How to maximize effectiveness of customer testimonials

In a survey conducted by Zendesk, it was established that 90% of 1,046 participants were influenced in buying decisions by positive online reviews. The same survey established that more than 70% of consumers look at product reviews before making a purchase.

A testimonial or review from a happy customer is very persuasive to a customer who is considering a purchase. A fellow consumer is trusted more than an advertisement that is created for the sole purpose of getting people to buy and in which the truth can be stretched. An independent consumer on the other hand, has nothing to lose or gain and will be truthful about the quality and performance of a product.

Making testimonials work for you

Today's customers are savvy and they can detect whether a testimonial is genuine or not. Ensure that yours have the following marks:

1.) Authenticity
Prove authenticity by including the real names of your customers and their photos should they agree to provide them. If possible, give the name of your customers' business if it is applicable. Also, get testimonials from high profile people that consumers know, admire and believe are trustworthy.

2.) No empty platitudes
Testimonials like 'great product', 'simply awesome' or 'really great' are very general and not convincing. Persuasive testimonials talk about the particular features or qualities of a product that have been helpful and what has changed with its use. For instance, a product made to reduce snoring that works with a testimonial of 'it worked right from the first night. My husband's snoring stopped and we could both sleep and wake up rested in the morning. It really works!' sounds convincing and persuasive. Similarly, a skin care product that a customer says 'was quickly absorbed, made skin feel silky soft and gradually removed blemishes' is convincing.

3.) Grab attention
Pay attention to the design of your testimonials page. Use color, images and typeface to effect. Even better, have video testimonials where happy customers show, rather than tell what they like about a product. This works better than written testimonials.

Different ways to get your customers writing testimonials for you

Facebook Reviews
If you have set up your Facebook page as a local business, you have a Reviews tab on your page. Just slide this tab into your visible tabs and keep urging your fans to post some reviews.

Recommendations from LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a network of professionals so reviews here carry weight. Reviews won’t be on your company profile because they are only for individuals. This works out great if you are a freelancer, small business owner, and so on. If you are a large company, encourage employees to get active on LinkedIn so they can get recommendations from customers for the company. With consent, you can use the recommendations on your website on a testimonials page or page with employee bios.

YouTube reviews
Video reviews are very powerful. Encourage fans to add videos to their YouTube account and give you the link. You can then add the videos to your channel and create a customer review playlist. Another way to get video reviews is by keeping a Flip camera in the office or store and film reviews.

Local search directories

Google Places, Merchant Circle, Yahoo Local, Yelp and CitySearch are local search directories allow members to leave reviews on local businesses. If you get good reviews, you can put them on your testimonials page. Driving your customers to write reviews here rather than on your website increases traffic and positions your business to come up when searches are done for those that have the most reviews.

Niche review sites
You can also benefit from getting reviews on niche review sites depending on your business. TripAdvisor, Travelocity and Expedia are good niche review sites for those in travel.

Rewarding reviews
Encourage customers to leave reviews with a gift. Some restaurants put offers on receipts for a chance to win prizes if you call and leave a review. You can offer discounts and coupons on local search directories and there’s special coding on Facebook that makes it possible to give fans offers.

Socialmention and Google alerts

Lastly, there are a lot of reviews left on other websites such as personal blogs. Set up daily notifications on Google Alerts and Socialmention for different applicable terms to keep track of your brand mentions.

Customer testimonials can do a lot for a brand or business.

Get them by legal means with permission, keep them authentic and real, and continue encouraging your customers to leave them. Also, keep in mind the legal requirements related to using testimonials from customers.


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