hand over a finished project and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they wouldn’t mind recording a brief video testimonial/feedback interview. During the video, describe to your viewers what you have done for the client and make sure to capture the client’s positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy and write it for them. Whenever a client sends 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 written – don’t put words into their mouth), and use these to create 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 save them time and invite them to edit what you have written however they see fit before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link Back To Their Site
Offer to post a link to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive to get 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 a request for a testimonial in a periodic auto responder broadcast. This should be timed to reach subscribers just after your clients have had a chance to use your solution. Use words like “I need a quick favor” in the subject of your email and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking users to provide feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature helps you request testimonials that become part of your account. With LinkedIn, the process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite user-friendly and the person providing 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 profile in exchange).
Create A Testimonials Page
Create a new page on your website for customer testimonials and add a “more client testimonials …” link to this page wherever you plan to display new testimonials on your content sections.
Tip: You can measure how useful client testimonials are by how long visitors stay on the section of your pages or posts where you have added your testimonial content. ”Heatmapping” technology is a great way to monitoring what visitors are doing on your pages.
We have written an article about a heatmap analytics software you can add to your site to measure visitor behaviour here:
Using WordPress Testimonial Plugins
If your site or blog is built using 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 feedback and testimonials.
Once your plugin is installed and set up (make sure to provide simple instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you can then refer customers to your “Testimonials” page.
Below are some great testimonial plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is an easy-to-use free plugin that lets you add testimonials to the sidebar as a widget, or embed testimonials into your pages and posts using a shortcode. The plugin also lets you add a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which can be used to add a photo of the testimonial author, their logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also can be upgraded to a “pro” version that offers additional features and developer support.
Visit this site to download and use this plugin:
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 pages and posts. You can insert user testimonials via a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and specify different display options such as random or specific ordering.
The plugin makes loads more features available via a premium version, including built-in options for better search engine results and developer support.
To download this plugin, visit this site:
This is a premium 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 slideshows, sliders, list layout, grid layout, etc. by adding a shortcode
- Styling options (display image at the top, bottom, or side of testimonials, display testimonials in a speech bubble, customized font and background colours, font types and more.
To download this plugin, visit this site:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Summary …
User reviews and client testimonials are powerful sources of content that can 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 your customers, and start publishing these on your web site.
The articles below provide useful information about creating engaging users testimonials and were also 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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