How To Properly Use Testimonials To Increase Website Conversions
Testimonials have been used in marketing long before the internet. Why? Companies and marketing professionals use testimonials because the work.
The internet gives you the opportunity to increase the reach of your testimonials, and improve your rate of website conversions. They have to be done properly, however. If you include bad testimonials on your website they can actually prevent you from getting sales.
Here is how you can properly use testimonials to increase website conversions.
Don’t Fake It!
It can sometimes be tempting to fake testimonials, particularly if you are a young company with few clients on your books. Also it can be difficult and frustrating sometimes to get testimonials from clients. They might love you, your products, and your service, but writing a testimonial for you is low down on their list of priorities.
You should still not fake testimonials, though, even though you are faced with these challenges. The visitors to your website are savvy, they are able to sniff out dishonesty or white lies, and when they do your credibility will be damaged, often irrevocably.
Here are some tips:
- If you can’t get genuine testimonials you are better having nothing at all
- Sell to the customer the benefits of giving you a testimonial (free marketing on your website)
- Make it easy for the customer – for example, ask the customer a few questions over the phone or face-to-face, take notes, and then write the testimonial for them. Always send it to them for approval before publishing though.
- Never use stock images of models
Make Them Look Genuine
Your testimonials have to look genuine as well as being genuine. There is no point, after all, of you going through the hassle of getting a real testimonial only for visitors to your website to be suspicious because it doesn’t look right.
To make sure your testimonials look trustworthy you should consider the following:
- Use the person’s full name – using just a first name or initials looks suspicious. Remember that your visitors know that the people giving you a testimonial are keen to promote their own business or career, so are unlikely to ask for any sort of anonymity or ambiguity around their identity.
- Include the company name – as above, omitting the company name makes the testimonial look fake
- Include the location – this is not strictly necessary if you have the person’s full name and the company name, but it can be beneficial for two reasons. Firstly it further demonstrates that the testimonial is real, and, secondly, it helps if you are trying to show experience in a particular geographical area.
- Add a photo – a photo of the customer adds real credibility to your testimonial. The good news is that photos have become increasingly easy to find, although you can simply ask your contact to send you a photo. If you need to find it yourself search Google, corporate website pages, and the customer’s social media accounts. It is good manners to ask their permission before using the photo. If you can’t get one, go without.
- Use video – using video testimonials is a great way to increase their credibility as your potential customers will see an actual existing customer, on video, giving you praise.
You will have noted that the above tips relate to getting testimonials from business customers. What if your business sells directly to the consumer, though? The same tips apply, although the general public might be more reluctant to include their full name and/or location. In this case use as much information as they will allow you to use.
Relate To Your Customers
When looking for testimonials most people put their best and most prestigious customers at the top of their wish list. In other words, they want to include brands in their list of testimonials that people will recognise.
This is okay, and they have a place, but you should always ask yourself do those testimonials relate to your customers. For example, you might have a few large, well-known corporate clients in your portfolio alongside many SMEs and local businesses. If the SME and local business customer is your main source of revenue, and the main target of your website, you should include testimonials from people they can relate to. Often this is another local business or SME instead of a corporation.
It is best to have as much specific detail in the testimonial as possible. This is all about answering the “how” question, i.e. it is better to say how your products or services helped your customer rather than simply saying that they helped.
There is one downside to this – it can make your testimonials too long. There is more on that in the next two sections.
Make Them Snippet Size
Nobody wants to read testimonials. Instead they want to glance at them, spending a few seconds finding out what experience other companies or individuals had with your product or service. To achieve this you should make them snippet size.
What if they are too long, such as when the client goes into detail about why they like your company or how it helped them? You can take sections from the overall testimonial to include on your website, and can even publish the whole thing as part of a case study. Taking sections means you can cut the content down to the right size.
Use Them In Multiple Locations Online
Many people use testimonials on their homepage. Sometimes they also appear on sales pages, and on other websites they are included as a footer element on all pages. This is not the most effective way of using testimonials, though.
You can use testimonials in any location of your website, plus you will get the best results if the testimonial is directly related to the page. For example, you could have a generic testimonial from the CEO of one of your customers to put on your homepage, or you could get a testimonial from the same person that talks specifically about the product that they buy from you. This testimonial can be used on the homepage too, but it could also be used effectively on the page of your website that is trying to sell that product.
One final thing to remember is to try to keep testimonials as fresh as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to change them every week, but if they are still on your website after a year or two they are probably going a bit stale.