It’s only natural. Your customers want to know what other customers think of their experience with you before buying, booking or signing up. And they’ll go wherever they need to go to find out. Hence the growth of online review sites like Yelp.com. If you sell in the B2B space, you may be faced with providing references, another form of testimonial.
Making customer testimonials available on your own web properties is a great way to keep shoppers and prospects on your site while you provide credible feedback from others.
I was recently asked by owners of a web site promoting cabin rentals in Georgia how they could best integrate the testimonials they had collected, either in their web site or blog. The tips we provided can apply across a range of industries, so see the takeaway points of our discussion below:
- It's much more credible to leave a testimonial in the person's originally submitted text. When a company polishes the text, the reader can see that and will put less faith in what it says. It's much more believable when left complete with typos, ramblings, and other natural expressions. (That is, unless it’s really difficult to understand or contains profanity, for example. In that case, it can definitely benefit from some cleaning up.)
- Include the person’s full real name and other relevant data, such as their company and job position, or location and age. The idea is to make the comment as meaningful and credible as possible to those who will be reading it, which extends to making it transparent who said it.
- To use testimonials in a meaningful way, you can post small snippets where they will support your company's message. For example, if you have a paragraph that talks about all the fun kids have while staying at your rental cabins, put a testimonial supporting that fact somewhere nearby. When six-year-old James says, "I love the beds. I love the games. I love the fire pit. I love the movies," it gives a lot more credibility since an actual kid reports that it IS indeed fun.
- You could keep a page that shows the full-length versions and also use bits here and there throughout your site to support certain points. After each testimonial, include a link that says "see what others are saying here" so people can access that full page of comments.
- To draw attention to the main point you want people to take away from a testimonial, bold that part of the sentence, especially on the long versions and on a page that's full of testimonials. Since people scan text online, even if they don't read the full testimonial they will see what you want them to. See how it helps on this online business incorporation service site.
- You could potentially use testimonials in your blog, too, but you have to be creative to create context. You could set up a separate category called "Customer stories", for example, then introduce each testimonial in a separate post with a brief intro that would surely be interesting to someone checking out your services.
Here’s what the post could look like:
Just got another note from a couple who took advantage of nearly all the Fighting Town Creek area has to offer, from golf to canoeing to delectable apple pastries. Seems J.B. even found how cold the river is in December - the hard way! See what this couple thought of their stay with us below…
Just a note to share how enjoyable it was for us staying at River Lodge (which is part of the Rainbow cabins). What a fantastic area to get close to nature, God and all the wildlife there. This beautiful cabin in the woodsy atmosphere on Fighting town creek was the perfect place to read, relax, or just enjoy family and friends. We saw several deer, racoons and wanted to see a bear but missed out. The hot tub was very relaxing and everybody must try it in December when there is snow on the ground. Loved all the Video games and became quite proficient at the golf game. Speaking of golf, Butternut Golf course in Blairsville offers a challenge to those who love the game. For the more adventuresome type, try canoeing down fighting town creek but I must warn you that the water is very cold. I found out the hard way.
If you enjoy apples, fried apple pies and apple fritters like I do then you must visit Mercier Apple house just down the road. Yummy. We are looking forward to our next stay at the Riverlodge, maybe when the fall color is at its peak.
J.B. Smith & Judy Smith
- Continue to encourage more testimonials at every customer interaction. If someone says something nice about you, ask right then and there if you could use their words as a testimonial. See if you have any reviews on Yelp.com or other online review sites, and if you do, also copy those.
- Also encourage people to submit photos! This gives a lot more credibility, since the visual depiction is from a real customer, not the company. You can show the photos next to the testimonial. If they don't have photos showing their experience with your product or company, ask for a regular photo to put next to their note. If you're posting it in your blog, too, you can promise to send them a link once it's live, so they can show their families. What a great way to spread the impact of a few nice words someone says about you. Don’t forget to also ask them if they'd like to get future news from you, too, so you can add them to your mailing list.
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