Are You Optimizing Your Testimonials?
Are you optimizing your testimonials on your website? As a web design company, we encourage customers to use testimonials as a method of social proof to showcase the value your products or services have. However we have noticed that not everyone is making the most out of what they have and tend to follow basic parameters when using testimonials.
To us, that seems wasteful.
You probably spent time and energy to obtain those wonderful testimonials so it makes sense that you want to get the most out of them. Much like other important aspects of your website, the use of testimonials does require use of strategy and in some cases testing to ensure they are optimized and providing the most weight they can.
The general concept behind testimonials is to provide valuable social proof that your products or services provide real value to real people. Visitors who are on your site that might be on the fence about a purchase can read exactly how what you are selling benefited others and that it is worth the money.
Typically when people think of a testimonial they include:
- A nice endorsement of products or services
- A customer’s name
- A photo
While this is a good starting point, it is also very basic. At best you have showcased that this is a real person providing real feedback. But there is more that you can do especially when you consider various factors that go into persuasion.
Tips for Optimizing Testimonials
- Be specific – Testimonials are often vague. “They provide the best service on the East Coast!” While that sounds good in a vacuum, what can another customer draw from that experience which will be useful to them? Instead try and coax a more specific testimonial from a customer that relates to a specific product or service and how it helped solve a problem or need.
- Be relatable – Demographics are a very important aspect of marketing and this should come into play when optimizing testimonials. You want people that are relatable to the target customers because typically people trust other people who are either like them or are people they aspire to be like.
- Allow good and bad – Testimonials that show positive and negative can be extremely useful and certainly help with the trust factor. People know that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is, so don’t be afraid to show minor issues within an overall positive testimonial especially if it then offers a chance to show how your business responds.
- Provide details – A photo should be a requirement of a testimonial along with a name, location and other details that help reinforce that this is a real person providing the information.
- Consider placement – You don’t have to have all of your testimonials on the same page or in the same spot. In fact, it can be very helpful to include a single testimonial near a trigger point in the process. For example, if you know customers typically are concerned about “X” then make sure you have a testimonial about that concern right next to the Call-to-action button. Placement of testimonials is important!
- Use long and short form – Testimonials do not all need to be 200 characters or less. This isn’t Twitter where you have a limit on what someone can say. Allow lengthy testimonials because the more a person has to offer, the more information prospective customers have available to help their decision. Often longer testimonials include more in-depth explanations of problems or issues which can be very relatable.
The bottom line is that you should be optimizing your testimonials if you want to gain the most from them. Social proof is a valuable concept in marketing and if you are going to use it then it makes sense to maximize the potential of that tactic and increase conversions.
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