Testimonials and reviews are a testament to a company’s good standing among its existing base of customers.
More the number of reviews higher the level of trust the brand elicits. Higher trust leads to more purchases. In this age where loyalty is fleeting, we should do all we can for long-term growth and survival.
Improvement in customer retention can improve profits. Studies have shown time and again that your customers are deeply invested in reviews routinely perusing them before they decide to purchase.
Here are a few stats:
- Review volume is directly proportional to high conversion rates. The research teams even have a solid number—50 or more reviews per product translates to 4.6% increase in conversions.
- Product specific review not only drives conversions, but it also drives organic rankings and traffic. In fact, 10 or more reviews means 15-20% increase in search traffic.
Sites like Amazon and BestBuy have taught customers to be review aware. Reviews drive interaction and affect conversion rates. In fact, the interaction may result in different things like :
- A 58% improvement in the likelihood of a conversion
- An increase of 62% in revenue
- 3% more (AOV)
Why should you use customer testimonials for your business?
It’s the eternal question. Which came first— the chicken or the egg?
Customers have no reason to trust a new site. And without trust, there’s no reason for them to purchase from you. No purchase meaning no testimonials.
You can’t blame them but how would you salvage your site and get those first reviews?
Here are a few other pointers on how and why testimonials help.
Prospects find testimonials relatable
Empathy could be our strongest suit. Customers are easily able to relate to testimonials.
A study points out the fact that an overwhelming majority of people, nearly 90% trust online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation that a friend would have suggested. A testimonial is a real true feedback from someone who’s considering the same things that the visitor is considering.
Testimonials build empathy and increase trust. A report from Survey Monkey states that 73% of adults trust content that’s backed by some kind of data/research. They need authenticity.
Testimonials also serve as proof and authenticate whatever it is you say you’re good at.
Testimonials substantiate claims
Whatever you’re claiming that your product does is substantiated through testimonials. If you’re saying your product blocks sweat and makes life easy a testimonial of someone who experienced relief from excessive sweating after using the product is better than anything you can do to substantiate your claim.
They’re endorsements from real people. And a testament to the real-world uses of the product.
A feature set can only describe so much about a product. Your prospective customers are looking for use-cases and experiences that feature sets can’t provide them with.
Testimonials offer competitive insight
You may have at least a few competitors doing exactly what you’re doing. How do you differentiate yourself? A real review can offer insight into why your service fared better than others. And only someone who’s used many products, been frustrated by them all can chip in those details.
Testimonials are particularly effective at improving your website’s search engine optimization because search engines are always on the lookout for indexing and ranking relevant content that’s always fresh, gets updated periodically and are vast in number. Reviews meet all three criteria.
90% of the searches that are happening are long tail. When writing reviews, people naturally mention dozens of things that cover a lot of long tail keywords. Yet another advantage.
Yotpo’s research on 30000 eCommerce businesses showed that reviews always increased search engine traffic.
They observed data for 9 months and saw that customer reviews increased search traffic by 45%.
There are a more than a handful of things you can do to optimize reviews for search engines like Google and reap the maximum benefits.
- Schema markups and rich snippets are used by search engines to index and easily find review data.
- Google loves beefier content. By including more fields and asking more questions you can beef up reviews. There’s a downside to this though. As the number of questions increases the number of participants decreases.
What are the different kinds of testimonials?
Testimonials picked from social media interaction
If your brand has a Facebook or Instagram page chances are customers interact with them on a regular basis. Sometimes the feed will have complaints. At other times praise for work well done.
When you do a good work and receive compliments on that, don’t let those idle away on the Facebook page. Take a screenshot and post it on your testimonial page.
Such demonstrations of goodwill and authentic adulation can build up trust.
Teeming with life there’s no dearth of people who’d readily be your product evangelists.
With a dedicated social media manager, the responses to fans’ social interactions can be immediate, relevant and well-thought of.
Zappos is a true master at the art.
Here’s an example.
From your social media pages, you could pull out testaments such as these to your review page.
Use a dedicated testimonial page with images from customers
I find increasing instances of pages that use authentic images and quotes from customers.
When customers submit their photos it’s often ones that haven’t been professionally done. And that’s splendid news. Such pictures appear authentic and give off a next-door-neighbor kind of aura that helps your case.
Here’s an example from Yellow Leaf Hammocks:
The quotes describe their experience with the product.
If pictures are powerful, imagine the power exuded by video testimonials.
GrooveHq, when they changed the landing page explainer video from to a real live human talking, saw their conversions shoot up from 2.3% to 4.3% where they stay now.
To cut to the chase— their conversion rate, previously 2.3%, was now 4.3%.
And afterward edged up to 4.7% which is the present conversion rate.
Case studies are yet another type of testimonials you can use. I have seen a wide application of this in tech companies, probably because the difficulty to wrap one’s head around the different terms.
It’s also difficult to show the value of say a CRM solution in a one-line review compared to a dog collar.
It comes as no surprise that Maximizer CRM a company whose customer base consists of CEOs and founders showcases case studies.
The page features case studies from different customer groups in a bid to drive home benefits.
When selling a solution a case study can cover aspects that give the product a well-rounded appearance. The best candidates are people who have time and again lauded on the benefits you provide. It takes a little more egging to feature them in case studies.
And collecting data isn’t too difficult either. Google surveys forms or Survey Monkey are apt tools. Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask:
Ask them about the challenges and problems they encountered in their business or life that made them go looking for a solution
What were the factors that made your business stand apart to them against the competition?
Your goals when you decided to purchase.
List benefits What benefits did you experience from using our product/service? Ask for quantitative data here. What would you tell other customers suffering from the same challenges you were struggling with?
That’s all good and dandy but how to get these testimonials?
How to get testimonials
After the product has shipped and reached their hands— the time when your customers are brimming with joy and the iron’s hot that’s the time you can contact them for a warm review or testimonial.
Sample questions: What do you think of the product? Tell us about your experience using it? Problems?
You don’t want everybody to respond but a conversion rate of 1 to 2% is ideal.
To spice things up you can also ask for other tidbits like how they discovered the service, if someone recommended it and if there’s anything definingly good about it. If they do describe those things, it adds a realness to the testimonials.
The post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t show you the best ways to use these testimonials:
The right way to use these testimonials
The right way to use testimonials before you begin plastering even a single one across the site.
You need to have clarity on what the end goal is with this.
Look through the eyes of your customer
The best way to do this is by looking at your site with new eyes— the eyes of your customer.
Based on how they arrived on your site, either through searching on Google and landing from an organic listing or through a PPC ad, the intent of the customers can help you understand what’s driving them to the site and what they’re expecting.
Customer testimonials can help prospects see themselves in the shoes of ones who’ve left testimonials. Additionally, this also makes you come across as a brand that values customer service. Not only customer service you can bring any USP front and center based on the testimonials you choose to display.
It’s entirely under your control.
Highlight your perfect customers
Testimonials also give you an opportunity to feature customers whom you consider as ideal. This reinforces the image that you’re building and would attract more like-minded people.
Think of the customers who meet all the criteria you’re looking for and search in your database if there any who have interacted with you with lots of positive comments on your business.
Also, people going through the same problems with the same pain points will relate to the ones in the testimonials strongly. If a large subset of your prospects are able to identify with the people in the testimonials that’s enough for you to run an evergreen business.
Emphasize your USP
Testimonials are really powerful in making your stand. However, testimonials from loyal fans simply enlisting the best features and all they love about you isn’t the wisest use of the space.
Instead, use them to forward your Unique Selling Proposition.
Your unique selling proposition is evident within your product or the service you offer will automatically find its way inside testimonials. You need not ask your customers for it.
Focus on different selling points in each testimonial
A lot of businesses are well known for what they do well. Starbucks despite the high cost of coffee provides unlimited refills. Some others are known for their commitment to customer service.
Whether one or several you could take this to your advantage. If there are several good things about your brand share the focus on each of them. Pick testimonials and line them by each aspect they discuss. This way you get to present several different features of the product in an authentic manner.
Finally, the importance of developing trust cannot be understated.
Trust isn’t up for sale. It has to be earned. But there ways to accelerate that earning and here we’re going to see ways on how:
Bad customer service when fanned enough on social media can bring untold damage to businesses.
These days, even a single incident is enough. I am not kidding. Just because a sandwich restaurant posted a picture of them with Donald Trump it was forced to close down.
As the world’s richest man, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: “If you make a customer unhappy in the physical world, they will tell five people. Online they can tell 5,000.”. Review sites like Yelp, Locanto, Yext, TripAdvisor, and others have made it incredibly easy to post opinions.
Customer testimonials are one way at getting a grip on this elusive element.
Repeat customers are the lifeblood of any successful business.
One of the best ways to keep them coming is sporting lots of customer testimonials. Such a site also helps convert prospects who are on the fence about trying your product or service.
What do you think?