If you’re running a small business, you need all the help you can get to push customers through the door. You could promote quality. You could promote price. But these are all words customers hear all the time.
So what can you do to make your business stand out from the crowd? The answer is: testimonials.
Testimonials are simply positive word of mouth referrals — written down. They are one of the best ways to generate business and don’t cost a cent. So why not make the most of it? If you haven’t got them already, start collecting and put them on your website today!
Social proof: Why testimonials work
When trying to persuade a customer to choose one business over another, effective testimonials always work. The truth is that people are influenced by what other people are doing.
This theory is called ‘Social Proof’, investigated by famous psychologist Robert Cialdini in his book Influence and the Power of Persuasion — people will want to do something if they see someone else do it first. For example, if we hear “This book has sold 3 million copies!” we think it must be good.
Testimonials provide this kind of social proof to other prospective customers. They give you credibility and show that:
- you are reputable
- people have had good experiences using your product or service
- people can trust you
- people can be reassured you will provide them with exactly what they’re looking for.
Promoting good customer feedback is a no-brainer, really. It’s guaranteed to bring in more work amongst your clients and peers. We’ve all been influenced by it before, so you may as well start using testimonials to your advantage.
The good news is if you genuinely have a great business, testimonials are not hard to get. To begin, start collecting positive feedback from former clients. You can do this a couple of different ways:
- The more formal way is to contact them via letter or email. Ask them to write and send you a few sentences, describing what they liked about your business.
- Alternatively, the easiest way of all is to simply ask your customers over the phone or in person. You can then write their comments down yourself.
Make you testimonials work for you
1) Edit and make your testimonial clear
Testimonials need to be sharp and to the point. Avoid diluting the power of your testimonial with waffle. It doesn’t have to be published word for word.
Pick out the best parts of your testimonial and cut it down (without changing the message) to just two or three lines.
To make it stand out even more, you can give your testimonial an appropriate heading.
2) Add a photo of the customer
For some reason, adding a portrait photo next to your testimonial just works. It makes a big difference — it makes your testimonial seem more credible.
When asking a former customer if you can feature them on your site, ask them if they would be happy to send you their professional picture to add as well.
You can also do something similar if your client has any video. Embed a clip next to their testimonial — this creates an interactive user experience where they can see what kind of other customers you’ve worked with before.
3) Format your testimonial so it stands out
Believe it or not, the type of font you use can have a big effect on your testimonials. Depending on your overall web design and style, you may like to use a traditional ‘typewriter’ font to increase credibility (although I know in modern times this makes no sense, but it works).
Alternatively, depending where you put your testimonials, you may want to use a different font to your body copy. This will make sure that the testimonials stand out.
Also, it is important that you put your testimonials in quotation marks. This makes it clear that the statement is a quote, not just promotional copy that you’ve written yourself.
It’s not enough to write down a quote and just add someone’s first name. If you really want to get the most out of your testimonial, add more information.
If you can, add the customer’s full name. You should also add the company that they’re from. Better yet, add their role, especially if they’re a manager or director.
Depending on the type of business you have, you can also add other bits of information such as the suburb that they’re from. Or, for example, if you are promoting a personal training business, you could add the customer’s weight.
The best thing that you can add is their credentials. If someone is an expert, list their qualifications. Remember, the more important the person, the more credible the testimonial! A testimonial from a doctor is more convincing than a testimonial from a ‘nobody’. Unless it’s clearly a paid endorsement, customers understand that their professional reputation is on the line — so what they say must be true!
Once you’ve collected a few testimonials, it’s time to upload them to your website. The most common way to add testimonials is with a ‘testimonials page’ — curious customers can click on this page and see what others are saying about you.
One step better is a ‘clients page’. Ideally, this page should have testimonials and short descriptions. Almost like a folio, it details who you’ve worked for, what you did, and what they thought of your business.
However, the best way to place them is to add them to various pages throughout your site (e.g. your right hand navigational panel). Have a different testimonial on every page, or set them to rotate. This way the customer doesn’t need to search for good responses about your business — they just appear.
For even more effect, you can also add your testimonials to your email signature. This will help your business reinforce your professional positive image every time you contact someone.
No matter what type of business you are running, you will benefit from adding testimonials to your website. Try to follow these tips when adding them to your site for the most effect.
Once you’re done uploading them to your site, remember to keep collecting testimonials for future reference. When you know you’ve done an awesome job for someone, make sure you ask them for their feedback. You should continue to upload new testimonials to your website as often as you can.
View Digital Pacifics testimonials page.