Testimonials. They can do wonders for your business as long as they are used the right way.
The main reason for using them is to help establish credibility. Testimonials give you the opportunity to prove claims about your product or service. The end result is that they can help you convert more of your visitors into customers if they are used correctly.
Before we get into how to use testimonials correctly, let’s review first what not to do.
Don’t create fake testimonials!
The biggest mistake you can make is create fake testimonials. Why? It’s not just because they aren’t believable. It’s because if you get caught, it will ruin your credibility.
You are better off not having any testimonials at all than creating fake ones. And if you truly have a great product or service, sooner or later your customers will start giving you real testimonials.
All right, here is how you can use testimonials effectively:
Know your customers
When I was trying to sell informational marketing products to small businesses, I decided to get a few testimonials from some big names:
Neil has advised TechCrunch for more than two years and been an important part of the growth of the TechCrunch Network by helping us implement SEO best practices. Search engines have grown to be responsible for 1/3 of all TechCrunch traffic, so Neil’s ongoing support is critical to our business.
– Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch
Neil’s expertise was instrumental in helping the Cheezburger network to grow from an odd little cat blog to the largest humor network on the Web – serving more than 190 million page-views a month.
- Ben Huh, owner of I Can Has Cheezburger
Neil is a real SEO guru. His knowledge is stellar and he’s truly a standout in an industry cluttered with self-proclaimed experts.
– Alex Algard, founder of White Pages
Do you see what’s wrong with them?
The people who were buying my informational marketing material weren’t able to relate to the larger companies listed above. Yes, it is good to use testimonials from big names, but they have to be in addition to the testimonials from average Joes to match your target audience.
Go web 2.0
This is the new-age web. Your testimonials don’t just have to be text-based anymore. Consider asking your customers for video or audio testimonials. The advantage of using different types of media is that they allow you to leverage channels like YouTube to gain customers.
Don’t forget the basics
What’s the problem with most testimonials? They don’t include the person’s full name, his/her company, location or age. Now, granted, it may not be appropriate to put all that information in the signature of a testimonial, but it will look a lot more realistic than having only “J. Smith” as a caption.
In addition to that, consider adding a picture of your customer next to the testimonial. Nothing beats having a picture of a smiling customer.
Don’t be vague
A good testimonial says something nice about you or your company, but a great one explains the benefits of your product or service. So, instead of just trying to get short testimonials that don’t contain much substance, try to get ones that contain facts and hard data.
If they start becoming too long, you can do two things:
- Italicize and bold the important parts – not everyone enjoys reading. Italicizing and bolding will allow skimmers to get the main points without having to read every single word.
- Make them a case study – you can always link a short testimonial to a case study. This way, if people are skeptical and want to read more, they can.
Testimonials can be meaningful
The best way to use testimonials is in a meaningful way. You can post small snippets to support your company’s claims.
For example, if you have a paragraph that talks about the durability of the Maytag washer you are selling, put a testimonial supporting that fact nearby. When people see Mary’s testimonial that reads “my Maytag washer is still running strong after 10 years… which is pretty darn good considering that my husband accidentally crashed into it with his car”, it gives a lot of credibility to the washer you are selling.
Location, location, location
Having great testimonials isn’t enough. Depending on where you place them can drastically affect your conversions.
Chances are you’ll end up placing testimonials on your homepage or your sale’s page. But if you place them in multiple locations, you may see an increase in conversions.
For example, with my old Quick Sprout membership program, the check-out page that included a testimonial in the sidebar converted 6.38% better than the check-out page that didn’t include a testimonial.
Try placing your testimonials in different positions and on different pages. Make sure you split test them so that you can figure out if which placements impacted your bottom line.
Testimonials can convert window shoppers into buyers as long as you use them the right way. Don’t just copy what your competition is doing or base your decisions on what I am telling you. Try things out for yourself!
Do you have any other recommendations on how you can use testimonials effectively?