Are you stuck in a cycle of doing what you've always done to attract and retain customers, and getting the exact same disappointing results? As most small business owners know, that finding effective ways of generating new customers can be difficult. Just trying to keep your business afloat 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 digital, mobile and social media-driven economy, you simply can't afford to ignore the effect of what potential customers are doing online, especially if they are posting negative comments about your business.
Ignoring what users may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
By the same token, you could be doing your business a great disservice if you aren't publishing the positive things your customers say about your services, solutions, client support, etc. 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 an integral part of your content.
In this article, you will learn how to create better results online with standout client testimonials.
Testimonials And Consumer Reviews
Legendary American showman and businessman Phineas Taylor (Aka "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-driven content is a powerful and effective way of promoting your business. Quoting testimonials and reviews from your satisfied customers is satisfied clients are far more persuasive when it comes to attracting new clients than anything you have to say about your own products or services.
There is a source of untapped opportunities for generating new business that most businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly ... consumer reviews!
Consumer reviews and testimonials are a fantastic way to build credibility for your products and services.
Tests conducted by many leading firms all point to the same conclusion: user reviews and testimonials decrease doubts potential customers may have about purchasing your product, help with product selection and help increase conversions of visitors into sales.
Here are just some statistics that support this:
- According to research findings 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 web site if it has ratings and reviews."
- According to Reevoo.com, consumer reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more customer reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- 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 User Reviews And Online Reputation Management
Adding great reviews and testimonials to your site from very happy clients is important for helping you grow your business online and creating a solid online reputation.
Consumer reviews and customer testimonials, however, can work both ways and affect your business both positive and negative ways.
You see, people may not be saying bad things about your services directly to your face, but they could be posting updates on Facebook or a discussion group about a bad encounter they've just had with one of your representatives and this could be costing you business.
This is where "online reputation management" becomes an essential part of your online success 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) may be be seriously harming your business without you even realizing it.
See this article to learn more about a simple WordPress plugin that can help you avoid the escalation of negative reviews about your products through effective customer review management: Managing Negative User Reviews With Power Online Reviews WordPress Plugin
Improving Your Sales Conversions With Testimonials - Useful Tips
User reviews, testimonials 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 quote responses from clients in your content, you:
- Show potential customers exactly with similar problems and pains what your products and services can do for them.
- Help visitors identify their objections and address these.
- Help prospects connect with their aspirations and motivations and this facilitates moving them further along the sales process.
Here are some useful tips on creating customer testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: Try using your customer's actual words as much as possible. Leaving grammatical errors and misspelt words in helps preserve your testimonials' authenticity.
- Use photos: Images of people's faces draw the most attention on a web page. Adding client photos next to their testimonials and reviews can help your visitors and potential prospects take notice of your content.
- Use the power of storytelling: Stories are much more powerful and memorable than simply providing facts and statistics. Being able to present a customer's "horror story" and how your solution "saved the day" will make a far longer-lasting impression on those reading your content than using generic statements about excellent service and giving "two thumbs up" product recommendations that all of us have heard a "million times" before.
- Use it in context: Add customer testimonials in your site copy where it best makes sense to place them, and where they can most effectively help to sell your point. For example, think about the impact you can create in your visitor's mind by adding a testimonial about what a "bargain" price your solution sells for before posting product pricing information, or testimonials about problems you've helped clients solve before presenting the benefits of your services, or testimonials where clients are genuinely ecstatic about your support when offering a money-back guarantee or addressing objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements do you think is more powerful: "XYZ solution was directly responsible for increasing our bottom line by $92,508 during the previous financial quarter," or "XYZ solution definitely helped us grow our business?" If possible, ask clients to specify quantifiable results when submitting testimonials, 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 in a recent financial period, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn't do before, etc.
- Use different customer testimonials on your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult when you are just starting out and don't have many clients, try to avoid displaying the same testimonial everywhere on your web pages. 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 target audience: 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 an extremely 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 testimonials across different platforms. If someone posts fantastic feedback on your Facebook wall praising your customer service, send them a message asking permission to reprint the comment or post on your site.
- Only use real testimonials. Your prospects need to believe that the testimonials you provide on your site are genuine. Don't compromise your credibility or reputation with false testimonials.
How To Get Customer Testimonials
Getting a testimonial from a happy customer can be as simple as just asking for it.
Here are some useful guidelines for requesting testimonials from your customers:
- Make a point of contacting customers after 60 days with an email reminder for a testimonial if you have not obtained one after performing a service.
- Add a text box for testimonials in all client satisfaction surveys.
- Take out your phone when you next meet with clients or "hand over" a finished project and if they are delighted with your services, ask them if they wouldn't mind recording a very short video testimonial/feedback interview. During your video, describe to viewers what you have done for the client and make sure to capture your client's positive reactions and responses.
- Make it easy for them. When clients send 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 - don't put words into their mouth), and use these to create a testimonial, then contact the client and ask them for permission to use it. Explain that you have done this to help them save time and let them know they are completely free to modify what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link Back To Their Site Wherever You Publish Their Testimonial
Offer to post a link back to their website in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive for clients to provide you with a testimonial. It also makes an implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are not fake and can be verified.
Add A Testimonial Request To Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a subscriber list, include requests for a testimonial in one of your newsletter broadcasts. Preferably, this should be done after your customers have had a chance to assess the impact of using your products. 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 for feedback, a testimonial, or a product review.
The LinkedIn "Recommendations" feature lets you solicit testimonials from other members that become part of your profile. The process for requesting and providing recommendations is 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 (you can offer to publish a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Testimonials Page On Your Site
Create a a new section for testimonials and add a "read more client testimonials ..." link to your main testimonials page throughout your content sections.
Useful Tip: You can measure the effectiveness of user testimonials by how long visitors stay on the section of your pages or posts where you have added the testimonial content. A great tool for understanding visitor behavior on your site are "heatmaps".
We have written an article about a heatmap analytics technology you can add to your website to monitor visitor behaviour here: How To Spy On Your WordPress Site Users Using HeatMap Tools - Heat Map Tracker Review
Using Testimonial Plugins For WordPress
If your site 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 testimonial plugin is installed and set up (with instructions for adding testimonials via the submission form - if available), you then send users to your "Testimonials" page.
Check out the testimonial plugins below:
Easy Testimonials is an easy-to-use free plugin that lets you add client testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed them into posts and pages using a shortcode. Easy Testimonials also lets you publish a list of all your testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which is great for adding a photo of the testimonial author, a business logo, etc.
The Easy Testimonials plugin also provides a "pro" version that offers additional features and developer support.
Go here to download the plugin: Easy Testimonials - WordPress Plugin
Testimonials Widget is a free plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, reviews, quotes, or text with images or videos on your website. You can insert client 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 plugin comes with additional features via a premium version, including built-in functions SEO functionality and technical support.
Go here to download the plugin: Testimonials Widget
This premium WP plugin offers a range of great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes for displaying correctly on any device or browser.
- Display 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 testimonials in a speech bubble, customize font and background colours, font types and more.
Visit this site to learn more about this plugin: Testimonials WordPress Plugin
In Summary ...
Testimonials and customer reviews are powerful sources of content that 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 existing customers, and start publishing these on your website or blog.
The articles below provide useful information about creating engaging users testimonials and were helpful in providing research and information for sections of this article: