You often see testimonials on websites and they're considered an essential piece of content for website design. Your site needs them too. If you're a business owner, an entrepreneur or a blogger with a small following that you're close too you might feel they're braggy or boasting. If you're introverted you might just be tempted to click close on the post and never talk about them again… you might never have got round to adding them in the past, so now is the time. But why are testimonials so important?
Buyers Like Social Proof
The reason testimonials are important is that they provide social proof. Social proof is a key concept in marketing. What it means is that if other people liked a product or website, your website visitor might like it as well. Other people bought the product and got great results, and this tells potential buyers that it's worth trying. It also helps reassure them if social proof is from people who are just like them!
Even more importantly, social proof removes doubt and shifts people off of the fence. When we're searching for information or products on the internet, we have good reason to be skeptical and wonder if something is right for you. You have to remove all doubt from your visitors' minds so that they feel there is no risk in trying the product. Social proof does this by showing others who have taken you up on your offer and they're satisfied and happy.
Why Testimonials Provide the Best Social Proof
There are many types of social proof. For example, showing your Facebook likes is a way to show that others like your offering. The reason testimonials work so well is that they're longer form and they show real people. The testimonial writer can explain in more detail exactly how you helped them, and this gives a more powerful message to the potential buyer.
The other key point is that testimonials are real. It's pretty widely understood that anything you see online could be fake. Some unethical marketers buy fake social proof on gig websites like Fiverr. When you present a testimonial with an image, a person's real name, and a link to their website or mention of their business, it shows that your testimonials are real. Your website's visitors can easily check them out and feel reassured.
Best Practices on Getting Testimonials
- The key time to acquire a testimonial is when a customer follows up after using the product and gives you positive feedback. You can ask them if they would please submit the testimonial, or allow you to edit their email praising you. Make sure you keep a copy of their approval on file.
- Acquiring testimonials should be ongoing. Old testimonials don't work as well as new ones. Make it a regular part of your sales process.
- While you never want to buy testimonials, there are some ways you can ethically entice people to leave them. You can offer a discount on further purchases or something else that doesn't cost you anything. You might also mention to the person that they'll get a backlink and exposure from their testimonial as well.
Why would you ask permission to edit a testimonial? Imagine your customer has given incredible praise. You want to show it to everyone, but she typed it on her mobile device and has typos… She's be mortified if you used it as-is and you might feel the testimonial is authentic but the people who see it may not. When you ask for permission to edit you are not looking to change the essence of the content but to ensure your clients' dignity remains intact!
Tools to Help You Gain Testimonials
https://business.trustpilot.com/ is great for automating your follow-up with customers. Buyers love Trustpilot reviews and they enhance your clickability in the search engines. If you have an online store or a bricks-and-mortar business this is the option you should seriously consider.
Thrive Ovation: This is my personal favourite way to collect testimonials. When you take a look at that page you might recognise someone on it…
Asking for testimonials makes a perfect part of the client onboarding sequence.
You can ask for feedback throughout your customer relationships. Sometimes you'll get a brilliant testimonial other times you will get feedback that you can learn and grow from. You won't know until you ask!