As we’ve seen through the past 2 years, in and out of lockdowns and Covid clusters, people are online like never before. With increased digital engagement, as human beings, we seek to temper this with personal recommendation – this is why Testimonials should be a prominent and essential element of your website.
Show trust in your brand, your service, your products with testimonials that outline how you have been the solution to your clients’, your customers’, your users’ problems.
Why testimonials work
You may have heard testimonials referred to as ‘social proof’. This is shorthand for the tribal habit we humans have, of giving ourselves permission to buy/adopt/use something to mirror someone else behaviour.
This isn’t just the domain of the social influencer. It’s proven that reviews have flourished with the increase in ecommerce over the pandemic period. We place trust in the words and experience of others and when you’re not a business the size of Harvey Norman or Macquarie Bank, testimonials may be the only way you can represent the value you deliver on a neat, equal human scale.
Testimonials are effective because someone else has tested the water first. This can add balm to our anxiety, and give insights that we may not even have considered. The best testimonials tell a story of the problem the user had, in light of the solution you delivered. Story telling soothes and persuades, especially when it follows a classic chaos to control / problem to solution narrative arc, so we other humans can place ourselves into the story.
A good testimonial explains:
- The problem experienced by the user, customer or client
- Why they chose you
- What was the solution
- Why that solution is awesome
- How the solution worked
- What was the transformation for the person writing the testimonial.
Testimonials are the human version side of the product review (click here to read how product reviews help sales).
We are all selling something – exchanging goods, services, advice, for cash, goodwill, future sales, continued sales. If you can have the experience of your product conveyed, you enable others to more deeply imagine how their life will be transformed when using or buying from you.
Testimonials increase trust – and sales.
Positive reviews can significantly increase sales. Word of mouth through online testimonials, have been found to be the most important factor for improving engagement and sales, even for brands that are well known.
They show that your services garner such deep connection that people are willing to share the experience – to take time out of their busy lives to share their experience, so others can benefit too.
That type of engagement is gold.
Video testimonials are even more valuable, but immensely difficult to get. This is true devotion. Someone has not only taken time out to pen a review, they’re going to stand up and shout it. Don’t be concerned if a video testimonial seems to be beyond possiblity. In the absence of this holy grail, including a photo with a testimonial is valuable. It places a face with the story, gives credence to their opinion.
Because Testimonials answer questions about what you do, they have excellent SEO value. Google is an ‘answer engine’. It loves to be able to deliver value for its users, so they preference Google above all others (and they can sell ad space in the great circle of online life).
A testimonial that gives clear explanation of what you do, and what solutions this delivers, is powerful SEO optimised content.
Influencers and Klout
Someone of note will always give weight to the trust values, via the ‘Halo Effect’: “when the perceived positive features of a particular item extend to a broader brand.” (Wikipedia). In the absence of selling to a celebrity or expert in your field, testimonials that deliver a story as outlined above has enormous value.
Where do I place my testimonials?
Use these immensely valuable pieces of content throughout your site, and your socials.
Create memes for use on Instagram. Use them in case studies you write up as blogs and share on LinkedIn.
Add them in rows on your home page, above your call to action, or proximal to the area that shows the clients you work with.
Use them on your about page, on a dedicated testimonial page, on your contact page, on the services page relevant to that testimonial.
A nice small parcel of good will, they make a great graphic to break up a text heavy page, and brings your customers attention back to how your products or services relate to them and their issues.
Here’s a simple example of an email that can be sent to request a testimonial:
Dear [client, customer]
I hope you would be happy to write a testimonial for the work we have just done together.
The [name of service/product] work that I do is mostly via referral and testimonials are an important aspect of this.
I would be grateful if you could put in your own words something like:
“I was experiencing [problem].
I worked with [name] to [outcome of service or product] through [name of service or product].
I chose [name] because [reason].
She helped me solve [description]I found working with her [adjective] [adjective] [adjective]
[Your Name], [Your professional title]
If you could please send this back and also please add to
- my Google My Business reviews area:
- to my Linkedin profile:
- my business facebook page:
If you’re not sure how to add to these links, don’t worry, just email it back to me.
When should you ask for a testimonial?
The best time to ask for testimonials is early in your relationship with your client or customer – when you’ve delivered your solution, your relationship is going well, and, you’re still front of mind. We are all busy. Asking for a review or testimonial weeks or months after the service has completed, may deliver a diluted experience, or just may be too long ago for the client to recall accurately. Ask while the exchange is warm. But if some time has slipped by, do ask – it never hurts to ask.