Is your website missing a KEY ingredient to unlocking higher sales? Many websites do—and don’t even realize it.
If you guessed testimonials, you guessed right.
Think about it! Do you enjoy reading wordy Web pages full of dry research and statistics? I don’t. It’s… well… boring, to be quite frank.
Research is invaluable. Statistics to back up your products’ promise and effectiveness are excellent tools. But, if I’m considering a product that could seriously improve my life or business in some way—I don’t want to read a long list of stats.
Remember, buying is an emotional decision at its core. I want to hear from real people about the product and what their honest opinions are. I want to be able to relate and understand. I want to feel connected to other customers—cities, countries, even continents away!
If I’m about to purchase something, I want to feel like the money I’m spending is validated and the product I’m getting is worth every penny.
The most powerful research tool to turn prospects into customers is positive feedback from your already satisfied customers! By using testimonials, you give your product an unbiased advantage… and create credibility to boot!
Let’s look at a few different examples of how testimonials can improve your website and drive more sales. We’ll also break down the most important elements of an effective testimonial.
After you implement some of these ideas, or evaluate your current testimonials, I promise you’ll see the best results possible.
What Exactly Does a Testimonial Do for Your Website?
Having customers’ reviews and comments for your prospects to see achieves a few things for you.
- It’s a great sales technique—without sounding “salesy.” You want to gain a sale. That’s obvious. So inevitably, your website will contain some sales material. But people don’t want to be sold. Reading a positive review from an existing customer can only bolster confidence that the purchase about to be made is the right choice!
- Reviews can showcase a multitude of benefits. Your product is, I’m sure, not one-dimensional. Meaning that there isn’t just one benefit. Not every customer appreciates the exact same thing from your product. If they each posted a review about how their lives were changed for the better, you’d be able to appeal to more than one type of customer.
- The right testimonial can create credibility & gain the trust of a prospect. Show your visitors that other people have struggled with a problem and were then able to overcome that struggle by using your product. It works wonders! It helps your visitor see that it isn’t just a gimmick and that your goal is ultimately to help them.
You might be offering a product to improve people’s lives on a day-to-day basis by helping them stay organized. Maybe you’ve created software that makes business accounting procedures easier and more manageable. Whatever it is, there is a sense of comfort that comes from reading someone else’s testimony that the product works.
Can You Post Just Any Testimonial?
No way, José… There are some testimonials that could actually do more harm than good. For example, reviews that are too vague or seem fake can drive your prospects away.
Let’s look at a few examples of not-so-helpful testimonials and determine why they weren’t the best choices.
“I really like your product and the price is great, too! I’ll be purchasing again soon.” –Mark
Which product was Mark talking about? What kind of great price did he get? How did your product help him… Did it fix a problem he was having?
See, while Mark has a nice comment, his feedback provides no real substance or detail; both of which are extremely important for choosing the right review.
“This accounting software is lightning fast and really easy to use! But I can only get it to work on my laptop, not on my desktop or my tablet.” –Julie
Julie’s review isn’t terrible feedback to get; however, this is not the type of review you want to use in order to increase your conversion rate. In this case, you might want to email Julie about the trouble she is having and then look into any technical difficulties the software download might be having.
You should definitely save this one to improve your product and help your customer, but this isn’t ideal to share with your prospects.
Remember, you can pick and choose which testimonial you want to use! Just make sure you aren’t toeing an ethical line by editing or deleting content that a customer sends you to make a review sound better.
With that said, when you receive feedback on a product, carefully review the information and give a good amount of thought to whether or not the testimonial will truly aid your bottom line.
Which Testimonials are Right for Your Website?
While all of the feedback you receive is useful, you shouldn’t use it all. You’ll want to be sure to choose the right reviews for your site. Here is a really simple way to determine which reviews are suitable for your product:
- Ask yourself, What do I want my customers to gain from using my product?
- Now, choose the reviews that best answer that question!
Can You Implement Video Testimony?
Video is a great tool for marketing.
As an example, check out HubSpot. Their goal is to increase inbound traffic while decreasing the output cost. Look at this example from their case studies page:
In this video testimonial, you get a review of HubSpot’s performance for the company as a whole. This is spot on! Let’s break down a few of the specifics that really stand out.
- The results are specific. Included are statistics (seen on the right of the video box) that give you exact measurements of the success that Brightfire had a result of implementing HubSpot’s services.
- The testimony is credible. The blurbs from different employees show that by partnering with HubSpot, Brightfire was affected positively in many different areas of the company. The CEO explains that their revenue increased by 170% in the first two years. The Director of Technology Solutions tells you that his work flow was consolidated, making their marketing efforts more valuable.
HubSpot’s video testimony in this example gives a very clear idea of how their business went from struggling with outbound marketing to thriving when they adapted software and methodologies to go inbound.
Do Text-Only Testimonials Work?
Absolutely! As long as you are careful in your selection, you can convey a powerful message with text-rich reviews. A great example is Resume Edge:
Click the image to see an enlarged version. Here, the company posted reviews from three separate customers who have given their opinions about the services and results they received from Resume Edge.
Let’s look at a few specifics of these individual reviews…
- In Khawla’s review, you can see that Resume Edge has gained a repeat customer!
- There is an element of personality to the writers these customers have worked with. One was described as “compassionate” and another as someone who “listened attentively.”
- Again, credibility is a huge factor. These customers have names and locations—very important to verify that they’re real testimonials, not fabricated reviews.
Let Your Customers Sell Your Product for You
Selling your product is totally up to you. You can list statistics about the success you’ve generated in the past. You can rely on research and the importance of your primary features. But listing information and percentages will only get you so far.
The real key to selling is focusing on the benefits your customer get when they use your product. And for that, your existing customers are a goldmine of information.
This is the biggest benefit to using customer testimonials. You’re allowing real people (not salespeople or copywriters) to share the benefits they’ve gained from using your product. And you’re allowing prospects (who, by the way, are probably looking for those same benefits) to see that real people have used and validated your product.
In response, your prospects might just get the feeling, It’s worked for so many others so I’m sure it will work for me!
Let existing customers do more of your sales and marketing work for you. Show visitor that you have a reliable product, an expanding customer base and that, bottom line, your product will give them the results they want!
Who knows…? Maybe that visitor will be writing your next testimonial!
Do you currently use testimonials on your website? Are they mostly text or video? Is there anything you might consider editing to enhance your sales opportunity? Let me know in the comments below.
Check out other Crazy Egg articles by Ryan Domm-Thomas
Latest posts by Ryan Domm-Thomas (see all)
- Let Customers Do Your Marketing & Other Cool Uses for Testimonials - February 15, 2014
- How to Use Features and Benefits to Gain Higher Conversions - November 23, 2013