Testimonials are one of the best marketing materials you can collect. Research has constantly demonstrated consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand which provides evidence of satisfied customers.

Yet the use of testimonials can be difficult. Google and other search engines have strict control on what you can and can’t use and customers sometimes don’t like their name on a website. Therefore careful testimonial management is required for you to be able to take advantage of your best marketing tool.

Read here to find out more.

 

Why Should Your Business Use Testimonials?

A testimonial is a very powerful marketing message. It is essentially a peer review for the customer and is given higher credibility and more accuracy than your own marketing efforts. Companies which share testimonials receive a higher conversion rate and increased profiles, hence why it is highly important to collect and share testimonials for your potential customers.

Testimonials and reviews can also support your search engine optimisation efforts. Google includes your ratings on sites like Google Local, Yelp and other review sites in determining where you should be in the search engine results page. This can therefore increase your web traffic.

 

How Do You Receive Testimonials?

Many businesses struggle to obtain testimonials because they do not ask for them. Simply asking for feedback from clients can be an excellent way to collect testimonials. Even if you do receive a negative review, you can turn that around. Go back to the customer, ask them why they were unsatisfied and come up with a solution to fix the problem.

Businesses often find customers will amend reviews and make them more positive if they have taken the time to resolve issues.

However, not every review should be five stars. Having a set of ‘five star’ only testimonials, looks suspicious to consumers and often they look for other suppliers. Therefore sometimes taking a four or three star rating can be better for generating business.

You should also look at creating a number of ‘review pools’ at different locations. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, not everyone uses the same review sites as everyone else. Asking people to review your business on different sites creates a number of places in which you can be found and a larger digital footprint.

Another reason is that sometimes review sites get taken over or taken down. A recent example of this would be Yahoo! Local discontinuing their review service in favour of their deal with Yelp. Many businesses complained that their positive reviews disappeared and were not transferred over to the new system.

Having a number of different ‘review pools’ avoids the loss of all your reviews should another review site do this in the future.

Testimonials don’t have to be provided in a written form. Some people may like to record themselves on camera speaking about your brand. This is a unique method and can seem more personal to the audience. Although the quality can be questionable sometimes, uploading these reviews to YouTube or your website can give you another engaging marketing avenue.

 

What Do You Look For In A Testimonial?

Testimonials can vary depending on who has written them. Seasoned review writers tend to write long reviews, which cover several aspects of the product or service, including all the positives and negatives. These reviews often include a recommended customer or user.

While these professional reviews can be useful, they can also be too long to use on your site, though you could use them in your social media updates.

Many of those who review may only write a few words like: “excellent service. Thanks!” While it always pleasant to receive good feedback, from a potential customer’s perspective it is unhelpful. The customer will always be asking several question when they are looking at reviews:

  • What did the reviewer buy?
  • What was their opinion of the product?
  • What was their opinion of the customer service?
  • Do they recommend the product?

Generating reviews which mention all these items can be tough and you will not get a significant number, though the reviews you receive which contain all (or at least most) of this information will be valuable for your business.

 

What Should You Never Do With Testimonials?

There is one common mistake which many businesses make when they are using testimonials. They take the reviews from another site, like Google Local or a tradesman site, and then post that on their own website.

Google will penalise that page for having the same content as another page, which will lower your website’s ranking. Instead, if you want to use high quality testimonials, look for an application which can be installed on your site. Many review sites have this application readymade for you.

It helps them identify themselves as a provider of business reviews while also supporting your business’ efforts.

 

How To Share Reviews

There are three main ways to share testimonials. The first is on your website. A good landing page should have what is known as social proof on the site. Having an application from another site or using testimonials you have collected on your landing pages will provide that social proof and increase conversions.

You can also use a selected testimonial in your email copy to remind customers why they have signed up for your mailing list. This can be particularly powerful as email marketing is still one of the strongest sales channels. It is also good because customers who share your email with their peers are also sharing your testimonial – giving more reason why their peers should join your mailing list.

One of the last methods of sharing your testimonials is to do so on social media. As soon as you receive a new testimonial you should share it on Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn. You should also include the review periodically in your Twitter campaigns.

Using your testimonials in this mix will increase their exposure and provide evidence as to why customers need to sign up with you.

 

Conclusions

Testimonials are an important part of online marketing – evidence that the service you provide is of high value and quality. Using testimonials in the right way can help you spread that message, increasing conversion and revenue with little additional effort from you or your marketing team.

 

Action Steps:

  • Select a number of review sites where you would like to collect reviews.
  • Send out an email blast to previous customers requesting reviews; split them up so you are sending a proportion to each review site.
  • Monitor the reviews coming in and deal with any which are negative.
  • Promote those reviews on your website, email and social media.
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