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.
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.
The benefits of testimonials to your business are obvious. Consider the following statistics reported by Optinmonster:
The numbers don’t lie. Testimonials can have a major positive impact on your business. Here are the main benefits:
Testimonials can take different forms. Of course, many of the following testimonial types overlap, too. Here is a comprehensive list:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.