Whether you’re in eCommerce or industrial manufacturing, establishing credibility is essential to your content marketing
There is a limited amount of brands that don’t need to build credibility anymore because they are, well, huge. I’m talking about Nike, Apple, Target, etc.
People know those companies are legitimate already, so they can speak for themselves.
But those of us who aren’t running those companies need to do everything we can to establish and maintain credibility.
One of the ways in which you can increase your brand credibility is by strategically using and placing your customer testimonials on your website. Incorporating great testimonials from real customers signals to your users that you are a trustworthy brand. Bonus points if you score a vote of confidence from an influencer.
If you’re already doing so, then you’re on the right track.
But if you aren’t using testimonials or reviews or all, that needs to change ASAP.
Create social proof with customer testimonials
Social proof is the practice of leveraging other people’s need for a consensus.
Put more simply, if someone sees multiple people using a product or service and saying it’s good, that person is more likely to think of your business as credible. Then they’re more likely to trade money for goods and services.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the term “social proof,” you’re familiar with the thing itself. You’re looking for social proof (whether you realize it or not) when you look at product reviews on Amazon, Yelp! reviews of restaurants, TripAdvisor listings for new destinations, or review sites for a plumbers in your area.
You need the reassurance that there are more positive reviews than negative ones, and so do your prospective customers.
Still not fully convinced? Let me throw some stats at you:
- 92% of consumers say they read testimonials and customer reviews when they are deciding to make a purchase. Personally, I think the other 8% are either lying or didn’t understand the question, because, in an eCommerce world, reviews are everything.
- 72% of consumers trust businesses more if they read positive testimonials about those businesses. They show that someone was happy enough with your service or product that they took the time out of their busy day to say something good about it. They didn’t have to do that!
- 88% of consumers trust testimonials just as much as a personal recommendation. If you don’t know someone who has bought the product you’re considering, you end up trusting those testimonials as much as you would your friend or family member.
Let’s take a look at some examples of companies doing testimonials right, why they work, and what you can do to leverage your customer testimonials, so they work in your favor.
1. Share the customer’s credentials
You want to use testimonials to build your own credibility, but you also need to make sure the testimonials look and are credible. Because if they aren’t, they’ll do more harm than good.
Show who the happy customer is and what they do if it’s relevant to your products and services.
Let’s look at an example from Orbit Media:
If you’re unfamiliar with Orbit Media, it focuses on web design and development.
So, check out this customer testimonial example. It’s from a director of marketing. Orbit Media showing off its client’s credentials here is a relevant and smart thing to do.
If a director of marketing is happy with her service, her testimonial can encourage other prospective customers to make a purchase as well — or at least contact the company for a consultation.
This testimonial definitely adds credibility to the brand (which is probably why it’s on its “about” page).
How can you use the same concept on your website?
Let’s say your business sells health and wellness supplements or similar products. Displaying a testimonial from a doctor or other health professional would add credibility to your brand, as opposed to a Karen who gets all her news from Facebook.
For many other industries, a co-founder or business owner is a great title to showcase. Even better if you can get their company name underneath their title.
By all means, get testimonials from other types of customers and clients, but the most relevant ones will be the most valuable.
2. Add a photo of the client
Humans are hardwired to pay attention to pretty pictures. And if that picture has a face in it, we’re more likely to pay attention to it.
Adding a photo of the customer giving the testimonial puts a face to a name and a statement, making it all the more real, credible, and personal. In the Orbit Media example above, it included a photo as well as her credentials.
See the difference between using a photo and not?
See what a difference a photo can make? It’s not just a name and a title telling you how great the service is.
Behind that testimonial is a real person with a face. Adding a photo of the person who wrote the review shows your testimonials weren’t fabricated. And if people really wanted to, they could find out whether the reviewer actually exists and match the photo.
When you use this strategy, make sure the photos look professional. If the images look like they were taken ten years ago on an iPhone 3G, they won’t add credibility to your website. They could do the opposite.
3. Showcase your customer testimonials on your homepage
You have testimonials, but maybe they’re buried on a separate page, or you aren’t displaying them at all! Why hide such a valuable asset?
There’s nothing wrong with creating an entire testimonials page on your website. But you should find the top ones and display them on your homepage.
There are different types of testimonials and online reviews you can use here, including quote testimonials, screenshots of social media posts, and video testimonials. It is flexible enough that it can fit most homepages pretty easily.
Check out this example from Backlinko:
So far Brian Dean is following all of the tips in this blog post. The testimonials have images, they have credentials, and they’re the first thing you see on his website when you scroll down.
He’s providing the social proof his potential clients are looking for before they even go looking for it. He’s leveraging these testimonials to their fullest extent.
Those of you with testimonials are already a step ahead. Find the top two or three and showcase them on your homepage.
4. Turn testimonials into a case study
A quote showcasing a satisfied customer story on your website is good. Great, even!
Taking that quote and turning it into a case study? Fantastic.
Not only will you create relevant content for your website, but you’ll also show just how hard you worked to satisfy your client and how you can help future ones. Plus, visitors will be able to see the process you use for solving problems.
Take a look at this example from Hootsuite:
Hootsuite has about a dozen case studies on this page proving its point that it’s trusted by some of the biggest companies.
The company is presenting huge claims like “WWF got 560,000 mentions to support a campaign launch” and then saying “see how.” It’s a testimonial on steroids.
5. Create a separate landing page for your testimonials
Like I said before, highlight the best ones on your homepage, and then create a separate page just for testimonials.
The sheer volume of positive reviews will add credibility to the feedback. Who would you trust more? A company that has a handful of testimonials, or a company that has dozens?
Name the page something like “Customer Success Stories” if you’re afraid of having a page called “Look at us! We’re great, and all of these people agree.”
On these dedicated pages, you can really get creative. You can add video testimonials, quotes with pictures – you might even want to pull in screenshots of LinkedIn posts and Tweets (while also providing a link to the source).
Don’t forget to include a button for other customers to share their testimonial. Make it easy on them, and you’re more likely to get more reviews.
Booker is doing the testimonial page thing right, so let’s take a look at its shining example:
This is the header on Booker’s testimonial page. It starts out with a video case study that also lists the client’s name, ostensibly her face, and her credentials. It isn’t the same as a text testimonial, because you have to watch a video, but it takes the idea of having a picture next to the testimonial to the next level.
But Booker doesn’t stop there.
The sliding menu of video testimonials shows a snippet of the testimonial, the company and the client’s name, and the client’s face. You don’t necessarily have to watch the video if you just want to read the snippet, but the video is there if you want to learn more.
But, again, Booker didn’t stop there (the company went above and beyond on this testimonial page, honestly):
Not every customer is going to feel comfortable talking on camera. They’re still happy with your product or service, but they’re camera shy, so they would rather write down how much they enjoyed working with your company.
In addition to the video testimonials, Booker has a slider of text testimonials to really drive the point home that people love the service it provides. Booker does something unique here too: a star rating system.
We’re used to seeing star ratings for restaurants and movies, but for companies? Groundbreaking.
But wait! There’s more.
Booker really did the most on this page. The company is just proving all of the tips in this article right!
As mentioned above, turning your testimonials into case studies is a powerful way to show potential clients and customers how hard you’ll work to solve their problems and what kind of positive results can come out of it.
And then for an added punch of social proof, Booker name-drops its awards and its current clients:
With the addition of its awards and accolades, Booker is showing that it’s not just customers who think its product is excellent, objective third-parties think so too.
Listing its current clients is a punch-up from the testimonials, which are from past customers, but showing its current customers shows who is happy enough with the product to use it right now. Or maybe Booker has testimonials from existing customers earlier in the page, and it’s the company’s way of saying, “See? They’re still happy with our product. Why haven’t you called us yet?”
Your separate page for testimonials doesn’t have to contain as much as Booker’s to be effective. It’s just a shining example of what the page could be. If you want the page to just have video testimonials, that’s fine. Want to have the page to be only text testimonials? That’s fine, too (but add a photo of the customer).
The testimonial is the place for you to brag a little bit and for potential customers to double-check that you’re as good as you say you are.
Credibility Is Key
Customer testimonials and reviews on your website add credibility to your brand, but only if you’re displaying them and using them to your advantage.
Don’t hide your successes or assume customers will find them if they’re buried on a different page. Follow some of the tips in this post and see how you can use your testimonials to your advantage.
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