Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract customers, only to get the exact same disappointing results? Most business owners don’t need to be told that generating new business can be very hard and frustrating. Just trying to remain in business takes a lot of your 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, ignoring what users may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Don’t ignore what clients may be saying online about your business!
You could 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 effective when it comes to helping you promote and market your products and services online and should be added to your content.
In this article, you’ll discover how to improve your sales using meaningful client testimonials.
Testimonials And User Reviews
Legendary showman and businessman Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum once said that “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”
P.T. Barnum understood the power of “social proof”. Social proof-driven content is a powerful and effective way of getting your business promoted. Genuine testimonials from your existing clients 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 clearly an untapped source opportunities for generating new business that most businesses just aren’t utilizing, or utilizing correctly … reviews and testimonials from your existing customers!
Testimonials and reviews are a fantastic way to build credibility for your business.
Research conducted by many leading marketing firms all lead to the same conclusion: adding reviews and testimonials to your site eliminates doubts potential customers may have about products, helps with product selection and helps increase sales conversions.
Below are just some statistics that support this:
- According to research findings by eVoc Insights, an organization 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 user reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, reviews result in an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more consumer reviews per product can translate into a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Website 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).
(The figures above were sourced from eConsultancy.com)
Adding Consumer Reviews And Managing Online Reputation
Clearly, you should be adding positive testimonials and reviews from extremely satisfied clients who have experienced positive results with your business to your site.
Consumer reviews and testimonials, however, can work both ways and impact your business both in a positive and negative manner.
People may not be saying bad things about your products directly to you, but they could post negative comments on Facebook, or a discussion thread or forum about an unpleasant encounter they’ve just had with one of your staff and this could be costing you business.
This is where “online reputation management” becomes an important aspect of your online business success.
Misconceptions about online reputation management, such as being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you just don’t need it) could be harming your business without you even being aware of it.
See this article to learn more about a simple plugin for WordPress users that allows you to legally and ethically manage user feedback: Manage Poor User Feedback With Power Online Reviews WordPress Plugin
Tips For Creating Effective Testimonials
Testimonials, user reviews and case studies are persuasive when it comes to marketing your products and services online and should be used in your content marketing strategy. When you quote your own user responses in your content, you:
- Show other users 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 moving them closer to a decision to purchase.
Below are some useful tips on creating meaningful testimonials:
- Don’t over edit: Try using your customer’s actual words as much as possible. Leaving grammatical errors and misspelt words in helps preserve the authenticity of your testimonials.
- Use photos of real people: Marketing tests show that using images of people’s faces will draw the most attention of visitors 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.
- Tell a story: Stories are much more effective and memorable than providing mere facts and statistics. Being able 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 generic statements about excellent service and giving “two thumbs up” service recommendations that everyone has heard a “million times” before.
- Use 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 you believe these can most effectively help to sell your point. For example, think about the impact you can create in your visitor’s perception by adding a testimonial about what a bargain price your solution sells for before posting pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped your clients solve before presenting the benefits of your products, or testimonials where clients are truly ecstatic about your support before offering a money-back guarantee or addressing objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements do you think your prospects would consider to be more powerful: “Since implementing your XYZ product, we were able to grow our profits by $31,249 in the last financial quarter,” or “XYZ software definitely helped us grow our sales?” Whenever possible, ask clients to specify quantifiable results when submitting testimonials, like how much your solution helped to increase their market share or reduce their costs 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 client testimonials on 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 throughout your website. Depending on your business, you could try to obtain more client 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 target audience: 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 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 content across different platforms. If someone publishes a great comment on your Facebook page praising your business, contact them privately asking for permission to reprint the content on your site.
- Only use genuine testimonials. Prospective customers need to believe that the testimonials you provide on your site are genuine. Don’t compromise your integrity or reputation with a made up testimonial.
How To Get Testimonials From Your Clients
If you have just completed performing a service, or a customer says they are really happy with your product or service, ask them for a testimonial.
Follow these useful tips for requesting testimonials:
- Contact customers after a specific period of time, e.g. 30 days, with an email reminder for a testimonial if you did not obtain one after completing a service.
- Include a text box for testimonials in your client surveys.
- Pull out your phone when you next visit 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 brief video testimonial/feedback interview. When recording your video, describe to your viewers what you have done for the client and try to capture your client’s positive reactions and responses.
- Make it easy and write the testimonial 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 best sections (only use what they have given you – don’t put words into their mouth), and use these to create a testimonial, then contact your client and ask them for permission to quote them on your site. Explain that you have done this to save them time and invite them to modify what you have written however they like before replying with their approval.
Offer To Publish A Link To Their Site Wherever You Quote Their Testimonial
Offer to publish a link back to their website in exchange for their testimonial. This is a great 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.
Add A Testimonial Request To Your Autoresponder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a subscriber list, include a request for a testimonial in a scheduled email sequence or broadcast. This should be timed to reach subscribers just after your customers have had a chance to experience your solution. Use words like “I need your help” in the subject of your email and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking subscribers for honest feedback, a testimonial, or a review.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature allows you to request testimonials from other members that become part of your account. The process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite user-friendly and the person providing the recommendation gets a link to their profile. If you get a positive recommendation on LinkedIn, ask their permission to reprint it on your site (once again, you can offer to publish a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Client Testimonials Section
Create a a new page for customer testimonials and place a “read more client testimonials …” link pointing to your main testimonials section wherever you have added single testimonials in your content sections.
Practical Tip: You can measure the effectiveness of your customer testimonials by how long visitors remain on the section of your pages or posts where you have added your testimonial content. “Heatmapping” technology is a great way to monitoring what visitors are doing on your pages.
I’ve written an article about adding heatmap analytics to your website to measure visitor behavior here: How To Monitor Visitor Behaviour On Your WordPress Site With Analytics Software – HeatMap Tracker Review
If your site is powered by WordPress, you can use a plugin to add and display testimonials. Some plugins also allow you to add forms to your pages inviting users to submit testimonials.
Once your plugin is installed and set up (make sure to provide simple instructions for using the testimonials submission form – if available), you then refer customers to your “Testimonials” section.
Here are some great testimonial plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is an easy-to-use free plugin that lets you add customer testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed them into your pages and posts using a shortcode. The plugin also lets you publish a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which is great to add a photo of the testimonial author, a logo, and so on.
The plugin also can be upgraded to a pro version with additional features and plugin support.
To download this plugin, visit this site: Easy Testimonials – WordPress Testimonials Plugin
Testimonials Widget is a free WordPress plugin that lets you add random or selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with videos or images on your WordPress site. You can insert testimonials content using a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and have multiple display options such as random or specific ordering.
Testimonials Widget has plenty more features available via a premium version, including built-in options for better search engine results and technical support.
To learn more about the plugin, go here: Testimonials Widget
This premium plugin provides many 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 slideshows, sliders, list layout, grid layout, by adding a shortcode
- Styling options (display image on top, bottom, or side of the testimonial, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customized font and background colors, font types and more.
To download and use this plugin, go here: Testimonials WordPress Plugin
In Summary …
Client testimonials and user reviews 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 testimonials, reviews and feedback from existing customers or clients, and start publishing these on your web site.
For additional information about creating effective testimonials read these 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
- Your 5-Minute Guide To Writing an Amazing LinkedIn Recommendation
- How To Get Great LinkedIn Recommendations