Why reviews and testimonials are so important and how to get them

 In reputation management, Reviews and testimonials

Why reviews are so important and how to get them

Getting and using great reviews and Testimonials

Adding reviews and testimonials (comments from your satisfied customers) is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to improve your online brand awareness. Testimonials or reviews are excellent personal “recommendations” of your products and services.

Positive ones! However, negative reviews, when handled correctly can be just as powerful. They show your customer service skills and the caring nature of your business. Whilst a bad review might seem like the end of World to any business, a carefully managed reply could persuade others to use you!! See how on How to Manage Your Reputation Management.

Reviews and testimonials can be found and added to your website, landing pages, Social Media, Direct Mail, Email – any place where your prospects are looking at you. These can be added via Google My Business or via third party sites like Yelp, Yell.com and Feefo

A good testimonial can generate more selling power than some of the best sales copy available!

Why are testimonials so effective?

  • Testimonials help build trust. Whether your customers are shouting out about what how great your product is, or what it has done for them or about the great service you provided, they are telling your visitors first and foremost that they had a positive experience with your products and company.
  • Reviews aren’t salesy.” Because testimonials aren’t written in your “voice,” they stand out in your copy as candid and unbiased accounts of how well your product works.
  • Testimonials overcome scepticism. A good testimonial has the power to convince even your “tough sell” visitors that your product or service really made a difference in your customer’s life– and can help them, too.
  • Reviews are personal recommendations. These will have a name and usually, a business name on them. They will be written by the user/owner of your services or products. Some sites have testimonials like “Mr S, London” how less trustworthy is that than “Mr Stuart Marler, Retriever Digital, Worthing”?

Simply put reviews and testimonials are powerful SOCIAL PROOF!

Reviews are Powerful

  • When a client says great things about you, about your work or the products you sell, give them the opportunity to turn that praise into a review or testimonial. Simply ask: “I’d really love to share your success with others. Would that be okay?”
  • People generally like to be helpful to other people, but they’ll rarely think to give you that all powerful testimonial unless you ask. “Would you tell your friends about your experience with us? Please provide a review on….(your most powerful review site – google, Yell.com etc.)
  • They’ll feel much more engaged with your business and want it to be a success, so they’re much more likely to remain loyal than someone who hasn’t written one.
  • What’s more, when someone writes something nice about you, they put they’re name and reputation on the line – they won’t want to be publically proved wrong, so they’re more likely to stand behind their testimonial and become a staunch supporter of your business.
  • The bottom line is that customers who write great testimonials stay more loyal, which is why getting testimonials is such a key part of client retention.
  • Building testimonial capture into your sales process brings another useful bonus – a constant flow of new testimonials! Get it right and you’ll never have to worry about using old or out-of-date testimonials in your marketing.
  • Adding this single element to your website can multiply your profits – and get your customers selling your products for you.
  • What do people who’ve actually purchased and used your product or service think about it?
  • Answering that question is one of the most fundamental tasks your website needs to accomplish– and it’s as simple to do as it is important.
  • By using testimonials in text, audio, pictorial or video format on your website, you not only answer the question, you also transform your sales pitch into a credible, unbiased recommendation for your product.

How To Get Great Reviews & Testimonials

If your customers have given you positive feedback on your product already, then you may already have some great testimonials to add to your site. However, if your customer response is a little scarce–or if you’re just starting out–getting testimonials from your buyers might take a little more effort.

So how do you collect the testimonials you need and keep them coming as you grow your business? One easy way to collect testimonials is to include a link on your site with a form that allows your customers to provide their vote of confidence: “Tell us how this product changed your life!” or “Click here to let us know what you think!” Put this link next to some testimonials that you’ve already gathered to give customers an example of the kind of feedback you are looking for.

Automate your reviews process

A more effective method is to create an auto-responder that contacts your buyers after they’ve purchased your product to ask how they’re enjoying the product, as well as giving them a chance to offer feedback on their experience with your business. And, of course, anytime you receive a great letter or e-mail from a customer, ask them if you can use their comments on your website to recommend your product to others. If they were happy enough to let you know, they’re bound to want to spread the word.

A further inducement might be that you can provide a link back to their site. After all, backlinks are powerful for rankings, and difficult to get!!

If you haven’t yet begun selling your product and have no feedback yet, offer your product or service for free to a select group of customers in exchange for their thoughts on the product or some details on their experience with your site. The impact that testimonial will have on your bottom line will be well worth the initial expense.

Examples of proven strategies for getting testimonials:

1. Contact your most recent customers first.

The best time to get a testimonial from a customer is as soon as they’ve bought something. Not a month later, or even a week later in most cases, but straightaway. When customers buy something it creates a ‘high’ in their mind, they are in a very positive frame of mind, especially with regard to their shiny new purchase. They are looking to validate their smart and sensible purchase with themselves and the world, they are looking for reasons to affirm their buying decision as smart and canny one, and writing a testimonial gives them chance to do this.

So don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’ll be easier to get great testimonials from long-time customers. Get on the phone and call your newest customers.

No matter which industry you serve, the most passionate praise you’ll find for your work and the service tends to come from customers with whom you have only recently started doing business.

2. Contact your wise and insightful repeat customers.

Your repeat customers, while perhaps not as excited because they are used to the great service you give them, provide prospects with important insight about what makes your product or service worth buying.

Make a point of calling up people you’ve been doing business with for a long time and ask them why it is that they use on you. The answers you get will often include a great sentence or two that can be added to your testimonial collection. Again, all you have to do is ask.

3. Make it easy for people to leave a review.

One of the most common comments you’ll hear from clients when asking for testimonials is “Well I’m really not much of a writer, so it’s hard for me to put it in words.” The real power of testimonials comes from the fact that they’re not polished, that they’re authentic and from the heart.

A business owner I know recently told me that he interviews all clients starting with “Finish this sentence in twenty-five words or less: I really like (product/service/person) because . . .” This approach works because it gets right to the point about the feelings people have for you, and how what you do helps them.

You can also pre-write testimonial and send it to the client for approval. This takes all the effort out of the process for them and is a fast and effective way of getting you up and running.

4. Do unto others.

Write testimonials for others in your client community and those whose services have impressed you. This creates reciprocity, and sends an important message to everyone about the high standards you have not only as a supplier, but as a buyer, too.

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn are handy tools for doing this. (Please note that I am not suggesting you use the LinkedIn “endorsement” function. That I find useless and quite frankly, annoying. Instead, use the functionality that lets you actually write a testimonial for the client, supplier, or partner.)

You will find that they will return the favour with glowing references for you too.

5. Thank your customers regularly.

When you ask for a testimonial, you are battling with numerous other competing customer priorities. By thanking them (sincerely!) for taking the time to act on your request, your customers will treat your request with higher priority.

…And when you receive the testimonial, be old-fashioned; send a handwritten thank-you note.

Testimonials are the best way to convince prospects to do business with you.

They allow you to say: “Don’t just take my word for it, have a look at what my customers say . . .”

When you do so, you deepen prospect confidence and dramatically reduce barriers to closing the sales. 

6. Ask your customers to be specific

The more specific your testimonial is, the more effective it will be. The best way to encourage your customers to be specific in their testimonial is to ask the right leading questions – for example:

  • Were you sceptical before you decided to order? Please explain why you felt that way.
  • Why did you decide to take the plunge and buy? What was the key to that decision?
  • Did you get your product on time? What was the packaging like? Did it do a good job of protecting your purchase?
  • Who would you recommend this product / service to, and why?
  • Did you speak to one of our sales team? If so, who did you speak to, and how did they help you? More specific testimonials will work better than general because they are more believable and easier to relate to.

Here’s an example of a glowing, but ultimately ineffective testimonial:

“We love this product! I can’t get enough! Im so glad I bought your stuff and Ill definitely be back to get more!

What could be wrong with that? It sounds like you have a happy customer on your hands!

But what does this testimonial really tell your visitors? Does it prove the product works, or explain exactly how your customer benefited from using it? While the feedback is definitely positive, the testimonial doesn’t provide enough detail to have any real impact on your visitors.

Here’s an example of an effective, benefits-driven testimonial that will turn a visitor into a customer:

“I used the methods you told me to use, and for three days my phone’s been ringing!”

“We sold over £3,500 in goods and services in three days! It’s the first time in five months that anyone had really purchased anything.”

When you’re choosing testimonials, there are a few key ingredients to look for that make the difference between an ineffective testimonial and one that sells.

The elements of an effective testimonial

1. A good testimonial is filled with benefits.

A comment like, “This product is great!” is nice to hear, but it doesn’t tell visitors what your product can actually do for them.

You want the benefits of what you offer to be front and centre in every testimonial:

  • “This product doubled our profits in a month!” or
  • “This product made the pain in my back disappear completely–and did it fast!” or
  • “We’ve never seen any product that could get the rust off our car without damaging the paint–until now.“

2. A good testimonial substantiates your claims.

  • If you say your product can do something, your testimonials should back up your promises, complete with actual facts and figures.
  • Did it save your customer money, if so how much did your customer save by using your product?
  • How much time did they save by using your service?
  • How did it solve their problems or improve their lives?

3. A good testimonial is from someone your audience can relate to

You want your visitors to see that your product helped someone just like them. Make sure your testimonials come from someone with whom your target market can identify.

If you sell age related goods or services, ask your customers if you can include their age along with the testimonial. If you’re selling to mum’s with children, ask if you can mention how many kids they have. Ask to include a photo of their family, especially using the product!

4. A good testimonial is credible

Accompany each testimonial with the first name, last name and hometown of each testimonial-giver to show that your endorsements come from real people. Always try to include a photo as well.

Take it to the next level by including audio or video testimonials for maximum effect. Do anything you can to help your visitors connect with your testimonial-givers on a personal level.

5. A good testimonial endorses the key benefits of your product.

It’s great to hear that your floor cleaner smells nice or that the bottle doesn’t drip! Both of which are important to people who would consider using your product. But have you established that it cleans their floors well?

6. A good testimonial is comparative

Did your customers try another product that didn’t work before they found yours? You want your visitors to know what your product can do that other products can’t. Choose testimonials that set your product apart from your competition.

How to use your reviews and testimonials

Once you’ve got some testimonials to share with your visitors, you need to make sure you’re putting them to the best possible use on your site. Always make sure that you:

  • Include your best testimonials front and centre on your homepage, like in your sidebars, or even above your headline.
  • Place some testimonials right in the middle of your homepage. This will keep your readers focused on your credibility as you outline the features and benefits of your product.
  • Set up a whole page dedicated to your glowing testimonials. Include snippets of their comments throughout your site. Be sure to put a link to your testimonial page next to each of those snippets.
  • Include testimonials on each and every page of your website. No matter where your visitors click, you want them to find a positive customer review of your product or service.

How NOT to use reviews and testimonials on your website:

  • Don’t edit your testimonials to exclude a comment or add information you want to hear! If you can’t post a comment “as is” and feel comfortable with it, it shouldn’t go up.
  • Never use a customer testimonial without permission.
  • Never, ever invent testimonials! This is fraud, plain and simple, and lying never results in a positive impact on your business.

Final Thoughts

If you’re not using testimonials on your website and throughout your marketing, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful, easy-to-use and cheap marketing tools available to you.

Most of us would rather act on a referral from a friend than make a purchase based on a sales pitch alone. We want to know that the product actually works before we take the leap to buy. We are more likely to put more trust in someone who has already used the product successfully than the person trying to convince us to buy it.

Using glowing, fact-filled testimonials on your website will let your visitors know that you’re worthy of their trust.

If you can, get more powerful reviews by including audio or video testimonials for maximum effect. Do anything you can to help your visitors connect with your testimonial-givers on a personal level.

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We can help with reputation management – getting results for you, driving customers to your site and increasing followers. Call us on 01903 791660 or visit fill in our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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