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How to Use Testimonials to Engage, Persuade and Convert

How to Use Testimonials to Engage, Persuade and Convert

We depend on testimonials all the time. From Google reviews to casual recommendations from friends and family, we’re more likely to use a service or buy a product if it’s been vouched for by someone else.

In psychology, this is referred to as conformity bias — our desire to fit in with the group. It’s like herd mentality — our tendency to try to behave like those around us. And you can take advantage of this tendency on your website in what’s known as social proof.

Because, sure, you can make endless assertions about your superior services and products — but why would customers take your word for it? Far better back up these claims with evidence from real people. By providing testimonials from previous clients, you can build your credibility and encourage trust.

Customer and client testimonials serve as proof that your products or services are as good as you say they are. They connect emotionally with potential customers. These people aren’t being paid to say nice things about you. So, when customers talk about their experience with your company in their own words, visitors to your site can relate.

In fact, 72% of consumers say that positive testimonials and reviews boost their trust in a business. And 97% of B2B customers cited testimonials and peer recommendations as the most reliable type of content.

They tell a story about the customer’s experience and new visitors can put themselves in this person’s shoes. This is why they’re so persuasive — and an easy and effective way to drive sales.

Testimonials are essential tools when it comes to engaging, persuading, and converting customers. Here’s how to write a winning testimonial, along with our top tips to get great testimonials, and examples of the best testimonials out there.

Best Practices: How to Get a Compelling Testimonial

1.     Decide What Kind of Testimonial You Want

Here are the different types of testimonials you can choose from. Most likely, you’ll want to use a range of different ones on your website:

  • Quote testimonials:
    • These are direct quotations from a satisfied customer and are a simple and effective way to persuade potential buyers. Combine this quote with an image of the buyer and a call-to-action and it’s a powerful tool for converting customers.
  • Peer testimonials:
    • These come from sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp and can be screenshotted or embedded on your website. 92% of customers read online reviews before buying so why not make their lives easier by having the information already to hand?
  • Social media testimonials:
    • This is when customers write about their experience with you on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They are a great way to get testimonials without even having to ask. All you need to do is grab some screenshots or embed the posts and then you’ve got all the proof you need that you’re popular. Make sure to engage with customers when they post to show you’re grateful.
  • Video testimonials:
    • These are like quotes but even more persuasive because they’re so engaging and relatable. Videos connect with people on an emotional level. Hence why 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support.
  • Interviews:
    • You can also conduct interviews with customers and ask them about their experience with your company. Then you can pull quotes to use on your site or write up the interview as a blog post. Long-form testimonials like this are great for customers who want more in-depth information about your product or service. The length of the review can boost the sense of credibility.
  • Influencer testimonials:
    • Also known as ‘authority testimonials’, these involve getting a celebrity or social media influencer to endorse your brand and can help you to boost your authority and sales. 49% of consumers say that they depend on influencer recommendations. The best influencer testimonials come from people who are influential with your target audience. Bear in mind, however, that paid influencers must include disclaimers that clarify that they are being paid to endorse you.

2. Connect with Customers

Start off by reaching out to those long-term and loyal customers who are most likely to want to help. You can either write a draft testimonial for them and they can then edit it, or you can ask them to write a review themselves. If they write it themselves, you should still provide them with specific but open-ended questions about their experience and give them guidelines to help them structure it.

When reaching out, keep it short, friendly, and word the request so that it’s easy for them to refuse. Maybe don’t even use the word testimonial. Simply as ‘how are you finding the service?’ or something similar.

If they say yes, find a way to thank them for their help, whether that’s a discount code, free upgrade, or a handwritten note.

3. Check Previous Exchanges with Customers

You might find expressions of gratitude or positive feedback in emails or comments on social media. Remember to always thank them for these comments. And you’ll need to check with them before you use this content on your website.

4. Gather All the Necessary Information

You want to make your testimonial specific and personal so it’s good to try and get hold of additional information about the customer, especially their name, business title, and company.

If you can get a photo, even better.

5. Write the Testimonial

Or perfect the testimonial that they give you. Try and make it flow like a story. Consider a problem-solution structure whereby the customer discusses the issue they had and then how your service or product solved it.

You can edit the testimonial to eliminate grammatical and spelling errors and paraphrase if necessary. Just run it past the customer before publishing. And it will feel more authentic if it’s not too perfect.

7. Play Around with Design

Testimonials need to be visually engaging so experiment with graphic design and images to make them more compelling. Before-after photos are particularly effective. Or maybe put a quote testimonial on a popup.

5 Tips for Great Customer Testimonials

Looking to make sure you get the best possible testimonials? If so, make sure you follow the five tips below…

  1. Follow up quickly. It’s easier to get testimonials when the product or service is still fresh in the minds of your customers. Send emails soon after purchase and don’t be afraid to follow up if you don’t get an immediate response.
  2. Keep it short. You don’t want to ramble. Orbitmedia recommends 30-50 words in total. But longer testimonials can also be effective in some cases, such as interviews. Consider bolding the most important phrases.
  3. Make it specific. Simply saying that your company is ‘great’ isn’t very useful for other visitors. What specific thing does the customer like about your company? How exactly has your service or product impacted them or improved their lives? It’s even better if the testimonial can overcome any objections that potential customers might have. For example, why is your product worth the price? Why is your service superior to that of competitors?
  4. Prioritise authenticity. Keep superlatives to a minimum. Make it relatable and realistic. It should sound down-to-earth, not like a sales pitch. Use conversational language.
  5. Integrate your testimonials. Don’t put them all on a separate page. This will look too much like you’re trying to sell something. It’s better to position them all over your website so they work their persuasive power more organically. And try to place them next to the specific aspect of your service that the review is praising, such as fast shipping or speedy customer service.

Examples of Powerful Testimonials

1.     Quote Testimonials: Ocado

Ocado’s homepage features images of their five-star rated products followed by quotes from customers. They don’t feature the customer’s name or details but this isn’t necessary. The quote alone is persuasive enough. It sounds relatable and personal while the bolding draws your attention to the key selling point of each product.

Ocado testimonials example

For example, a packet of Ocado Finger Chilies with the quote “Brilliant value. Nice level of spice and they keep for ages.” The price, quality, and shelf-life are all mentioned specifically.

2.     Peer Testimonials: Chilly’s Bottles

The reusable water bottle company Chilly’s has integrated peer testimonials into their homepage in a simple but powerful way. Scrolling down, you come across a rating which you can click on to see comments from real users. The advantage of this method is that you can stay on Chilly’s homepage but still get to see trustworthy third-party reviews of the brand.

Chilly's Testimonials Example

3.     Video Testimonials: Specsavers

Specsavers uses video testimonials to show how they’ve helped customers struggling with hearing loss. The videos are beautifully filmed with honest and authentic interviews with customers.

Hearing Testimonials Specsavers

In between these videos are written testimonials from celebrities including Eamonn Holmes and Jo Whiley. The powerful combination of testimonials from normal people and influential public figures is incredibly persuasive, adding both relatability and authority to the reviews.

4.     Interviews: WeWork

Office-leasing company WeWork took the upheaval caused by COVID-19 as the springboard for their blog series, A New World of Work. In this series of posts, the company interviews professionals who have used WeWork’s All Access programme to get access to different WeWork locations around the world. Each post features a photo of the interviewee and talks about the problem the customer faced followed by how WeWork was able to solve the issue. This long-form style of testimonial tells a story, is relevant, engaging, and convincing.

WeWork Testimonials Example

5.     Influencer testimonials: Alo Yoga

On the Alo Yoga homepage, there’s a section called ‘Alo On Insta: how our fans wear their faves.’ By using Instagram influencers for digital marketing, not only does the brand get extra images for their site but, given the influencer’s credibility, their endorsement also serves to boost the brand’s authority. If they want to, customers can then check these influencers’ Instagram pages to see the posts for themselves.

Alo Yoga Testimonials Example

Testimonials: The Ultimate Thumbs Up

All this goes to show that testimonials really are an indispensable weapon in your marketing arsenal. By getting your customers to do the selling for you, you can drive engagement, encourage conversions, and boost sales.

But there’s a world of difference between an average and an exceptional testimonial. It all comes down to authenticity, relatability, and keeping the content compelling. Whether you opt for simple quotes positioned strategically around your site or invest in a series of video interviews, it’s all about telling the customer’s story. If it’s a great story, then it will suffice to persuade visitors that your company really is as good as it seems.

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