Are you stuck doing what you’ve always done to attract and retain new customers, only to get the exact same disappointing results? Most small business owners don’t need to be told that trying to generate new customers can be extremely difficult. Just trying to remain in business takes up a lot of your time, money and energy, and sometimes this can feel like it’s just not worth the effort.
In today’s web-based and social-driven economy, ignoring what consumers may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
Ignoring what your clients may be saying online about your business could be a costly mistake!
You are also doing your business a great disservice if you don’t promote the positive things your clients say about your products, services, client support, etc. User reviews, testimonials and case studies are effective ways of marketing your products and services online and should be included as part of your content.
In this article, you will learn all you need to know to achieve better results online with knockout customer testimonials.
Legendary businessman and showman Phineas Taylor (Aka “P.T.”) Barnum once stated that “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”
P.T. Barnum obviously understood the power of “social proof”. Using social proof as content is a powerful and effective way of getting your business promoted. Testimonials quoted directly from satisfied users are far more persuasive for drawing new clients, customers or users than anything you say about your own products or services.
There is clearly an untapped source opportunities for generating new business that most small businesses simply do not utilize, or utilize correctly … reviews from their clients!
Reviews and customer testimonials are fantastic for building credibility for your services or products.
Studies conducted by many marketing research companies all seem to point to the same inevitable conclusion: testimonials and user reviews help to eliminate doubts potential customers may have about buying products, help users select products and help increase the number of sales.
Here are just some of the findings available to support this:
- According to a study by eVoc Insights, a company that researches and measures user experience, “In general, 63% of users indicate they are more likely to purchase from a web site if it has ratings and reviews.”
- According to Reevoo.com, user reviews play a significant role in creating an average 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Web site visitors who interact with both user reviews and customer questions and answers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with UGC. (Bazaarvoice, Conversation Index, Q2 2011).
- Customer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US internet users by online video review site EXPO. (eMarketer, February 2010).
(Above figures sourced from eConsultancy.com)
Adding Consumer Testimonials And Reviews And Online Reputation Management
Adding positive reviews to your site from customers who are thrilled with your services is important for helping you grow your business online and creating a solid online reputation.
Customer testimonials and reviews, however, can work both ways and affect your business both negatively or positively.
People may not be saying bad things about your business directly to you, but they could be posting disparaging remarks on Facebook or a discussion thread about an unpleasant experience they’ve just had with your business and this could be costing you business.
This is where “online reputation management” becomes a vitally important aspect of your online success.
Misconceptions about engaging in online reputation management practices, such as the process being too complicated or too time-consuming (or the belief that you really don’t need to worry about it) may be be causing damage to your business without you even realizing it.
See this article to learn more about a plugin for WordPress users that can help you avoid the escalation of problem reviews about your products through effective user review management: How To Easily Manage Your Online Reputation In WordPress With Power Online Reviews Plugin
Creating Effective Customer Testimonials – Useful Tips
Testimonials, user reviews and case studies are effective when it comes to helping you market your products and services online and should be added to your content marketing. When you include your own user responses in your content, you:
- Show other users exactly with similar problems and pains what your products and services can do for them.
- Help visitors identify their objections and address these.
- Help potential customers connect with their aspirations and motivations and facilitate moving them closer to a decision to purchase.
Below are some tips on creating testimonials:
- Avoid over-editing: You should try to use your customer’s actual words as much as possible. Leave little grammatical or spelling errors in. This helps keep your testimonials “real”.
- Use photos: It’s a proven fact that using images of people’s faces will draw the attention of visitors browsing a web page. Adding photos of your clients next to their testimonials and reviews will help increase visitor engagement with your content.
- Tell a story: Stories are so much more powerful and memorable than just providing statistical facts. Being able to present a customer’s “horror story” and how your solution “came to the rescue” will make a far longer-lasting impression on those reading your content than using generalized statements about how “excellent” the customer service was and giving “two thumbs up” product recommendations that everyone has heard a “million times” before.
- Keep it in context: Add testimonials in your site copy where it makes the most sense to place them, and where you believe these can most effectively help sell your point. Think about the impact you will have in your visitor’s mind by adding a testimonial about what a “bargain” price your solution sells for before posting pricing information, or testimonials about problems you’ve helped clients solve before talking about the benefits of your services, or testimonials where customers are truly ecstatic about your support when offering guarantees or providing content designed to help your readers overcome their objections.
- Quantify your information: Which of the following statements is more powerful: “As a direct result of using your XYZ services, we were able to grow our profits by an additional $38,664 during the previous fiscal year,” or “XYZ software has helped us grow our sales?” Whenever possible, ask clients to specify quantifiable results when submitting testimonials, like how much your solution helped to increase their sales or reduce their costs by in specific percentages or amounts, how many hours of work you have helped them save, how many new leads or new clients they were able to generate in a recent financial period, what kind of things are they able to do or experience now that they couldn’t do before, etc.
- Avoid using the same customer testimonial throughout your site: Although this can be somewhat difficult when you are just starting out or have very few clients, try to avoid displaying the same testimonial everywhere on your web pages. Depending on the nature of your business, you could try to obtain more customer testimonials by offering limited review copies of your product, or a special discount for clients in exchange for an honest review and permission to publish it if you decide to use it.
- Appeal to your target audience: As every infomercial featuring a celebrity endorsement, subject expert or “busy mom” knows, if you know who your target audience is, providing testimonials from people who your prospects aspire to become can be an extremely powerful motivator and influencer. People want to see and buy from “better versions” of themselves, so make sure to include testimonials targeted to your best audience demographic.
- Reprint testimonials across different platforms. If you get great feedback on your Facebook wall praising your products or services, ask them permission to reprint the comment or post on your blog.
- Only use real testimonials. Your prospects need to see that the testimonials published on your site are genuine. Don’t destroy your credibility with “made up” testimonials.
How To Get Client Testimonials
Ask For Testimonials
If you have just completed a service for someone, or a customer says they are really happy with your product or service, ask them for a testimonial.
Here are some tips for soliciting testimonials:
- Make it a part of your business processes to contact clients after 90 days with an email request for a testimonial if you have not obtained one immediately after performing a service.
- Include a text box for testimonials in all your client satisfaction surveys.
- Pull out your phone next time you visit a client or “hand over” a completed job and if they are delighted with the results, ask them if they wouldn’t mind recording a short video testimonial/feedback interview. When recording the video, describe to your viewers what you have done for your client and try to capture the client’s positive reactions and responses.
- Make it easy for them. When clients send you positive written feedback that contains snippets of useful “testimonial” material interspersed with the rest of their message, grab the best sections (only use what they have written – never put words into their mouth), and use these to create a testimonial, then contact your client and ask them for permission to publish it. Explain that you have already prepared something to save them time and let them know they are completely free to modify what you have written however they see fit before replying with their approval.
Offer To Post A Link To Their Site Wherever You Publish Their Testimonial
Offer to post a link to their site in exchange for their testimonial. This is often enough of an incentive to get clients to provide a testimonial. It also makes the implicit statement to visitors that your testimonials are real and can be verified.
Add Testimonial Requests To Your Auto Responder/Newsletter Messages
If you have a list of subscribers, include requests for a testimonial in a regularly-spaced auto responder broadcast. Preferably, this should be timed to reach subscribers just after your clients have had a chance to assess the results of using your products or services. Use words like “I need your help” in the subject of your message and make the point of your email or message specifically about asking subscribers for honest feedback, a testimonial, or a review of your services.
The LinkedIn “Recommendations” feature allows you to solicit testimonials from other members for your profile. With LinkedIn, the process for requesting and providing recommendations is quite user-friendly and the person who provides the recommendation receives a link to their profile. If you get a positive recommendation on LinkedIn, ask for permission to reprint it on your website (and offer to publish a link back to their website in exchange).
Create A Customer Testimonials Section On Your Site
Create a “Testimonials” page and place a “more testimonials …” link to your main testimonials section whenever you plan to add new testimonials in your site.
Useful Tip: You can measure how useful testimonials are by how long visitors stay on the section of your pages or posts where you have added the testimonial content. A great tool for monitoring what visitors are doing on your site are “heatmaps”.
We have written an article about a heatmap analytics software you can add to your site to monitor visitor behavior here: Predicting User Behavior On Your WordPress Site Using Analytics Software – HeatMapTracker Review
Testimonial Plugins For WordPress
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin to add, edit and display testimonials. Some plugins also let you add forms to your pages inviting users to submit feedback and testimonials.
Once your testimonial plugin is installed and set up (remember to provide simple instructions for adding testimonials via the submission form – if available), you then refer users to your “Testimonials” page.
Here are some great testimonial plugins you can check out:
Easy Testimonials is a free plugin that lets you add customer testimonials to your sidebar as a widget, or embed them into your pages and posts using a shortcode. The plugin also lets you publish a list of all testimonials or output a random testimonial, and include images with testimonials, which you can use for adding a photo of the testimonial author, their logo, etc.
Easy Testimonials also can be upgraded to a “pro” version with additional features and developer support.
Visit this site to download this plugin: Easy Testimonials
Testimonials Widget is a free plugin that lets you randomly slide or list selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with videos or images on your posts and pages. You can insert testimonials using a shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and specify different display options such as random or specific ordering.
Testimonials Widget makes plenty of additional features available via a premium version, including built-in options SEO functionality and plugin support.
Go here to download the plugin: Testimonials Widget
This is a premium plugin that provides plenty of great features right out of the box, including:
- Responsive design that resizes to display correctly on any device or browser.
- Options to display your testimonials in a widget or as slideshows, sliders, grid layout, list layout, etc. by adding a shortcode
- Styling options (display image at the top, bottom, or side of testimonials, display testimonial in a speech bubble, customize font and background colors, font types and more.
Go here to download and use this plugin: Testimonials Plugin
In Conclusion …
Client testimonials and user reviews are great sources of content that help your business add credibility, build authority, improve online reputation and grow your sales funnel. Always ask for testimonials, reviews and feedback from your clients, and publish positive content about your business on your website or blog.
For additional sources of information and resources about creating effective testimonials read the articles below:
- Ecommerce Consumer Reviews: Why You Need Them And How To Use Them
- How To Create Captivating Customer Testimonials
- 5 Tips For Knockout Testimonials
- Make Customer Testimonials Meaningful
- Your 5-Minute Guide To Writing an Amazing LinkedIn Recommendation
- How To Get Great LinkedIn Recommendations
We also recommend subscribing to our Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive regular training emails with actionable information that will teach you how to drive more traffic to your website, save money creating useful content that will add value to your visitors and grow your business online using content marketing. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also 100% FREE!
Disclaimer: We are not associated with WordPress or any of the WP products written about on this site. We may derive a financial benefit from sales of products advertised, reviewed or linked to from this site. The product details used in this review have been sourced from the plugin’s own website
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