10 Ways to Harness the Power of Great Testimonials
What your customers say about you has much more impact than anything you claim for yourself.
A testimonial shows potential clients that your current patrons love what you do and are willing to put their name behind your brand.
You probably already know testimonials are a good idea, but how do you harness the power of one?
Statista reports that 19% of users in the United States trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation.
When it comes to feedback about your products or your company, they’re likely to listen to what strangers think.
Word-of-mouth advertising is a free and powerful tool at your disposal.
Those who love your company are usually more than happy to share about it with their friends and family. You only need to ask to gain their support.
In addition, testimonials and reviews are a vital component in the customer journey.
As people gather information and march toward the decision stage of the sales funnel, they’ll pay close attention to how happy others are.
How Do Testimonials Help Your Business?
Choosing the right testimonials helps show you’re a credible and reliable company.
Establishing yourself as an authority in your field helps people see you’ll positively serve them.
One of the top ways of showing your knowledge is through what others say about you and your work.
Although you’ll place excellent reviews on your website, even negative ones allow you to improve.
You can show customers how hard you work to make things right when a mistake is made. They’ll see your dedication to customer service.
You should have a dedicated person who watches for complaints and addresses them immediately.
So, how do you add customer reviews to your website in a practical way?
Here are the critical factors in harnessing the power of a great testimonial and turning browsers into buyers.
1 – Name Drop
Do you serve a large corporation or a local celebrity? Showcasing them in your testimonial sections adds much weight to their recommendation.
People tend to trust easily recognised names. If you did an excellent job for the famous local radio station disc jockey, maybe you’d do an excellent job for them, too.
Reviews from big brands and names don’t just happen in a vacuum. You must seek out those people.
You may need to offer a free product for trial or deeply discount your items.
The positive publicity you’ll receive in return may be well worth giving away a few items, particularly if the person or company has a lot of social media influence.
Influencer marketing grows year after year because it is so effective.
Some influencers are better able to send traffic to your site or turn comments into purchases.
Watch those you’re thinking of working with for a while and see how much their followers interact with other brands.
Alta Construction offers a look at a variety of testimonials, including one from Macy’s.
The name is immediately recognisable and shows the validity of the business. The words from the director lend credibility to the work the company does.
The testimonials are laid out as a slideshow. Note how they use different businesses, including a gym, retail stores and a security firm.
Potential customers know they serve many different industries.
Many of the names are easily recognisable, showing Alta Construction is a trusted and high-quality option in their industry.
2 – Seek Experts
In any industry, there are a few names people instantly recognise. For example, if you sell tennis equipment, you might try to get a testimonial from Serena Williams.
The key is to know who is seen as having the most knowledge in your type of business.
You will likely have to pay for endorsement testimonials, so spend your funds wisely.
Just because a race car driver has an extensive fan base doesn’t mean they are the audience interested in your product. Make sure the endorsee matches your audience profile.
You can also seek comments from scientists, inventors and professionals of all types.
Think about who would have the most impact on your customers and ask them to add a testimonial for your company.
Sometimes your customers are your best endorsement option, as they will have family and friends similar to them.
3 – Expand Into Case Studies
A short snippet of information about why someone likes your brand may not be quite enough to convince someone to order from you.
However, you can expand on those words by offering a case study of the business or person you helped.
Share what challenges they faced and how your product or service changed things.
Highlight their words within the case study and add images or videos to prove your worth to others.
Dig deeper than a sentence or two, and you’ll pull in people who need a bit more convincing that you’re the best option for them.
Toast gives potential clients an inside look at how they helped other restaurants.
They focus on things such as increasing profit margin, larger check sizes and retaining customers. Each case study adds photos of the owners.
They then plug in the text explaining the background of the establishment and the unique problem the brand faced.
The case study also includes direct quotes from the owner and the results. Toast case studies are longer form testimonials that pack a powerful punch.
They end each one with an explanation of how the software might benefit your brand in similar ways.
4 – Utilise FOMO
Another approach may be to gather as many testimonials as possible, including celebrity endorsements and peer reviews.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) makes people want to jump in line and do whatever everyone else is doing. Only you can decide if a quantity or quality approach is best for you.
The more testimonials your site visitors see, the more likely they are to worry about FOMO.
If dozens or hundreds of people have nice things to say about your brand, they use your products or services.
The buyer may wonder if they’re the only one who isn’t yet. They might give you a try to not be left out—FOMO.
5 – Tug at the Heartstrings
Do you know your average customer well? Dig into what makes your audience tick. Create buyer personas outlining more than demographics.
Add in psychological factors, such as whom they want to protect or what they’re most scared of.
Once you know the pain points of your users and the emotions driving them, it’s much easier to come up with video testimonials that reach them on a deep level.
Show you understand the fears and then explain your solution.
Apple is known for sharing real-life stories about how an Apple Watch saved people in different and powerful ways.
The video above tells four stories about how the watch saved lives.
One is about a man who had blood clots in his lungs, another a young teen whose heart was beating too hard, another about a mom and baby who had been hit by a drunk driver and a final story about a sports enthusiast who became disoriented in the water.
As the video testimonial goes on, each person shares how they used the watch.
A couple had the heart rate alert them to an issue they didn’t know of, and the mom in the wreck and the sports enthusiast were able to use the watch to call for help.
The stories are emotional and powerful, drawing people in and making them see the potential advantage of using Apple’s product.
6 – Analyse Results
Your audience may respond to different types of testimonials in different ways.
Make sure you create unique landing pages from each campaign you run. Which ones result in the most click-throughs? Which ones generate the most leads?
Once you see which testimonials bring the best results, repeat the same style with additional customers. The better results you get, the more you should repeat that type of feedback.
7 – Animate the Reviews
Do you want to draw attention to short testimonial quotes? One way is by adding some animated elements to pull the user’s gaze and highlight what people say.
Whether you make the box with the quote flash, use an arrow to point to the testimonials or play video, animation grabs people.
Bizzabo takes short clips from social media reviews, adds a box and flashes them on the page as you scroll down. It’s impossible to ignore the testimonials when they’re presented in this way.
The design gives the appearance of a chat happening at that moment via social media messaging. It is a format people are already familiar with and adds a level of familiarity.
8 – Show Off Customer Service
The world is a rather detached place. Customers often feel unappreciated and underserved. If you can show how you offer a better customer experience (CX) than competitors, you may win a few new fans.
Think about the things you excel at. You must first study your competition and know what the CX is like for their clients.
Once you have an idea of their strengths and weaknesses, it’s much easier to ensure you match their top qualities and excel where they fail.
Once you’ve done some competitive analysis, look for reviews where your clients talk about how you excel in the unique value propositions you most want people to see.
If your goal is to offer the best customer guarantee, highlight stories about how you came through when things went wrong.
Your testimonials are your chance to explain the benefits of doing business with you over another company. Use every word wisely.
9 – Counteract Poor Reputation
Almost every business goes through some growing pains. Perhaps you made mistakes early on and now have a reputation for slow shipping speeds or poor quality.
You can utilise your testimonials to show you’ve overcome those issues.
There are two ways to tap into the power of the testimonial to show how you’ve improved. You can either go back to an unhappy customer and be highly vocal about it via online reviews or complaints on social media.
Ask them for a chance to make things right and change their mind.
Once you’ve shown them how you’ve improved, ask them to share their story with your other customers.
Tell them you’re working hard to improve in the area, and you want other people to know how you fixed things for them and will do a better job in the future.
There are few testimonials more potent than one that shows you made mistakes, readjusted and improved.
When your worst critic becomes your top fan, people take notice.
10 – Use Photos and Names
Have you ever seen a testimonial from Jane D. and thought it is probably a fake person?
If you want your feedback to seem authentic, you must ask your customers to put their names and photo behind their words.
If they are a business client, then adding their title is also an excellent idea.
You want to reassure people that your testimonials are authentic.
The only way to do this is to use real people and ask to promote their words with their complete likeness.
Perhaps people are warier due to the many fake reviews on sites such as Amazon.
They know anyone can pretend to be a customer and add some glowing words.
The reality may be different. Even Amazon has turned to “verified purchase” reviews to cut down on fake ones.
Other Places to Use Testimonials
You aren’t just limited to using testimonials on your website.
Adding snippets to social media posts, in your newsletter and print advertising also lends credibility to your brand.
Once you know how you want others to view you, it’s much easier to seek out the feedback that highlights your strengths.
Spend time asking your repeat customers what they love about you and share those words with potential clients.
Author Bio: Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.