Building Your Reputation With User Testimonials And Reviews
Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract and retain customers, only to get the exact same results? Most business owners don’t need to be told that finding effective ways of generating new customers 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 digital, mobile and social media-driven economy, you cannot afford to ignore the impact of what your potential customers are doing online, especially if they are posting comments about your business.
Don’t ignore what your clients may be saying online about your business!
By the same token, you could be doing your business a disservice if you are not promoting the positive things your customers say about your services and products. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are powerful when it comes to helping you promote and market your products and services online and should be included throughout your content.
In this article, you’ll learn how to improve your conversions using meaningful user testimonials.
Legendary American showman and successful promoter P.T. Barnum is often quoted as having stated 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. Genuine testimonials and reviews from satisfied users are far more persuasive for drawing new clients, customers or users than anything you can say about your own products or services.
There is clearly an untapped source of business growth potential that most businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … reviews and testimonials from customers!
Testimonials and consumer reviews are great for building credibility for your products and services.
Studies conducted by leading firms all point to the same conclusion: user reviews and testimonials help reduce doubts potential customers may have about your products or services, help with product selection and increases conversions of visitors into sales.
Here are just some of the findings 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 web site if it has ratings and user reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, customer reviews play a significant role in creating an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can translate into 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 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).
(The figures above were sourced from eConsultancy.com)
Adding User Reviews – Managing Online Reputation
Clearly, you should be adding great reviews from really happy clients to your site.
Reviews and testimonials, however, are like double-edged swords; they can impact your business both negative and positive ways.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your services directly to your face, but they could have posted negative words on Facebook or a forum about a bad 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 vitally 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 really don’t need it) could be causing damage to your business without you even being aware of it.
See this article to learn more about a tool for WordPress users that allows you to legally and ethically manage your customer feedback:
Creating Testimonials – Useful Tips
Testimonials, user reviews, and case studies are persuasive ways of marketing your products and services online and should be included in your content. When you include responses from users in your content, you:
- Show others exactly with similar problems and pains what your products and services can do for them.
- Help prospects identify and address their objections.
- Help prospects connect with their motivations and aspirations and this facilitates moving them closer to a decision to purchase.
Below are some practical tips on how to create customer testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: You should try to use your customer’s actual words as much as you can. Leaving little grammatical errors and misspelt words in the content helps preserve your testimonials’ authenticity.
- Use photos of real people: Images of people’s faces draw the most attention to your content. 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 so much more effective and captivating than simply providing 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 presenting generic statements about how “excellent” the service was and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that everyone has heard a “million times” before.
- Use it in context: It’s good to add testimonials in your site copy where it best makes 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 by adding a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution retails for before posting service pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before discussing the benefits of your services, or testimonials where clients are truly ecstatic about your support before offering a risk-free guarantee or providing content that helps 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 growing our profits by $15,167 in the previous financial quarter,” or “XYZ solution has 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 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, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn’t do before, etc.
- Vary the testimonials throughout your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult when you are just starting out or don’t have many clients, try to avoid displaying the same testimonial repeatedly throughout your site. 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 existing 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 best customer is, providing testimonials from people who your prospects aspire to become can be 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 content across different platforms. If someone publishes great feedback on your Facebook wall praising your solution, send them a message asking for their permission to reprint the content on your blog.
- Only use genuine testimonials. Your prospects need to see that the testimonials published on your site are real. Don’t destroy your credibility with ”made up” testimonials.
How To Get Testimonials From Your Customers
Getting a testimonial from a satisfied customer can be as simple as just asking for it.
Here are some tips for requesting testimonials from clients:
- Make a point of contacting clients after a specific period of time, e.g. 60 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you did not obtain one immediately after completing your service.
- Add a text box for entering testimonials in client surveys.
- Pull out your phone next time you visit a client or hand over a finished project and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they wouldn’t mind recording a short video testimonial/feedback interview. When recording your video, explain to your viewers what you have done for the client and try to record your client’s positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy 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 written – 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 invite them to modify what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Publish A Link Back To The Source
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 Testimonial Requests In Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a subscriber list, include requests for a testimonial in one of your newsletter messages. This should be timed to reach subscribers just after your customers have had a chance to measure the results of using your products. 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 subscribers for honest feedback, a testimonial, or a product review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature helps you obtain testimonials from other members that become part of your account. 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 for permission to reprint it on your website (you can offer to add a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Page On Your Site
Create a “Testimonials” page and add a “read more customer testimonials …” link pointing to this section throughout your content sections.
Practical Tip: You can measure the effectiveness of your customer testimonials by how long visitors stay on the section of your pages or posts where you have added the testimonial content. ”Heatmapping” technology is a great way to observing visitor behavior on your pages.
We have written an article about adding heatmaps to your sites to observe visitor behaviour here:
- Understanding User Behavior On Your WordPress Site Using Heatmapping Software – HeatMapTracker Review
Using WordPress Testimonial Plugins
If your website or blog is built using WordPress, you can use a plugin to display testimonials. Some plugins also allow you to add forms to your pages inviting users to submit feedback and testimonials.
Once your testimonial plugin is installed and set up (with instructions for adding testimonials via the submission form – if available), you can then refer customers to your “Testimonials” section.
Check out the testimonial plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is a free WordPress plugin that lets you add user testimonials to the sidebar as a widget, or embed them into a Page or Post 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 you can use to add a photo of the testimonial author, a logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also can be upgraded to a “pro” version with additional features and developer support.
To download this plugin, go here:
Testimonials Widget is a free plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with images or videos on your posts and pages. You can insert testimonials content using a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and specify different display options such as random or specific ordering.
Testimonials Widget offers added features via a premium version, including built-in functions for improved search engine results and developer support.
Visit this site to download and use the plugin:
This premium plugin offers plenty of 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, grid layout, list layout, etc. using a shortcode
- Styling options (display image at the top, bottom, or side of testimonials, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customized font and background colors, font types and more.
For more information about using this plugin, go here:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Conclusion …
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 feedback, reviews, and testimonials from your clients or customers, and start publishing these on your website or blog.
For additional resources about creating effective users testimonials see 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
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