Let Testimonials Do the Talking for You
Testimonials are not just something to make you feel good. Sure, people are saying nice things about you and your company, so that does feel good. But if you use them well, testimonials can be your best sales tool.
Let’s look at why testimonials are so powerful. But not all testimonials are created equal, so then let’s look at which testimonials will help you the most. After that, how about a few tips on how to collect those precious testimonials? Finally, we’ll review how and where to best place them for maximum impact.
The power of testimonials
The power of testimonials is pretty simple to understand. Somebody says something nice about your product or service and that validates a potential customer’s interest. If that person likes the product, the shopper probably will too.
This is called social proof. It’s not the only form of social proof. A Better Business Bureau logo or a quote from a magazine review is also an excellent form of social proof.
But a real person, just like the real me writing this piece, being able to see others say nice things about your product…that makes someone want to buy.
Hierarchy of testimonials
There is a hierarchy of testimonials. Some work better than others.
The best testimonial is one that comes from somebody you know. If a buddy at work or a neighbor says how much they love the product, that’s real. It’s live. It comes from someone you trust. There’s no faking it.
On the internet, there’s a lot of faking it. Fake reviews. Fake testimonials. How does one know which one to trust?
You probably can’t put everybody’s work buddy and neighbor on your website, but you can still post reviews from real people. A quality way to do this can be through video. A video testimonial is the best, most realistic testimonial.
Even among video testimonials, there is a hierarchy. If you can film somebody happily using the product, that’s the best method. If you can capture their delight at opening the box. If you can capture the thrill of seeing the product in use. If you can capture the satisfaction on a customer’s face, that one “testimonial” will sell more products than that of a sales pros.
Not quite as good, but still effective, is a more standard “talking head” testimonial. The more natural, the better. The less it looks like you might have hired an actor or prompted them on what to say, the more it looks spontaneous… the more trustworthy the testimonial will be.
Yes, you can hire an actor, but an organic approach is always the best way to go. Besides, have you ever noticed how quick people are to trust ad actors in lab coats?
If you can’t get a video, try to get a picture. That at least signals to the shopper that this is a real quote from a real person. Most fake reviews and testimonials don’t come with a picture. If the person is holding your product in the picture, that’s better than just a head shot. That person is a lot more likely to be real than a head shot that might even be just stock photography.
Finally, there is the quote and name approach, which is quite typical. I have to admit, that’s what I do, mostly because I don’t chase down testimonials. More on that later.
Did I say “finally”? Well, there is an even less effective testimonial. A quote and generic title. For instance:
“I love this product. ” – Nurse from Ohio
So, let’s recap this hierarchy:
- Real life, somebody you know
- Video of customer enjoying product
- Video of customer talking to the camera
- Photo of customer with product, text alongside
- Headshot of customer, text alongside
- Quote and name
- Quote and generic title
By the way, even a quote and generic title is more effective than no testimonial. Just because it’s too much work to capture video footage, that’s no reason to do without testimonials.
Collect those testimonials
I’m in a strange place on this. You see, I don’t chase testimonials. Every testimonial on our website was spontaneous. When a client says something nice to me or to a member of our team, I ask permission to publish it on our website. I am able to truthfully tell people that every testimonial has 100% natural authenticity.
But that’s no reason you can’t chase them down, if you wish.
One of the best ways to ask for a testimonial is to seek feedback on your product or service. Feedback is golden. If they loved it, you get a testimonial. If they were disappointed, you get to find out how to improve your product. It’s a win-win deal.
The best place to put your testimonial
The best place to put your testimonial is… everywhere. And that’s just what I do.
Consider how someone feels landing on your home page. They look around a bit, and they notice the social proof. OK, they think, this isn’t a sham. And so they dig deeper. The home page is a great place for testimonials.
Shoppers find their way to a sales page. Nice product, looks useful, and…oooh, look, some real people like it, too. Maybe I should buy one for myself. So, yes, put testimonials on your sales page.
One of the benefits of this approach is being able to target shoppers with testimonials specific to what they are shopping for.
Where else? How about the obvious? Yes, even if you have testimonials scattered around your website, some people will still look for a testimonials page.
I have testimonials in all these places, plus I include a few teasers right in the footer of my pages. Wherever you go on my website, there are testimonials.
Ah, but not just on my site. One of my favorite things to do when I hear sweet feedback from a client is to throw those words up on social media. No need to wait for people to come to you; take those testimonials out on the road.
So don’t be shy. When someone gives you love, spread it around.
You can’t go wrong with testimonials. Any testimonial is good. The more the merrier, and the more vivid and tangible the better. It’s time to turn the nice words of your customers into a sales force sidekick.