Word of mouth is known to be the most powerful form of marketing because of its credibility. Testimonials are one way in which businesses can look to harness this power.
Think of eBay – the whole concept is built around giving feedback, a form of testimonial. Displaying testimonials automatically gives customers increased confidence in your company, illustrating that you’ve been in business for a while and that you do have some happy customers.
Making a Testimonial Credible
To be fully effective testimonials must be credible. People are naturally skeptical and especially so when testimonials given from people with only first names mentioned.
Don’t include testimonials from people if you only have their first names – they simply create a sense of suspicion amongst potential customers.
If possible also include their location, company name or URL, and for most effectiveness include a photo of the happy customer and even their contact details.
Whilst vagueness over who provided the testimonial should be avoided, it’s just as important to avoid vagueness with the content of the testimonial. “They provided a good service” says nothing about the company in question. What was the good service comprised of? Excellent turnaround times or helpful suggestions?
The best testimonials mention specific points, aspects that potential customers are concerned about. Also, try to choose testimonials that sound natural, rather than comments that have been scripted by your business.
Types of Testimonials
The most common type of testimonial is from customers but don’t forget the other four avenues that they can come from – the media, other companies, celebrities, and industry experts.
The media is perhaps the most overlooked one – comments by a national newspaper about your company or featuring some of your press coverage can provide a strong endorsement about your company in customers’ minds. Advertisers also place extra emphasis on media coverage – including a press clippings page on your website can increase credibility with advertisers and also lead to subsequent media opportunities when seen by those in PR.
How to Get Customer Testimonials
Put simply, just ask. After a customer has purchased a product or service simply ask them for feedback. However, truly effective testimonials mention specific points so ask specific questions. These could include:
- Were you happy with our product/service?
- Were you happy with our level of customer service?
- What did you like best about our product/service?
- Would you consider recommending us to others?
At the end ask whether they would mind you using their feedback as a testimonial on your website. Almost all customers will be happy for you to do so.
Using Testimonials Effectively
So you’ve created an excellent product or service, sold a few, asked for specific feedback which resulted in some excellent testimonials – what do you do next?
Creating a testimonial page is highly effective but don’t be afraid to use testimonials throughout your website, perhaps through dedicating a small area on each page of your website where a new testimonial is shown each time a new web page loads. This will ensure that the customer is constantly reassured throughout the decision-making process, helping to increase your conversion rate significantly.
Finally, don’t feel testimonials can only be used prior to purchase. If you own an e-commerce store and have a high level of returns one way to reduce this is through using testimonials. When sending out a product try including a flyer which says thank you along with a range of customer testimonials. This will help people feel better about their purchase, reducing the chances that they’ll return the item.