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? Most small business owners don’t need to be told that trying to generate new business can be hard. Just trying to stay 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 web-based and social media-driven economy, ignoring what consumers 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 are also doing your business a great disservice if you aren’t publishing the positive things your customers say about your products, services, customer training, support, etc. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are powerful when it comes to marketing your products and services online and should be used in your content marketing strategy.
In this article, you’ll discover tips for converting more visitors into qualified leads with highly effective client testimonials.
Testimonials And User Reviews
Legendary American showman Phineas Taylor P.T. Barnum 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. Quoting genuine testimonials and reviews from your existing users is existing clients 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 … reviews and testimonials from your previous users!
Customer reviews and customer testimonials are a powerful way to build credibility for your products or services.
Studies conducted by leading marketing research companies all point to the same conclusion: testimonials and user reviews help decrease doubts potential customers may have about some products or services, help users select products and increases sales conversions.
Here are just some statistics that support this:
- According to a study 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 web site if it has ratings and user reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, customer reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more consumer reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Web 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 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).
(Above figures sourced from eConsultancy.com)
Adding Customer Reviews – Managing Online Reputation
Clearly, you should be adding positive reviews from existing clients to your website.
Testimonials and customer reviews, however, can work both ways and impact your business both positive and negative ways.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your services directly to you, but they could be posting updates on Facebook about an unpleasant experience they’ve just had using your products 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 an important aspect of your business success.
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) may be causing damage to your business without you even realizing this.
See this article to learn more about a tool for WordPress users that lets you legally and ethically manage user feedback:
Creating Testimonials – Useful Tips
User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are powerful when it comes to helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be added to your content marketing strategy. When you include your own customer responses in your content, you:
- Show prospects exactly what pains and problems your products and services can solve for them and how easily this can be done.
- Help your visitors identify their objections and address these.
- Help potential customers connect with their motivations and aspirations and facilitate moving them closer to a buying decision.
Below are some useful tips on improving your sales conversions with compelling customer testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: Try using the actual words used by your customers as much as possible. Leave grammatical or spelling errors in the content. This helps keep your testimonials ‘real’.
- Use real photos: Images of people’s faces draw attention to your content. Adding client photos next to their testimonials and reviews will help your visitors and potential prospects take notice of your content.
- Use the power of storytelling: Stories are so much more effective and captivating than providing mere statistical facts. Being able to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution came to the rescue will make a more lasting impression on those reading your content than using generalized statements about excellent service and giving “two thumbs up” product recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: It’s good to add customer testimonials in your site copy where it makes the most sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help you sell your point. For example, think about the impact you will have on your visitor’s perception if you were to insert a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution retails for before posting your product pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before presenting the benefits of your services, or testimonials where clients are truly thrilled about your support before offering a money-back guarantee 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 helping to increase our sales by $31,247 in the previous financial quarter,” or “XYZ product definitely helped us grow our business?” If 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 they have saved, 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 testimonials on your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult if you are just starting out and don’t have many clients, it’s best to avoid displaying the same testimonial everywhere on your site. 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 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 target audience is, providing testimonials from people who your prospects can relate to is a very 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 ideal customers.
- Reprint across different platforms. If someone posts great feedback on your Facebook wall praising your commitment to customer satisfaction, ask them permission to reprint the comment or post on your site.
- Never use fake client testimonials. Your prospects need to believe that the testimonials published on your site are genuine. Don’t compromise your credibility or reputation with ”made up” testimonials.
How To Get Client Testimonials
If you have just completed a service for someone, or a customer says they are really happy with your product or service, ask them for a testimonial.
Follow these useful guidelines for requesting testimonials from clients:
- Contact clients after a specific period of time, e.g. 14 days with an email request for a testimonial if you have not obtained one after completing your service.
- Add a field for testimonials in your client satisfaction surveys.
- Pull out your phone when you next meet with clients 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 quick video testimonial/feedback interview. While recording the video, explain to your viewers what you have done for the client and try to record the client’s positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy and write it for them. Whenever clients send 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 given you – don’t put words into their mouth), and use these to create a testimonial, then contact the 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 edit what you have written however they see fit before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link To The Source Wherever You Publish Their Testimonial
Offer to add a link to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive to get clients providing you with a testimonial. It also makes an 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 periodic email message. This should be done after your customers have had a chance to assess the effect of using your product, service or 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 customers to provide feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature is a great way to request testimonials that become part of your profile. The process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite simple and user-friendly and the person providing the recommendation gets a link to their profile. If you get a recommendation on LinkedIn, ask for permission to reprint it on your website (tip: offer to add a link back to their website or profile in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Page
Create a new section on your website or blog for client testimonials and add a “more customer testimonials …” link to this section throughout your content sections.
Useful Tip: You can measure how effective customer 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 observing what visitors are doing on your pages.
We have written an article about a heatmap technology you can add to your sites to observe visitor behavior here:
- How To Observe Visitor Behavior On Your WordPress Site With Heatmapping Software – HeatMap Tracker Review
Testimonial Plugins For WordPress
If your website or blog is powered by WordPress, you can use a plugin to display testimonials. Some plugins also allow you to add a form to your pages where users can submit testimonials.
Once your testimonial plugin is installed and set up (with instructions for adding testimonials via the submission form – if available), you then send clients to your “Testimonials” section.
Check out the testimonial plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is an easy-to-use free plugin that lets you add testimonials to the sidebar as a widget, or embed them into posts and pages using a shortcode. Easy Testimonials also lets you publish a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include an image with each testimonial, which is great for adding a photo of the testimonial author, their logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also provides users with a “pro” version that has additional features and plugin support.
To download and use this plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials Widget is a free WP 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 using 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 functions for improved search engine results and technical support.
To download the plugin, visit this site:
This is a premium WordPress plugin that provides a range of great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes for correct display on any device or browser.
- Options to display your testimonials in a widget or as sliders, slideshows, grid layout, list 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 colors, font types and more.
To download this plugin, go here:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Summary …
Client testimonials and user reviews are great sources of content that can help your business add credibility, build authority, improve online reputation, and grow your sales funnel. Always ask for testimonials, reviews, and feedback from your clients, and publish positive content about your business on your site.
The articles below provide useful information on 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
We also recommend subscribing to our Free Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive a comprehensive series of training emails with easy-to-digest information that will teach exactly how to drive more traffic to your web site, save money creating high-quality content that will add value to your visitors and grow your business online using content marketing. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also 100% FREE!
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