How Website Testimonials Can Attract More Customers
Website testimonials can be a powerful way to show people that your business is awesome. When a customer takes the time to share a testimonial, explaining how your company helped to effectively solve one of their problems, other people can put themselves into their shoes and envisage their own problems being solved.
But as with most things in business, for website testimonials to work effectively, they need to have a solid strategy behind them.
Why are website testimonials important?
Authentic website testimonials give potential customers a truthful insight into what kind of experience they can expect from you. A real customer testimonial is how a potential customer can hear about your business from the consumer’s point of view. It humanises your business and highlights what you do best. We emphasise “authentic” and “real” because some businesses do add fake reviews to their websites and Google business listings. But they often reek of insincerity and can do more damage than good.
Let’s be honest, most of us have probably changed our minds about a business or service after reading bad reviews. A local customer review survey conducted by Bright Local showed that “88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” If you are still not sure that testimonials are worth the time, that should convince you.
As social creatures, we are highly influenced by those around us, often needing approval or validation before we consider trying or buying a new product. In marketing, we call this social proof. We want to know that a company is trustworthy and will deliver on their promises before we hand over our money. Testimonials and reviews from people who are in your target market are a great way to entice potential customers to purchase from you. They will find out from like-minded people how you helped them, what your products and services are like, and much more. This gives a potential customer a sense of security, and gives them the trust they need to commit.
We are encouraged to compare everything in our tech-driven world, so customers will often look for website testimonials, reviews, and social media likes because they can relate to them. This makes website testimonials highly influential in persuading customers to buy.
How do you get website testimonials?
They certainly don’t happen by magic. Most customers only speak up when there is a problem. In fact, around 75% of customers never give feedback at all. This is why you need to create a feedback strategy to encourage happy customers to provide feedback and even better, share what you do.
There are two types of customer testimonials:
- Internal – displayed on your business website
- External – displayed on third party websites like Facebook or Google Business, also known as reviews.
You should actively seek testimonials for each. Of course, you have more control over internal testimonials, but customers will be aware of that, so external testimonials can be more powerful. Depending on your business and industry, make sure you are signed up for any relevant review websites (e.g. Yelp) and monitor them for external feedback.
You should make it easy for customers to supply a testimonial, and timing is key—you must do it as soon as possible after you have worked with them. That way it is fresh in their minds, and they will be more likely to help you.
Get on the phone, or create a simple email template such as “thanks for being a loyal customer” that includes a link to your testimonial web page. Say you would love their feedback, and keep it simple, so they can provide something quick and easy. Asking for an essay will put people off. You can also set up automation, whereby your ask if they had a positive experience after an interaction, and if they did, you can then ask them to submit a testimonial.
The format of website testimonials are usually written, but there are other formats such as video testimonials. These could be collected when you are out amongst your customers, at a conference or event. Videos are incredibly popular at the moment. Seeing someone speak positively about your business can have a much greater impact on your reputation, especially if that person is influential in their industry.
How should you display website testimonials?
You should display website testimonials on your homepage, and also on a dedicated testimonials page on your website. Also, make sure to include them on your sales or landing pages. If you have many products or services, adding categories and tags to website testimonials will give potential customers a chance to just focus on the ones that relate to them.
Depending on your website set up, enabling a rating system on website testimonials is a great way to see what kind of feedback resonates the most with potential customers. This works especially well for e-commerce websites.
Many business websites display testimonials in chronological order, which of course will have positive SEO benefits. This isn’t always the most efficient way, as you don’t have much control over what the customer will see. Ordering by category, rating, or topic may be a better option.
What about negative website testimonials or reviews?
Negative reviews should be seen as a learning opportunity, and a way for your to improve your customer service. They also help to humanise your business—nobody is perfect, after all.
On external websites, it is really important that your business has written a reply, so it is clear that you are dealing with the problem. The most powerful negative feedback is one where the business chooses to ignore the issue, as this can escalate the problem. Check out our article on how to respond to negative Google reviews for more info.
The amazing power of website testimonials is clear. They positively influence purchasing decisions, give your business credibility within your industry, increase your conversion rates and encourage your target market to buy from you.