Every business website needs a way to back up its claims. Whether your website offers lawn mowing services or business-to-business (B2B) software, people want to know they can trust your brand before buying. The right testimonial will do just that.
Testimonials that are well written, designed, and placed will help give potential customers the reassurance they need to do business with you.
In this guide, I will go over the types of testimonials out there and how to collect, write, design, place, and ultimately use them to your benefit. If your website conversions are low, this guide can help you optimize your website for maximum profit.
What is a Testimonial?
A testimonial is a statement by someone, usually a past client, that attests to the quality of your product or service. In other words, a testimonial vouches for you and your business.
Testimonials differ from endorsements. Endorsements are usually more formal and given by an organization or a prominent public figure to show public support. A celebrity might endorse a political candidate, for example. But testimonials are usually less formal and more personal, often drawing from personal experiences.
Essentially, testimonials add evidence to claims made on your website. In fact, take a look at your website now. It probably includes plenty of marketing copy, maybe even phrases like “efficient, “high quality,” or “experienced.” That’s great because you are trying to sell a product, after all. But you need to make sure you back up your claims, too. Otherwise, visitors will be slow to trust anything your website states. At that point, your site is just a self-marketing platform, not worth much to scrupulous shoppers.
Your website needs to contain proof. In particular, it needs social proof. You may also think about including hard data to demonstrate your product’s performance via graphs, tables, numbers, and so on. Shoppers always like to see hard numbers. But most of all, shoppers want to hear a recommendation by a real person. Something about the personal nature and human touch of a testimonial makes it all the more powerful. People often trust the personal experience of others over anything your website claims by itself.
Why get Testimonials?
The benefits of testimonials to your business are obvious. Consider the following statistics reported by Optinmonster:
- 92% of consumers are more likely to trust testimonials over any other type of advertising.
- 88% of consumers trust testimonials as much as personal recommendations.
- Testimonials can increase conversions by 34%.
The numbers don’t lie. Testimonials can have a major positive impact on your business. Here are the main benefits:
- Increase conversion rates. Your website may get lots of traffic, but unless visitors actually respond to a call to action (CTA), they will never turn into leads or clients. There’s a lot you can do to improve your website conversion rate, but using testimonials effectively is near the top of the list. According to a B2B Content Marketing Trends Report, 89% of B2B marketers consider customer testimonials to be the most effective content marketing tactic out there. Without a doubt, testimonials are a powerful tool for boosting your conversion rate.
- Improve online reputation. Having a good business reputation is always important, but especially online. The internet is a vast space, and it is likely where you get most of your clients. So it’s critical that you keep good standing and credibility in the online market. People will notice if you have the respect of others in the industry. Major industries for which reviews and testimonials are especially important include the medical and dental industry, service and hotel industry, and automotive industry. Without high customer ratings, you can’t get far in these fields.
- Build trustworthy relationships. By receiving and offering favorable testimonials, you build relationships of trust. You and your clients can rely on each other for long-term business. Testimonials can be the glue that helps safeguard business relationships over time. Clients articulate their appreciation, and you work to earn the best testimonial possible. It’s a win-win.
Types of Testimonials
Testimonials can take different forms. Of course, many of the following testimonial types overlap, too. Here is a comprehensive list:
- Quote testimonials are the most familiar to us. They are usually placed somewhere on the website for all to read. These are probably the easiest to get because all it takes is a sentence or two. Most clients are willing to write a brief recommendation if they liked your service or product.
- Video testimonials are arguably the most powerful type of testimonial. Nothing compares to seeing and hearing a real person personally recommend a product. In some ways, it’s the most real a testimonial can get next to in-person word-of-mouth. Naturally, video testimonials are also probably the hardest to come by since they require more effort to make. Getting a client to record a quality video of themselves can be a lot to ask. But if you can pull it off, the ROI can be high.
- Audio testimonials are similar to video testimonials but with audio only. Though less common, audio testimonials can be a powerful way to market to potential customers. It can be difficult to get visitors to click play on audio testimonials, but the trick is to incite curiosity with a leading caption. For example, caption the audio testimonial with an invitation to learn how a client’s business tripled in size after using your service.
- Social testimonials are taken directly from social media posts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If clients rave about your service on social media, why not use a screenshot of their post to display directly on your website? Still get their permission, of course. Social media can be an easy way to get a testimonial. LinkedIn even has a dedicated recommendations feature. Visitors trust text posted on social media more because they know it wasn’t written solely for marketing. The testimonials are backed up by a social media profile that others can verify. So be proactive and engage with your customers on social media first. Then they will be more likely to post about their experiences with your product.
- Peer review testimonials refer to any testimonials that come from people that resemble your target customer. Customers are more likely to trust a testimonial given by someone like them. It’s called implicit egotism. We all gravitate towards those like us. So try to get peer review testimonials from people who match your target customer profile. An easy way to gather peer review testimonials is through review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or even Google Reviews.
- Interviews can be an effective form of testimonial because they go into detail and can be more candid. Getting a great interview testimonial is all about asking the right questions. Ask the client what obstacles they faced, how your product provided a solution, and how their experience was. But don’t ask leading questions. Whatever you do, let the interview speak for itself. An authentic interview can work wonders in converting new customers.
- Case studies are perhaps the most scientific form of testimonial. Case studies are data-driven stories that show how your product helped a client. Take the case studies on Dev.co as an example. Each one offers a snapshot into how Dev.co delivered measurable results to a client. Visitors can download the entire case study by filling out a form. Incentivize clients to participate in case studies by offering discounts or deals on future business. Explain that they will benefit from free advertising on your site when you publish the case study there, too. A good case study provides hard evidence that your product delivers results.
- Influencer testimonials come from high profile figures within an industry. They could be well-known professionals, industry experts, or celebrities. Influencer testimonials appeal to authority. People tend to value the approval of prominent industry figures more than that of unknown clients. So try to get testimonials from your biggest clients. If nothing else, drop their names on your website somewhere. Get a few different influencer testimonials to increase the chance that visitors will recognize at least one name.
How to Get Testimonials
Now that you know the types of testimonials available, you need to actually go out and get them. The simple answer is to ask. At the end of the day, it’s the only sure way to get the testimonials you need. So don’t be afraid to ask.
Of course, sometimes clients give testimonials inadvertently. They might say something in regular conversation that would make a great testimonial. Listen for opportunities like this, write them down, and ask clients if you can use their words for a testimonial. If they say yes, you are good to go.
But to get the best testimonials, you need to cast a wide net by proactively asking for them. Try to strike while the iron is hot, right after finishing a job for a client. You might even ask as part of a thank you for their business.
Here are a few tips on how to ask for a testimonial:
- Send a personalized email. People don’t respond to mass emails or template messages very often. The more you can personalize your request, the better.
- Send a letter by mail. A letter in the mail, especially a handwritten one, can be very effective. It shows effort on your part. This is an excellent option if you combine your request with a thank you card.
- Offer a bonus or discount. You don’t want to bribe your client for a testimonial, of course. But there is nothing wrong with offering a small reward for providing a testimonial. It just gives them a little incentive.
- Create some urgency. Unless your client responds with their testimonial request right away, they will likely never get around to it. It’s probably not high on their priority list. So give them a deadline to create a sense of urgency. That way, they are less likely to procrastinate the assignment and never get it done.
- Ask the right questions. Prompt your client with some specific questions, so they know what you’re looking for. Maybe they have never written a testimonial before. Ask them about their experience with your business, whether they were satisfied, and if they would recommend you to others. The right questions will inspire the best answers.
- Have the testimonial posted on review sites. Ask your client if they don’t mind posting their testimonial to Google My Business Reviews and other authoritative review sites. It’s just a matter of copy and pasting the testimonial they sent you to these sites separately. But you can’t do it for them, so you need to ask them to do it. Favorable Google reviews will boost your SEO and search rankings, too. And testimonials on other review sites can help expose your business to a wider audience.
- Prepare a template. Create an easy-to-fill template for your client to use. You don’t want to overburden them. So make the task as easy as possible. Anything you can do to streamline the testimonial process they will appreciate.
- Offer to write the testimonial for them. So long as your client approves it in the end, you can write the testimonial for them. Just make sure to get their approval in writing. This option lets you get exactly what you want from a testimonial and it saves your client time and effort. It’s a win-win.
Whatever you do, don’t pester clients for a testimonial. Make your first request count and then leave the ball in their court. You could follow up once or twice, but ultimately it’s up to them whether they want to give you a testimonial.
If you need more testimonials, ask more people. Cast a wide net and eventually you’ll see your diligence pay off. You won’t get nearly as many testimonials if you never ask.
How to Write a Good Testimonial
Writing a good testimonial is an art. Here are some guidelines that will help you and your client write the perfect testimonial. They are mainly meant for written testimonials, but the principles apply to all testimonial types.
First of all, testimonials should be authentic. People probably read enough marketing copy on your website already. So let your testimonials be a welcome change in tone for readers. A conversational tone can be refreshing, a pleasant surprise. Don’t be afraid to allow positive emotions to come through. Especially if you are a business-to-consumer (B2C) company, consumers want to see that a product made someone genuinely happy. Bottom line: People always appreciate authenticity.
Next, you want to make sure testimonials are short and to the point. Nobody wants to read a novel on your website. If your client provides you with a lengthy testimonial, quote only the best part. Use ellipses if you have to. To get the most bang for your buck, you want to be direct. Space on your website is valuable real estate, after all.
Testimonials should be as specific as possible. The more specific, the more believable it is. People want to understand exactly what was accomplished for a client. Spouting off vague compliments, like “the company did a great job,” won’t do any good. People read right through them. Give specific details, like “Dev.co developed a supply chain platform for our flower business that increased our sales by 46% in six months.” People tend to trust statements of the latter kind more because they demonstrate a real outcome.
That said, a testimonial should demonstrate a benefit. If it merely praises without describing an experience, it won’t carry much weight. Testimonials should explain how the client overcame problems or challenges with your service. A clear benefit will always be the top selling point for any product.
How was the experience overall? Beyond concrete outcomes, prospective clients are interested in how it is to work with you. Testimonials should reassure them that you are reliable, honest, transparent, and easy to work with. People don’t want to hire a company that is hard to work with, no matter how great the product.
Address any objections potential customers might have. People are always hesitant to part with their money. A good testimonial will allay concerns by expressing how your product exceeded expectations in measurable ways.
Think about including an optional rating system with testimonials. This can be a simple scale from 1 to 10 to indicate how satisfied past clients were. It makes it easy for people to scan testimonials quickly. But don’t feel like you need to. You wouldn’t show testimonials with poor ratings on your website anyway, so it’s really just an aesthetic touch. If you have a lot of testimonials it might help solidify a sense of product approval.
Finally, try to make testimonials SEO friendly by including target keywords. Of course, the language should never feel contrived. But if you can manage to use SEO techniques in your writing, all the better. Your site will be easier to find on search engines like Google.
At the end of the day, a testimonial needs to make an impression. If it gets readers to pause and reflect, you are that much closer to a sale. Sometimes all they need to hear is an encouraging word by someone they respect, and they are converted.
How to Design a Good Testimonial
Writing a good testimonial is not all. You need to present it well, too. Presenting a testimonial on your website is all about good design.
To get the most out of a testimonial, include the author’s name, company, and position. Where possible, use their first and last name. If they are uncomfortable with giving their full name, try using their initials instead. Their company and position will help establish their authority, especially if visitors don’t recognize the name.
Make the testimonial visually engaging by including a photo of the client’s happy face. This will reinforce the human authorship of the text and communicate positivity. According to Orbitmedia, including the face of a happy customer increases conversion rates by 102.5%.
If you have a longer testimonial, use a short quote as its headline. This will give visitors an idea of what the rest of the testimonial will be about. That way, they don’t have to read the whole thing if they don’t want to.
Finally, consider designing a testimonial carousel for easy toggling. Especially if you have several testimonials, a carousel is an effective and stylish way to save space and encourage your website viewers to explore what others have to say about you.
Where to Place Testimonials
Now that your testimonial is well written and designed right, it’s time to think about where to place it on your website. This is a crucial but often overlooked step with much much to consider.
The following point is slightly controversial: Don’t make a testimonials page. While they can be a nice way to keep your website organized, casual visitors won’t click on a testimonials page. If anything, a dedicated testimonials page will hide testimonials from your visitors. Instead, you should place testimonials in places that make sense:
- Next to products and services that testimonials reference. This way, you make the testimonial more relevant and less intrusive.
- On your site’s most popular pages, like the homepage. The more people see good testimonials, the higher your conversion rates will be. So place testimonials where you get the most traffic.
- Where customers are asked to make a decision. First-time customers tend to be cautious when buying. Why not place testimonials next to calls to action (CTAs) to help reassure them that they are making a good investment?
- With sales copy. By integrating testimonials with sales copy throughout your site, you balance the marketing speak out with the voices of real people. Plus, you avoid having too much sales copy in one place.
Effective testimonial placement can be just as important as the testimonial itself. So be sure not to skip this important decision.
Though there are many online marketing strategies, incorporating good testimonials on your website is one of the easiest ones out there. It’s a foolproof way to boost your conversion rates at minimal cost.
In sum, cast a wide net and ask everyone for a testimonial, edit those received to perfection, design them to be visually pleasing, and place them on your website strategically.
But don’t overdo it. You don’t want your website to be so flooded with testimonials that visitors can’t see past them. Just follow the above process and trade out mediocre testimonials with better ones as you go. Eventually, you will have some powerful testimonials on your website that will help drive sales.
Here at Dev.co, we can help you design the perfect website or redesign an existing one with all your testimonials integrated. We know how important a good website is to your business. So contact us today to get started.
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