In today’s competitive online atmosphere, your site – and you – has to stand out as authorities. Credibility is key: the buzziest site, the most sophisticated features, the smoothest salespeople are for naught unless people trust that you can deliver on your promises and fill a need for them. One way to convey both your expertise and your integrity is through customer or client testimonials. The power of word of mouth is more important than ever.
“I Love this Brand!”
Just how powerful is this “social proof”?
- 92% of customers give greater credence to online customer reviews than sales or promotional information.
- 70% of customers look at online reviews, ratings, and testimonials before purchasing.
- 69% consider online reviews as credible as recommendations from friends and family.
So, how do you incorporate testimonials into your website, blog, or other online platforms?
Ask! If you want customer reviews and testimonials, ask them. Request they write a (quick and easy) review of their experience. Some sites find success in offering a reward, such as a discount on a future purchase or another incentive. Ask that customers are clear and specific. Instead of, “I used XYZ and increased sales,” for instance, “XYZ helped me boost sales by 20%.” It is far powerful and effective.
Remember to ask for permission to publish or post these testimonials.
Never, ever fake it. If you don’t have genuine testimonials, or feel that the ones you have don’t adequately describe your service offerings, do not make them up. Some sites think it’s a “victimless crime,” so to speak, but you are eroding your credibility. We’re all familiar by now with online language; we can spot a fake.
Don’t limit customers to written testimonials. Make it as easy as possible. Some customers may prefer to leave a video review – and, many visitors to your website prefer video content, so it’s a win-win. Another option is a simple photo with a caption.
Make them visible. Don’t bury the testimonials. Place them prominently, so they are one of the first elements visitors see. At the same time, make sure the specific testimonials coincide with the content. If you’re a business consultant, for instance, you might have different services: business coaching, strategic planning consulting, etc. Put the right testimonials with the right services.
Don’t ignore the negative. Not everyone is going to give you a glowing testimonial. But what do you do when you receive a negative review? Address it immediately before it blows up. Determine if you have done anything wrong or if you could have done more right! Respectfully respond, thank the customer for the feedback, and, if appropriate, offer to remedy the situation. If you, in fact, have done nothing wrong or cannot do anything to satisfy the customer, do not attack. Let it go. One bad apple will not hurt you as long as you deal with it calmly. And then make sure you have a dozen positive reviews to counter.
Testimonials demonstrate your credibility and ability to meet customer demands and needs. Don’t tell visitors how great you are – let your customers do it for you.