How To Build Your Reputation With Testimonials And User Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract and retain customers, only to get the exact same results? As most business owners know, that trying to generate new customers can be hard. Just trying to stay in business takes up 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 users may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Don’t ignore what consumers may be saying online about your business!
You could be doing your business a great disservice if you don’t publish the positive things your customers are saying about your solutions, client training, support, etc. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are effective ways of helping you market your products and services online and should be used in your content.
In this article, you will learn how to improve your visitor-to-lead conversions using meaningful customer testimonials.
P.T. Barnum, the great, legendary businessman and 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”. Using social proof as content is a powerful and effective way of promoting your business. Quoting genuine testimonials and reviews from your satisfied clients is satisfied customers 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 an untapped source of business growth potential that most businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … reviews and testimonials from their customers!
Customer testimonials and reviews are effective for building credibility for your business.
Research conducted by many marketing firms all lead to the same inevitable conclusion: testimonials and user reviews reduce doubts potential customers may have about purchasing your products or services, help users select products and help increase the number of product sales.
Below are just some findings that support this:
- According to research 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 customer reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, user reviews are responsible for producing an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more customer reviews per product can result in a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- 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 – Managing Online Reputation
Adding great reviews and testimonials to your website from clients who are delighted with your products or services is essential for creating a solid online business reputation.
Customer reviews and customer testimonials, however, can work both ways and impact your business both negatively or positively.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your business directly to you, but they could be posting disparaging remarks on Facebook or a forum about an unpleasant experience they’ve just had with your services 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 vital part of your business and content marketing strategy.
Misconceptions about online reputation management, such as the process being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you really don’t need to worry about it) could be hurting your business without you even realizing it.
See this article to learn more about a simple yet effective WordPress plugin that can help you avoid the escalation of negative reviews about your services through effective customer review management:
Creating Effective Client Testimonials – Useful Tips
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are effective ways of helping you market and promote your products and services online and should be an integral part of your content. When you quote responses from users in your content, you:
- Show potential customers exactly with similar problems and pains how your products and services can help them.
- Help prospects identify and address their objections.
- Help potential customers connect with their motivations and facilitate the sales process.
Here are some tips on how to create user testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: Try to use the actual words used by your customers as much as possible. Leaving little grammatical errors and misspellings in the content helps preserve the authenticity of your testimonials.
- Use photos: It’s a proven fact 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 your visitors and potential prospects take notice of your content.
- Tell a powerful story: Stories are much more effective and captivating than providing mere statistical facts. The ability to present a customer’s horror story and how your solution came to the rescue will make a far more lasting impression on those reading your content than using generalized statements about excellent customer support and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that everyone has heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: Add 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 can create on your visitor’s mind by adding a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution can be purchased for before posting service pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before discussing the benefits of your products, or testimonials where customers are truly thrilled about your customer service when offering a money-back guarantee or providing content designed to help your 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 profits by $81,615 in the previous financial quarter,” or “XYZ solution definitely helped us grow our sales?” Whenever possible, publish testimonials containing quantifiable data, like how much your solution helped to increase their sales or reduce their costs in specific percentages or amounts, how many hours of work you have helped them save, how many new leads or new clients they were able to generate in a recent business quarter, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn’t do before, etc.
- Use different customer testimonials throughout your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult if you are just starting out and have very few clients, try to avoid displaying the same testimonial repeatedly throughout your website. Depending on the type of business you run, you could try to obtain more user 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 ideal 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 aspire to become is 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 across different platforms. If you get a great comment on your Facebook wall praising your business, ask them permission to reprint the content on your site.
- Don’t use fake testimonials. Most people can see through sites that employ copywriters to write content. Outsourcing content is fine, but your prospects need to see that the testimonials displayed on your site are genuine. Don’t compromise your credibility with a ”made up” testimonial.
How To Get Customer 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 tips for soliciting testimonials from clients:
- Contact 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 completing a service.
- Add a field for testimonials in all your client satisfaction surveys.
- Pull out your phone next time you visit a client or hand over a completed job and if they are delighted with your services, ask them if they would be happy to record a very quick video testimonial/feedback interview. When recording the video, explain to viewers what you have done for your client and make sure to record their positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy for them. Whenever clients send you a positive email thanking you for a great service 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 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 done this to help them save time and invite them to edit what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Publish A Link Back To Their Site Wherever You Quote Their Testimonial
Offer to post a link back to their website 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 real and can be verified.
Include Testimonial Requests In Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a subscriber list, include a request for a testimonial in one of your autoresponder mailouts. This should be done as soon as your customers 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 them to provide feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature allows you to request testimonials for your profile. 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 website (and offer to add a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Customer Testimonials Section
Create a new page for customer testimonials and add a “read more client testimonials …” link pointing to this page throughout your content sections.
Useful Tip: You can measure the effectiveness of your client testimonials by how long visitors stay on the section of your pages or posts where you have added your testimonial content. A great tool for measuring visitor behaviour on your pages are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about adding heatmaps to your sites to track visitor behavior here:
Useful WordPress Plugins
If your website or blog is built using WordPress, you can use a plugin to add and display testimonials. Some plugins also let you add a form to your pages where users can submit testimonials.
Once your plugin is installed and set up (with instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you then refer users to your “Testimonials” section.
Check out the plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed testimonials into a Page or Post using a shortcode. The plugin also lets you insert a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include an image with each testimonial, which can be used to add a photo of the testimonial author, a logo, etc.
The plugin also can be upgraded to a “pro” version that has additional features and developer support.
To download this plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials Widget is a free plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with videos or images on your posts and pages. You can insert testimonials 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 comes with a range of additional features via a premium version, including built-in options for improved search engine results and plugin support.
Go here to download and use this plugin:
This is a premium WP plugin that provides 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 sliders, slideshows, list layout, grid layout, etc. via a shortcode
- Styling options (display image on top, bottom, or side of testimonials, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customize font and background colours, font types and more.
Go here to download and use this plugin:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Summary …
Testimonials and customer reviews 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 clients, and start publishing these on your site.
For additional resources on creating engaging clients testimonials refer to the articles below:
- 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 actionable information and practical tips that will show exactly how to drive more traffic to your website, save money creating useful content that will add value to your visitors and grow your business online using content. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also 100% FREE!
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