Today, more and more of us are researching online before we make a purchase and when it comes to making the right decision, there’s nothing better than an inside tip. So it’s not surprising that BrightLocal found nearly 8 out of 10 customers would trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. In this article, we’ll show you how to use customer testimonials to grow your own business. We’ll cover:
- Why client testimonials are key to growing your business
- How to get rave reviews from your customers
- How to use customer testimonials on your website
Why use customer testimonials for your business?
Happy customers are key to growing and sustaining any business. And even in today’s digital world, “word-of-mouth” recommendations are as powerful as ever. Here are a few ways testimonials can improve your SEO and help you convert new customers:
- Build trust fast. As a consumer, it’s reassuring to hear about a product from someone who’s tried it already—especially if this person is someone you can relate to, who’s facing the same struggles.
- Provide social proof. Social proof is unbiased evidence that backs up your claims but doesn’t come from your company. For example, “This product solved X problem for me. I find it’s better than the rest because…” is more convincing than, “Our product solves X problem.”
- Show you’re an expert. Are you more likely to trust someone who tells you they’re an expert, or a professional your friends all rave about? Testimonials that highlight your credentials will show you’re a reliable expert without boring your visitors.
- Increase your conversion rate. Some website visitors will be ready to buy but many will still be deciding if you’re right for them. A strategically-placed testimonial can give fence-sitters the nudge they need to become customers.
- Boost your SEO. Got good reviews on Facebook, Amazon or Google? These will help boost your SEO so more customers find you online. Just remember to link to your website in your profile!
7 tips to get rave reviews from your customers
Positive reviews can benefit your business in all kinds of ways. Here are our tips on how to get testimonials from your customers.
1. Ask on delivery
This is when customers are at their most enthusiastic. Catch your customers on this high and you’ll be able to scoop up comments like, “Wow, this is even better than I expected!” and “We’re delighted with these results!”
If you’re a freelance designer, you can add a line like this when you send clients their final draft:
“Thanks again for choosing to work with me on your rebrand. I hope you’ll be delighted with the results! I’d love to hear what it’s been like working with me and if there’s anything I could improve. Your feedback helps me find more awesome clients like you and, of course, make my service even better.”
2. Always get written permission
Before using a testimonial on your website with a person’s name or credentials, you need the customer’s consent. If you’re not sure what permissions you need, check with a legal professional in your area.
3. Make an impact with a photo or logo
As we’ve seen, customers trust real people. Including a headshot with your client testimonials will increase their credibility and make it easier to build that trust. If you deal with other businesses rather than individuals, you can ask to use their company logo, to show they’re legit and so are you.
4. Offer customers something in return
Giving customers an incentive to leave a review (positive or negative!) is a great way to increase your success rate and build a better rapport with them. For example, offering a discount off their next booking or purchase. Not every review will be a glowing one, but all feedback is valuable and will show you what you need to work on.
5. Take the pressure off
Always invite your customers to suggest what you could improve, as well as what they love about you. That way, you’ll show that you value their opinion and be more likely to get honest—and more powerful—feedback. Plus, it’s a great way to learn how you can improve and make more customers happy!
6. Make the process as easy as possible
You can keep things really simple by emailing your customers with a link to where they can leave a review. Or, comb through your existing emails and look for nice things customers have said about you, then ask permission to use their comments so they don’t have to write anything new.
7. Don’t forget about Google, Facebook, and other online platforms!
Client testimonials on your website are great, but these days, customers expect to find answers on whatever platform they’re using. Plus, being visible in different networks is a great way to grow your audience.
For example, when a local customer searches for a business like yours on Google they’ll see your Google business listing along with star-ratings and comments from previous customers. The better your rating, the more likely you are to top the search results and get clicks. Ideally, you want to be present where your target audience hang out—whether that’s Facebook, Foursquare, Bing, Yelp, etc. If this sounds like a lot of work, you can use Business Listings in your Jimdo Dashboard to sync your info across 13 online platforms at once.
Tip: Whatever way you choose to ask for a testimonial, it’s a good idea to include specific prompts that will spark a more detailed response. Like:
- What were you struggling with before you bought this? How has that changed?
- What’s your favorite feature and why?
- Would you recommend us? If so, why?
How to use testimonials on your website
1. Add reviews to your pricing page, product pages, landing pages and home page
Testimonials belong anywhere your visitors might be thinking about buying from you, where you have the chance to convert them into customers. Try adding product testimonials to your descriptions to boost sales.
Tip: Try to match testimonials with the problem your customer faces on that page. Losing a lot of visitors on your pricing page? Pick a testimonial that backs-up your value. For example, “At first we thought this printer was expensive, but it’s saved us so much on ink that our profits have increased by 15%!” A carefully-placed testimonial can give potential customers the nudge they need to call, buy or click.
2. Choose detailed testimonials
Ones that reference specific results, benefits of your product, and pain points your audience can relate to. Reviews that explain why a customer values your product will help convince others to buy. Here’s an example:
“I love my job—but I hate doing paperwork! This product has cut my admin time by 50% so I’ve been able to take on more clients and boost my earnings while working less. I’m back to spending weekends with my family and not at my desk!”
3. Remember to include a photo
Along with your customer’s name to give their review credibility. You can also add further details like their job title and what company or city they’re from, if it’s relevant. If they run their own business, offering to link back to their website is always a nice gesture, too.
4. Repeat. Reuse. Repurpose.
Got glowing reference? Share it with the world! Here’s one of my favorite tips for freelancers and small business owners: add a testimonial to your proposals or prospecting emails to give them extra weight, so you can build trust more quickly. Positive testimonials also make good fodder for your social media channels and even print advertising—anywhere you want to convert customers.
Bonus tip: Use competitor reviews to make your own service better
No matter how tough your competition is, there’s always room for improvement. Reading online reviews is a great way to learn from your competitors so you can gain the competitive edge.
Try searching for similar products or services to yours on Google, eBay, and Amazon. Check which are most popular, then read the reviews section. Customers are most likely to be brutally honest when leaving a review, so you can look for things like, “These boots look good but my feet were soaked on the first wear!” or “These cleaners were cheap but they showed up late and left a ton of dust on my mirrors.” Aha! Now you know your customers want a reliable cleaning service that pay attention to detail—so you can emphasise these points on your website to boost conversions.
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever had from a customer? I’d love to hear about your successes! Share your story in the comments. You might also like my post on how to turn happy customers into ambassadors for your brand.