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 disappointing results? Most business owners don’t need to be told that generating new business can be quite difficult. 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, it’s a mistake to ignore the effect of online consumer behavior, especially if they are talking about your business.
Don’t ignore what consumers may be saying online about your business!
By the same token, you may also be doing your business a great disservice if you are not boosting the positive things your customers say about your services and products. User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are persuasive when it comes to helping you market your products and services online and should be included as part of your content marketing strategy.
In this article, you’ll discover how to achieve better results online with captivating client testimonials.
Consumer Reviews And Testimonials
P.T. Barnum, legendary American businessman and 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. Quoting genuine testimonials and reviews from your existing clients is satisfied users are far more persuasive for drawing new clients, customers or users than anything you have to say about your own products or services.
There is a source of untapped business growth potential that most small businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … consumer reviews and testimonials!
Reviews and testimonials are a great way to build credibility for your business.
Research conducted by many leading marketing firms all lead to the same conclusion: user reviews and testimonials reduce doubts potential customers may have about purchasing products or solutions that you are trying to sell, help users select products and help increase the number of sales.
Below are just some findings that 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 web site if it has ratings and reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, consumer reviews are responsible for producing 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 customer 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).
Adding Customer Reviews And Testimonials – Managing Online Reputation
Clearly, you should be adding positive testimonials and reviews from delighted clients who have experienced positive results with your business to your site.
Customer testimonials and reviews, however, can work both ways and affect your business both positively or negatively.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your business directly to you, but they could have posted disparaging remarks on a discussion thread about a bad encounter they’ve just had with one of your team members 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 vitally important to your online success.
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) may be seriously hurting your business without you even realizing it.
See this article to learn more about a WordPress plugin that lets you legally and ethically manage your customer feedback:
Tips On Improving Your Sales Conversions With Testimonials
User reviews, testimonials, and case studies are powerful when it comes to marketing your products and services online and should be included in your content. When you quote responses from clients in your content, you:
- Show others exactly what problems and pains your products and services can help to solve for them and how easily this can be done.
- Help your visitors identify and address their objections.
- Help potential customers connect with their motivations and facilitate moving them closer to a buying decision.
Here are some tips on how to create captivating testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: Try to use 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 it ‘real’.
- Use photos of real people: Images of people’s faces draw the most attention on a web page. Adding photos of your clients next to their testimonials and reviews can help your visitors and potential prospects take notice of your content.
- Tell a powerful story: Stories are much more powerful and captivating than simply providing 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 support and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that all of us have heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: It’s good to add testimonials to your site copy where it makes the most sense to place them, and where you believe these can most effectively help sell your point. For example, think about the impact you can create on your visitor’s perception by adding a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution can be purchased for before posting your pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped your clients solve before discussing the benefits of your products, or testimonials where customers are truly thrilled about your customer service when offering a risk-free guarantee or addressing objections.
- Quantify the information: Which of the following statements is more powerful: “As a direct result of using your XYZ software, we grew our sales by an additional $61,397 in the last fiscal year,” or “XYZ solution 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 of work 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.
- Avoid using the same customer testimonial repeatedly throughout your site: Although this can be a little 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 existing 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 ideal customer 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 testimonials across different platforms. If someone posts fantastic feedback on your Facebook wall praising your business, contact them privately asking for their permission to reprint the comment or post on your blog.
- Never use fake testimonials. Many people can see through sites that employ copywriters to write their content. Outsourcing content is fine, but your potential customers need to believe that the testimonials provided on your site are genuine. Don’t compromise your credibility with false testimonials.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
Getting a testimonial from a satisfied customer can be as simple as just asking for it.
Follow these useful guidelines for requesting testimonials from customers:
- Make a point of contacting clients after a specific period of time, e.g. 30 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you have not obtained one immediately after completing a service.
- Include a field for entering testimonials in client satisfaction surveys.
- Take out your phone next time you meet with a client or hand over a finished project and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they would be happy to record a quick video testimonial/feedback interview. If they agree, while recording the video, describe to viewers what you have done for the client and make sure to record your client’s positive reactions and feedback.
- Make it easy for them. If 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 best sections (only use what they have written – never put words into their mouth), and use these to create a testimonial, then contact the client and ask them for permission to publish it. Explain that you have already prepared something to help them save time and invite them to change what you have written however they see fit before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link Back To The Source
Offer to add a link back 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 the implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are real 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 regularly-spaced email broadcast. Preferably, this should be timed to reach subscribers just after your customers have had a chance to experience your products. Use words like “I need a quick favor” in your email subject and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking customers for feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature is a great way to request testimonials that become part of your profile. With LinkedIn, the process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite simple and user-friendly and the person who provides the recommendation receives a link to their profile. If you get a positive recommendation on LinkedIn, ask their permission to reprint it on your site (tip: offer to add a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Customer Testimonials Section
Create a “Testimonials” page and add a “more customer testimonials …” link pointing to this section wherever you have displayed single testimonials on your site.
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 observing visitor behaviour on your pages are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about a heatmap analytics technology you can add to your website to understand visitor behavior here:
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 allow you to add a form to your pages inviting users to submit testimonials.
Once your plugin is installed and set up (with instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you then send users to your “Testimonials” section.
Below are some great WordPress testimonial plugins you can check out:
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. Easy Testimonials also lets you insert a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which can be used for adding a photo of the testimonial author, a logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also comes with a “pro” version that has additional features and plugin support.
For more information about using the plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials Widget is a free WordPress plugin that lets you randomly slide or list selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with videos or images on your web site. You can insert customer 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 makes plenty more features available via a premium version, including built-in functions SEO functionality and technical support.
To learn more about this plugin, visit this site:
Testimonials WordPress Plugin
This premium plugin offers a range 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 sliders, slideshows, list layout, grid 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.
To download and use this plugin, visit this site:
To learn how to add testimonials in WordPress, see the tutorial below:
In Conclusion …
User reviews and client testimonials are great 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 feedback, reviews, and testimonials from your customers or clients, and start publishing these on your website.
The articles below provide useful information about creating engaging testimonials and were also used when researching 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 actionable information and practical tips that will show you how to drive more traffic to your web site, save money creating useful content for your visitors and grow your business online using content marketing strategies. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also completely FREE!
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