How To Increase Sales With Customer Reviews + Testimonials.
It’s a good thing you can’t hurt yourself by being flung off a treadmill and onto a carpeted floor at 5km per hour. Because there I was, in my full leeeesurewear glory, headphones in, strolling along, when the podcast host I was listening to said something that near threw my rear end off the back end.
They didn’t subscribe to using client testimonials on websites as a great way to boost business credibility.
A few days later I heard a similar sentiment. This time, from a client: Testimonials felt clichéd and tacky.
And later that week, another business owner confessed they avoided using them on their site as it was common perception in her industry that they were often completely fabricated.
Booooo! Not cool.
Not cool that some businesses are hoping to score new clients via botched website testimonials, but super-duper not cool that there are clearly many businesses missing out enquiries, bookings, sales and added credibility that testimonials can bring.
I’m a big believer that you should promote client testimonials on your website, and that when done right, high-quality testimonials can positively impact your bottom line. I’ve experienced this first-hand, and in fact, a recent survey showed that 85% of consumers trust online reviews[i] just as much as they’d take a mate’s business recommendation as gospel.
So how do you generate head-turning testimonials that go beyond the “Great service. Would recommend.”? (Which are little more than an ego boost and a complete waste of space on your website or socials.) And how to reassure potential customers perusing your site - weighing up whether to shoot you an enquiry or close their browser tab - that all this glowing praise is as legit as my love for the croissant-coffee-quiet house trifecta?
While I’m relaxing with my coffee and cake (why else do they call it leisurewear?) read on to see how you can use testimonials to help YOUR business win over the next customer in need of your products or services.
1. ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE. First and foremost, make it part of your processes to regularly ask for testimonials. Yes, it might require you to pull on your big girl boots, but remember that the world is full of busy people, so the chances of receiving a review for every happy customer is slim (sometimes no matter how amazeballs your service is). If you ask for customer feedback to be posted directly to Google Reviews or Facebook, this will help you avoid having gaps can leave people wondering why rave reviews stopped in 1994. Worried you’ll cop a bad one in the mix? This is a golden opportunity in itself. It’ll provide you with the chance to show the world how fabulous you are at managing client concerns with aplomb! Even more reason to want to do business with you.
2. GROW YOUR GANG. One or two reviews won’t win hearts, so be sure to share numerous client testimonials with your website visitors. Bear in mind that consumers need to read around seven reviews[ii] before they start to trust that what you’re saying about your fantabulous biz echoes the sentiments of your customer base.
3. GET SPECIFIC. Avoid using vague, blanket style testimonials that could be copied and pasted onto any Tom, Dick or Harry site. Instead, ask for reviews that detail two things: 1: How your customer felt before they found you, and 2: How much better their life is since you waved your business’ magic wand. Prospective clients will be quick to identify with the problem your other clients faced, and they’ll be keen to get their hands on your products and services that saw those problems vanish. Better yet, specific mention of your services, products, your name or your business name will remove doubt that your review isn’t the real deal.
4. DOUBLE UP. I don’t recommend posting any testimonials on your website that haven’t been posted directly by your customers elsewhere online. When you ask for a testimonial, ask your client to post to Facebook review or Google Reviews (bonus points here for boosting SEO), then copy that review and post it to your website. You’ll also avoid raising the alarm that reviews on your site can’t be cross-referenced elsewhere, direct from the source.
5. SHOW I.D. Fake testimonials on a business website might identify a supposed customer by their initials but will be less likely to show a full name. They might say which country they live in, but it’s unlikely they’ll note a specific city or suburb. They won’t reference or link back to a client’s business (if you’re in the B2B sphere), and it’s highly unlikely the review will have a clear photo of the customer accompanying it. These four things will help sway the cynics that your testimonial has been provided by a real-life, walking, talking, ridgy-didge customer.
6. NEK-LEVEL INDISPUTABLE TRUTH. To raise the bar, use video footage for client testimonials. If you can star alongside your happy customer, even better. Unless you wield some impressive animation and editing skills, I'd rate the authenticity of a rave review like that with 5 stars.
Okay, fine. That was totes tacky and clichéd. I'll go back my croissant, shall I? Treadmill next, promise.
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[i] Bright Local 2018 https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/
[ii] [ii] Bright Local 2018 https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/