Social Proof. Easy concept to understand: Get people to say nice things about you and other people will be more likely to buy.
Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews [source]
Testimonials are the most common way to display social proof and they are the easiest to create.
But most websites and marketing material either:
- Doesn’t use testimonials
- Doesn’t use testimonials that help the sell anything
Testimonials are like evergreen referrals from your clients. Take a webpage and place your client testimonials in them and you will improve the conversion rate.
Testimonials build trust and credibility. Whether a customer would say that you have done a great service or rave about a product that they have bought or tried, they reflect a positive experience.
Testimonials are not sales pitches and they stand out unbiased. They help to remove skepticism.
We hate being sold to. We tend to run away immediately when we see a copy that tells us to buy these before we see the clear benefit or see someone having a great experience using it.
With testimonials, you don’t have to do a hard sell. Seeing that it made someone’s life different or someone’s business more efficient would help remove doubt in one mind
That said, impressive testimonials are seldom used by a few businesses for one reason or another and powerful testimonials are even rarer.
Three Components of a Powerful Testimonial
1. Expose the expectation the client had before buying your product or service
If you are trained in selling you are told to deal with objections upfront. Testimonials can do this in a powerful way. By tackling a common objection or misconception about you upfront you get a metaphorical ‘tick’ in the customers mind. You have removed an objection in a powerful way – with social proof
2. Providing a solution to fix the problem
Listing a particular feature of your product or service is a powerful way to expose what is really working for clients – and embed it in the mind of prospects. Putting a little FOMO in your prospects mind is good as they don’t want to be missing out on what other people in their industry are experiencing by working with you. Explicitly stating what problem it solves is great as that problem probably exists in the majority of your customer base
3. State the result that was solved by using the solution
You do deliver results don’t you. Good. Well you need to tell people about it. This doesn’t come naturally to all of us (especially Kiwi’s) but you have to be clear about the benefits you product or service delivers in the real world. Bonus points if you can deliver the solution in a particular timeframe eg “He doubled my business in 5 months”
Making Testimonials Credible
A word of warning: never make testimonials up.
Humans have a finely tuned bullshit detector. Even if they don’t know for sure; made up testimonials often feel wrong.
A good testimonial has:
- An image of person
- Their full name
- Their job title (B2B)
- A link to verify that they are a real person
Video testimonials can work great but depending on your product and context your mileage may vary.
Testimonial Hall of Fame
Here’s some good ones:
Weirdly are a cool NZ app that helps HR and Hiring pro’s screen applicants to make sure they are a good cultural fit.
They also have a good testimonial on their site:
Jucy are a well known brand, they had a problem, they list one of their favourite features and they were successful. Only minor criticism of this testimonial is it’s hard to read on the parallax background which could cause prospects to skip past it.
An another example is a testimonial from Teamwork.
The business needed a good project management system that could make collaboration seamless and easier.
His solution was to set-up Teamwork for his team. The testimonial indicates how the tool is helping the business despite location constraint, bulk of project being managed and number of people collaborating. He also lists how many people are using the app in their organisation which is a frame for similar sized companies who are thinking about using the app.
It could be improved by the timeframe the results were delivered in. I could also improve it by featuring an image of Jeremy so I will fix that shortly!
How to Collect Testimonials
Testimonials generally only trickle in unless you have a process for acquiring them.
Most customers don’t mind giving constructive feedback but you need to make it easy for them.
Asking an existing customer is as simple as sending them a personal email.
Here’s a template:
If you receive a powerful testimonial you ask the customer for permission to publish it. Most say yes.
If you’re new to the business or if a client hasn’t tested a product yet, a way to get a testimonial is to have your product tested and reviewed.
This can be tough as it may yield negative feedback and you need to get another to do another review. However, if there’s positive response, you’re hitting two birds with one stone – getting a new customer and getting that much needed testimonial.
Comments and Recommendations from Social Media Sites, Local Directories or Review Sites
Another way to collecting testimonials is through social media. Short reviews can serve as testimonials. If you have a Facebook company page or LinkedIn account, comments from fans or recommendations from connections can be a good source of testimonial. Here’s an example from IBM.
Check the comments or recommendations if they meet any of the criteria you set. If you’re able to choose good ones, it’s necessary to ask permission as some may feel uncomfortable having their faces and words posted on your site.
If the testimonial is coming from a review site or local directory, you can get a screenshot or better yet link it through so people can see the other ones.
Check your testimonials. They are probably due for an upgrade.