No matter what kind of business you run, you’re always going to vouch for your own brand. You can talk about how effective your services are and how trustworthy your company is all day, but what are prospective clients going to think about this? Probably something like: Well, duh, of course you’re saying all of these marvelous things about your business. But how can I believe these claims you’re making are actually factual?
Unfortunately, you’re not always going to gain new clients solely based on giving yourself a good word. In fact, this could make your company less interesting to those who were once intrigued by your products or services.
Instead of giving potential customers a reason to roll their eyes at your website, give them the support needed to backup these claims. What kind of evidence can you provide that shows your company is indeed smart, reliable, compelling and efficient? A good testimonial from past clients, that’s what. Giving your readers the wholesome proof of your success is exactly what they want, and this form of an online review is a simple way to gain their trust at the beginning of your business relationship.
In fact, according to a recent Local Consumer Review Survey by Bright Local, consumers read about 10 online reviews before they feel like they can trust a business. These star ratings can really help your business, but a testimonial can take things a step further.
So what is a testimonial, exactly?
Not to be confused with a success story or case study, a testimonial is a creative way to share a statement made by a customer who was satisfied with their experience and can provide assurance about the quality and value of the product or services they received. It’s a written form of a “thumbs up” provided by someone who trusted your process, felt happy with the end product and is willing to share their experience in hopes of helping you gain more business.
Putting a testimonials page on your website is worth considering – a B2B Content Marketing Trends Report shows that customer testimonials are the most effective form of content marketing to 89 percent of marketers.
Why are they important?
A testimonial is basically an advertisement that sells your services for you, encouraging potential clients to work with you without beating a dead horse with your own sales pitch and personal good word. Good testimonials are important because they:
Build trust and credibility. Let your past customers share their experience with your company, sharing the answers to the questions potential clients may have. This can fill the void of skepticism and give your business credibility.
Connect with your audience on an emotional level. Emotion-based decision making is common, and it makes sense, according to Psychology Today: “A great deal of your decisions are informed by your emotional responses because that is what emotions are designed to do: to appraise and summarize an experience and inform your actions.”
Boost your persuasiveness. Connecting with your clients on a deeper level also gives you better leverage at persuading them to work with you.
Give you a chance to tell a compelling story. Great testimonials are nothing like a cut and dry essay. They tell a story using characters who face a problem that ends up getting resolved and creates the happy ending when the story comes to a close.
Build your company’s personality. Customers will see that your company is made up of strong, hard-working humans who give your business its reputation.
Having a page of testimonials on your website is more powerful than you think. When keywords like “trustworthy,” “authority” and “credibility” are used in a testimonial, they become strong signals for search engines for prospective customers. According to VWO, testimonials can increase conversion on your sales pages by 34%.
Different types of testimonials
You know that testimonials are powerful tools, but which type will work best for sharing your customers’ success? There are so many ways to tell a customer’s compelling story – deciding which one works best will be based on the collateral you have to work with, as well as the unique way you want to share the success. Here are some of the common types of testimonials to consider.
1. Quote testimonials
Perhaps the most beloved and common type, quote testimonials are direct words from a customer who was satisfied with the products or services they received.
2. Peer testimonials
People tend to gravitate toward others who resemble themselves. This is referred to as implicit egotism, and it’s why peer testimonials work. Basically, the person giving the testimony is of similar status to the audience. This type usually includes a visual in the form of a portrait.
3. Social testimonials
The greatest testimonials are the ones you don’t ask for. This is where social media testimonials come into play. It’s when customers volunteer to write about their experience with your company via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social media outlet. This type is ultra organic and can add another layer of authenticity to your reputation as a brand, as it’s social proof of your successes.
4. Video testimonials
Letting your clients speak their truth in a video is one of the most authentic opportunities for a testimonial. This is something that’s very difficult to fake. Plus, this type is visually stimulating, attention grabbing and can keep potential customers on your page for a set amount of time.
5. Interview testimonials
An interview with your client is another authentic route. It’s almost as if it’s a hidden testimonial – if everything goes smoothly, nothing will be forced and the interview will speak for itself. A text interview is an option, but a Q&A via video or audio is more engaging and credible.
6. Influencer testimonial
Having a celebrity or social media influencer vouch for your brand is an influencer testimonial, and it works because these individuals have a trusted name and can help encourage other people to make decisions, thus leveraging them to consider your products and services. Although, The Federal Trade Commission requires all formal, paid influencer marketing campaigns to be disclosed.
How to write a testimonial
Before you start writing, think about the following questions. They can help spark your inspiration and get the story flowing.
- What was the problem your client needed solved?
- How did you solve the problem?
- How was your solution unique?
- How was your customer’s experience?
- What is the overall message you’re trying to convey?
Now, think about how you’ll compile this information. We recommend the following tips during the testimonial creation process:
Reach out to your customers. Talk to customers you’ve developed a strong business relationship with over the years. These individuals will be more willing to help your company.
Get a lot of (specific) information. This should include the person’s name, title and company. Adding the company’s logo is also effective. This information will put a face on the customer for your readers, making the testimonial more personal.
Keep things short and sweet. A lot of information is valuable, but make sure you keep the testimonial short and concise. A long testimonial that rambles on will likely be passed up by your website visitors, according to Orbit Media.
Be authentic. Authenticity is the underlying factor of credibility. Don’t blow anything out of proportion in customer testimonials – be authentic and factual.
Be visually engaging. No matter the type of testimonial, use images, videos and social media embeds that help paint the picture of the story you’re trying to tell. This makes your content more visually appealing and engaging.