A quick test for you… it’ll only take a moment.
Imagine you’re searching for wellington boots online. Not very glamorous, but hey, you can’t be without a good pair of wellies down here in Somerset…
Have a read of these two made up testimonials for wellington boots and have a think about which one would encourage you to buy the boots more.
“I love my wellies. My feet say a big thank you every time we go for a walk.”
DG – England
“I have tried to find a pair of wellingtons that combine comfort and value for money with toughness and durability as I wear wellies on a daily basis for my job. Thanks to your website I have finally found some boots that tick all the boxes. Good grip, tough robust design, comfortable all day long and they look good too! Already thinking about buying another pair to keep as spares. Thanks so much.”
Emma Waites – Environmental Conservationist – Manchester
I’d bet my bottom dollar as the saying goes on the fact that you found the second testimonial more persuasive than the first. I did too.
Turning a testimonial that gives you and your team a warm buzz into a killer marketing tool is therefore not simply a case of just publishing them on your website. You’ve got to be a bit testimonial savvy and play the game.
This is what we’re going to look at now. How to present your testimonials to get the best possible return. Let’s not forget that as well as being a nifty marketing tool, you’ll also be creating some fresh content for your website every time you upload a testimonial. Another win win situation.
Off we go…
8 – Testimonial Tips:
+ Be Specific
The little test that we opened the blog with summed this first point up rather nicely. In the space of a few lines the second testimonial gives the reader an idea of the wellingtons comfort level, grip, robustness and overall look whereas the other one, although very sweet is a bit light on detail.
Adding in some of the fluffier testimonials to balance things is sensible as it provides a bit of contrast and reading that the customers are just ‘really really happy’ in amongst the more critical ones is no bad thing.
+ Length Matters
If people are in a hurry and they often are when browsing for a product or service on-line then you’ve got to give them what they want efficiently. As we’ve already established being specific matters. Longer testimonials of say a couple of paragraphs are useful, again if you can balance them with the shorter, snappier ones.
+ Customer Story
If you receive a whole page (or more!) testimonial from a super fan then there is an opportunity for taking things to the next level and starting a customer story page. This is where you can really go to town and length isn’t an issue you need to worry about.
Photos, emboldened and enlarged quotes, a profile of the customer. There’s so much you can do. I’m stopping there as this is a Content Creation tip for another day…
Don’t leave testimonials on the page for too long as they’ll gather dust and start to undermine the overall effort. Updating them every other month by simply adding the new ones in at the top and removing the bottom one will mean that the list changes organically.
By operating a rotation approach you are challenging yourself to actively seek quality referrals. No slouching now! Get hunting.
+ Personal Information
A testimonial that a potential customer can trust is the only type of testimonial to publish and one sure fire way of building trust is to show that a real person provided it.
In the example we used at the start, one person provided just their initials and country as a location and the other one gave their name and their home city. I find it more difficult to relate and therefore connect with DG from London than I do Emma Waites from Manchester yet both provided glowing testimonials. How about you?
Photos are the next step for this. I would say that social media is the place for providing photos alongside testimonial providers whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other platforms. The customer is in complete control and you don’t have to run the risk of discouraging people from submitting their testimonial.
+ Our 1000th Testimonial
Being able to say that we’ve reached our 50th, 100th, 500th testimonial and so on does two things. It says that firstly you’ve got some happy customers who want to tell you they are happy and the second thing is that it encourages other satisfied customers to join the love parade and write their own testimonial.
You don’t need to list them with numbers or anything like that, just announce it when you hit the milestones and give yourself, your team, your suppliers and last but not least your customers (!) a big pat on the back for being so darned wonderful.
Going back to our wellington boot company quickly, lets imagine they have had an order to supply a building company with 50 pairs of steel toe capped wellington boots. If a customer is buying 50 pairs of boots after having one original pair, which were excellent then they’re going to be good.
A testimonial from a company demonstrates that your product (in this case wellies) are not just for individual customers but that you can handle large orders.
+ Page or Sliders?
A block of testimonials makes a strong impact and at a glance tells the reader that lots of people have positive things to say about the company, product or service. Even if they only read one or two before heading to another page then they’ll have seen that there were ten, twenty testimonials all lined up. Trust and confidence levels will immediately go up.
A slider on the other hand works on the basis that the site visitor is not actively searching for testimonials but now having found the slider will stick around and have a read of some. The only problem with it is that short of waiting to see when the testimonials start to repeat there is no way of telling how many are actually listed.
Therefore, the person reading the slider testimonials may stick around for 30 seconds or so then head off with a false impression of the number of testimonials. If you do go for the slider then every testimonial has got to be a winner. No filler allowed!
The compromise is to have a slider with two or three testimonials showing at any one time and then have a ‘read more’ anchor text call to action sending the reader through to the testimonials page. The image below is a screen shot taken from our own website where we use this system to a successful ends. Plus you can link to the page meaning that from a usability point of view for SEO purposes it is much better than just having a slider.
Some time ago we published a couple of blogs in this Content Creation series about how to use customer reviews for e-commerce sites – part one & two. The relationship between customer reviews and testimonials is wafer thin of course so if you’ve found this blog useful then why not head over and have a read.