Every once in awhile you may hear someone refer to a review as a testimony or vice versa. They are two slightly different forms of commentary that can be very good for business if the customer was happy with their experience.
Reviews are normally unbiased and not specifically hand-selected to be shown to other site visitors. Though reviews can hold a lot of negativity if a business or any customer service part of the experience is not as expected. Testimonies, on the other hand, are rather positive and usually handpicked to be seen or heard. They are the best consumers or in many cases, the positive side of a quoted review.
What is the Significance of Choosing a Testimony?
Honesty is always the best policy when dealing in business and having a testimony doesn’t mean you are being dishonest or fooling your potential customers either. When opting for a review there may be a potential customer reading through them and come across a customer who had one bad experience. That could drive away business in an instant and the business may have lost a customer that would last forever.
Testimonies are still truthful, but also have the power to bring a large crowd of customers who haven’t yet experienced a business. This is called “social proof.”
Social proof is not quite based on social networking- at least not alone. It is more of a, “If you build it, nerds will come,” type of affect that can be done anytime anywhere. When testimonies are given; on a website, on television, on a billboard or even by word of mouth; the potential customer is more inclined to approach that business with positive thoughts in their mind.
Still don’t quite understand? Here are examples of social proof in positive and negative ways:
A group of people are arguing in a parking lot and one person screams out, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” The next thing you know, the entire crowd is chanting for a fight because of one person’s reaction to an argument. This doesn’t just reflect behavior onto the rest of the crowd, but the arguing parties are now urged to fight and ultimately do.
In that same scenario, a group of people arguing, instead of chanting for a fight he intervenes and breaks up the argument. If the people still want to argue, more people attempt to help break it up.
When it comes to a business, this is psychological gold and testimonies work in their favor. If a crowd sees a good amount of positive experiences, they feel that they, too, will have a positive experience with that business. It’s all about what people see and hear from others outside of the company that brings in the customers.
Garnering Solid Testimonials for Your Product or Service
There are all kinds of great ways to collect testimonials from your happy customers. However, very few people will take the time to leave great feedback you can use if you don’t reach out to them and specifically ask… in many cases, they’re more motivated to speak out about a bad experience than they are to leave a positive review without you nudging them.
With that in mind, take the time to reach out to past (or current!) clients and buyers who have had experience with your business. When done correctly, you should wind up with some great material you can publish to help boost your trust, and you’ll also be able to learn about any issues they may have had all in one go.
Instead of just requesting a testimonial, which is likely to be only positive, instead conduct a feedback survey so you can get the whole truth.
There are a few key questions you should ask in the survey so you can get a useful testimonial together from them, such as:
- What did you enjoy the most about Product/Service X?
- Did you achieve any personal/business goals by using Product/Service X?
- How has Product/Service X positively impacted your life/business/etc.?
And so on. Of course those can be tailored to be more specific to the product(s) or service(s) you offer, but you get the idea. The goal is to provide open-ended questions, otherwise you’ll likely just end up with “Product/Service X was great, I’d highly recommend trying it out!” – a nice review, but not super helpful.
During the same survey, be sure to ask a few questions about anything you could improve or how you could make their experience better. While you don’t necessarily need (or want) to display that information in the testimonial, it can be valuable feedback to help you improve your offerings and obtain even better testimonials down the road.
You should also try to incentivize the survey in some way so that your customer has something in it for them. Simply framing the benefit as something along the lines of “so we can serve you better in the future” is better than nothing, though if you are able to offer a free download, a special discount, or something similar, you’ll likely have a much higher response percentage.
After you’ve received feedback, you’ll need to go through and find the best parts to use as potential copy for the final testimonial. Be sure to email each respondent back and thank them for their valuable feedback. In this same email, follow up by asking if they would mind leaving a testimonial that you can use in your materials.
You can ask your respondent to write a testimonial for you but they may be too busy, so it’s a good idea to offer to write the testimonial for them based on the info they provided in your feedback request. If you go this route, stay true to their original feedback and send your testimonial copy back over for their approval before using it.
During this same exchange, ask if you can use a picture of the or their logo to display along with the testimonial It’s also a great idea if you can use their full last name or an initial, and their location (city/state/county/etc.). The more information you display on your testimonials, the more they help with building credibility and making the testimonials feel more authentic.
If you’re writing the testimonial on behalf of a client you’re talking with, try to choose the best parts of the review that will resonate with your ideal customer avatar – and craft your review accordingly. If you’re running (or plan on running) multiple campaigns targeting multiple buyer personas, you may be able to extract different segments of the feedback to target for each of them. In that case, you can present multiple testimonials & ask if they mind you using any of them.
Utilizing Your Testimonials to Build Trust & Improve Conversions
After going through this process with several receptive clients, you should finally have a nice little pool of testimonials to tap into, so now it’s time to figure out how to best utilize them.
Using Testimonials on Sales Pages
If you have a sales page that relates to any or all of your testimonies, it’s a great idea to scatter a few around on the page. Ideally right after introducing the product/service.
Using phrases like “Jimmy saw excellent results in just 3 weeks, and you can too! Check out what he has to say:” as a lead in to the testimonial is a great idea. Don’t just slap it up with no context – it’s still better than nothing, but put a bit of effort in to segwey to the testimonial and you’ll be better off for it.
Also put at least one testimonial near the buy button(s) – this can help reassure people right before the point of purchase that “if it worked for them, it can probably work for me, too,” which is a very powerful friction reducer.
Using Testimonials on Landing Pages
In this case I’m referring to landing pages designed to collect user information in exchange for a free gift or perk (more often referred to as “squeeze pages”) – though there are many squeeze pages that are designed to actually sell something right off the bat (for utilizing testimonials on these pages, see the Sales Pages section above).
While people don’t need to be enticed quite as much to give up some personal information in exchange for something, you still have to put a fair amount of work in thanks to countless people who have been salting the earth for years.
We all know who I’m talking about: email spammers, robocallers, and call centers, oh my! They’ve made people jaded when it comes to giving up information, so you have to convince them that you’re not a low-life who’s going to hammer them with garbage emails or harassing calls right around dinner time.
There are several ways to do this, but testimonials are by far one of the most powerful (along with badges, seals & certifications – but that’s for another post).
If you can post testimonials prominently near your optin forms, you can build a solid sense of trust that you’re in it to help your visitors, which can greatly boost conversion rates.
Using Testimonials on Contact Pages
Another great place for testimonials is on contact pages, right near the submit button. If someone is thinking about contacting you for more information but they’re on the fence, seeing other happy people that have used your product(s) or service(s) and the results they’ve achieved with your help, it may be enough to push them to reach out.
Using Testimonials in Emails
Using testimonials in emails is a great way to
a) have an excuse to reach out to your list and try and encourage some sales
b) remind people that others are having success or a positive experience with you, and that they can too.
Using Testimonials on Social Media
Publishing a testimonial on social media is also a great way to build social proof. You can even create an ad that features the testimonial and a few benefits of your product or service and make the post sponsored to reach new people that don’t currently follow or engage with you.
Experimenting with Your Testimonials
Some testimonials are more compelling to others, and some will speak more to some ideal customers than others. Because of this, it’s important to test different testimonials on different landing pages & sales pages when you’re looking to optimize conversion rates.