Earning the trust of your website visitors is a key to getting more conversions. One of the most effective types of content for engendering trust is the customer testimonial. Here are some tips and examples that will show you how to use testimonials effectively on your website.
You believe in your product. You’re happy to boast and brag about its advantages. You lay-out a convincing argument on your website, replete with compelling copy, effective hero shots, and elegant videos. It’s convincing stuff.
Yet it isn’t enough. We’ve entered a new era where it’s necessary to turn the spotlight away from the seller and onto the customer. Consumers today only trust the marketing content created by businesses so much. They’ll accept the validity of a well-developed value proposition, but they want confirmation from someone they relate to more closely – a fellow consumer.
We talk extensively about the importance of reviews in this context. Anyone vetting your business will check your online reviews on at least a few platforms.
However, you can get a jump on the reviews (which is content you have less control over) by placing effective testimonial content within your website. These are customer voices whispering in the ear of your visitors, saying “Ya, these guys are good. This is worth it.”
That’s a persuasive voice you don’t want to ignore. Here are some tips on how to use testimonials on your website.
The Basics of Using Testimonials on Websites
When you do it right, testimonials on your site are effective. However, if you just carelessly copy paste a few vague statements from “Jim” and “Carol”, they may ring hollow – which hurts your cause.
The biggest factor with website testimonials is that they must be credible. People realize that a testimonial – unlike a review on a third party platform – is content you published with intent. If it just sounds like a vague re-hashing of your sales pitch, people won’t consider it. In this way, testimonials need to be more specific and personalized than other reviews.
Here are 5 important website testimonial tips to consider:
- Make sure your testimonials are specific. For example, “These guys are great” won’t have as much impact as “Their software services saved us 30% on inventory management costs”.
- Testimonial statements must be plausible. “I went from having no girlfriends to 3 supermodel girlfriends at once!!!” is the type of statement that will cause skepticism in all but the most dim-witted. Know your target audience, and make sure testimonials create an affinity with them.
- Keep testimonials short. People won’t read through long blocks of text or make it through 4-minute videos. Keep it short and to the point. If you have more detail to include, develop a complete case study instead.
- Make sure testimonials sound natural. Keep colloquial, natural-sounding language. Use the real voice of the people giving the testimonial.
- Edit your testimonials. Inform clients that when they give their testimonial, it will probably be edited for use as website content. This is for brevity and specificity, not to alter what they say. If they request, let them approve edits before the testimonial is published.
You might not have considered editing testimonials, but this is an advantage that testimonials have over reviews. A website testimonial is content you develop for marketing purposes. You only ask your best customers to give testimonials, and you guide what they say so it reflects the value-points of your offering.
But at the same time, testimonials are true accounts of how you help people. You edit them so the messaging is clear, but you never fabricate or alter the message.
How do I get more testimonials from my customers?
To get more testimonials, start by creating a list of your very best customers. Consider two things.
First and foremost, of course, is that the customers you choose must love what you do. These are your regular, repeat customers. They’re clients you delivered exceptional results for. You have a relationship with these people.
Second, you know that there is a specific, detailed result they derived from your offer. This includes using concrete numbers and data. In other words, you know what you want them to say. This is important because it will allow you to guide the testimonial so it covers an aspect of your offer you want to highlight.
You may have many happy clients, but you want to avoid asking for testimonials from people who just “like” you and will only covey that they think you are “great”. Choose somebody you know can make a specific claim, then ask them to do so when they give the testimonial.
You can use a form to request testimonials by email or speak directly to the customer. Many businesses also take testimonial content off social media comments, particularly from Facebook or Twitter. If you do this, be sure to ask your client to tag your business in the post.
It’s worth noting again that there is a difference between a testimonial and a case study. A testimonial is a shorter, specific statement about an important benefit the client derived from your offer. Its main purpose is to serve as social proof and engender trust.
A case study, on the other hand, is a complete story that shows how you helped a person or business overcome a major problem. It’s longer, more detailed, and requires more of a time investment to develop for both you and your client. Case studies work well when you need to detail the entire relationship with the client and explain more complex solutions.
Tips On Publishing Testimonials On Your Website
There are two ways to use testimonials content on your website. We suggest doing both.
The first is to create a dedicated testimonials page where you have a collection of testimonials together. Include this page in your main navigation. For this type of page, assemble a series of testimonials that cover the main benefits you offer and come together to create a compelling case for the value of your offer.
For example, this Florida roofing contractor has a collection of video testimonials on their page.
This Northern Colorado Gym has an effective testimonial page that uses before and after images, video testimonials, Facebook posts, and reviews copied from Google Places. There is a strong call to action and contact form on the page. Here is an excellent Facebook testimonial:
Second, take individual testimonials and weave them into the content throughout your website. These can appear on your homepage, About Us page, product pages, or Contact Us page. It’s a good idea to have them near calls to action or alongside the description of a service.
For example, accounting software service FreeAgent uses short testimonials (taken off Twitter) as they detail various benefits of their software on their homepage.
We highly recommend using testimonials on your homepage, even if you have a dedicated page in your main navigation. Our UXI® templates have this designed into our templates, making it easy to add and update testimonials.
Put A Face to a Name
One other important component of using testimonials on websites ia to personalize them by having a face shot and – preferably – a full name associated with the comments.
In other words, your testimonials will be more effective and convincing when it’s clear that they’re coming from a real person.
It’s common for websites to have anonymous comments or vague names (John S.) associated with comments. In some cases, this may be necessary to maintain the privacy of the customer, but know that it decreases the effectiveness of this content.
Simply put, people realize that you could just make this up. It’s on your website, not a review site. “These guys are great! They save me time and money”. – Terry means nothing. Also, people like seeing a face with the comments.
That’s one reason Facebook reviews associated with a personal profile work well. Putting an image with the comments just makes it look more legit:
This testimonial only has the client’s first name, but because it has an image it still looks legit.
The ultimate testimonial is the video. Pursuit Fitness has clients make their own testimonial videos using their phones. These have an authentic, personal quality that’s really effective.