According to Big Commerce, having customer testimonials on your website can generate 62% more revenue.**

And according to online researcher, MOZ, “…90% of first-time consumers read online reviews before visiting a business…and online reviews impact 67.7% of the total purchasing decisions. Moz also found that 84% of people tend to trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations.” ++

INSPIRE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE

By displaying or linking to client/customer testimonials and reviews, you can inspire trust and confidence to those people are considering hiring you.  They get to learn first-hand about the experiences of clients and customers that have come before them.  Testimonials are a third-party endorsement (or condemnation) of a business by someone who has stood in the shoes of the prospect and is willing to share their experience.

Testimonials give prospective customers a closer look at your business, to help them decide whether it’s right for them. 

Think about your own behavior when you research a company.

Predominantly positive reviews with a couple of raging bad reviews and gushingly high reviews cancel each other out leaving you with all the “average” reviews in the middle.  This usually leaves you with the confidence to either move forward or move along to someone else.

TYPES OF TESTIMONIALS

Testimonials can take several popular forms that include:

  • Social media reviews like Yelp:  Popular for restaurants and business to consumer companies.
  • Google Reviews:  Very valuable for your search engine results
  • Houzz Reviews:  Very popular with home-related businesses like architects, kitchen and bathroom renovators, interior designers, etc
  • LinkedIn Testimonials:  Useful for bolstering your reputation online to your peers.  Mostly useful for business to business companies.

VIDEO TESTIMONIALS

Video testimonials can be very effective but are probably the hardest to produce and create.  They can also be expensive to shoot and edit since you usually need to show up on site with a camera that may also include lights and sound.

Thankfully, technology has now evolved to allow remote video shoots like this example we shot for one of our client, Sterile Space:

Testimonial videos shot remotely may not win any awards for production values but what they do project is authenticity!  No, they are not super slick and produced.  Yes, they are done in such a way that people who routinely shoot videos on their smartphones will immediately recognize and appreciate for their realness and downhome quality.  These are real people giving real testimony to their experiences dealing with a specific company where you can feel the sincerity and genuine appreciation for a job well done.  And as a business owner you are stacking the deck in your own favor by proactively reaching out to satisfied clients and customers and getting them to channel that appreciation in a meaningful way.

THE RISK AND REWARD OF SOCIAL MEDIA REVIEWS

Is there risk in subjecting your business to the whims of fickle and hard-to-please customers?  Are there dangers in getting bad reviews from ex-employees who have an axe to grind or unscrupulous competitors?  Yes and no.  Whether you proactively request or gather together positive reviews, people are going to post feedback about you on social media whether it’s your account, their account or a public forum.  This is the world in which we live in today.  So it’s better to at least see what people are posting, good and bad, so you are aware of issues that you might not otherwise be aware of.

DEALING WITH NEGATIVE REVIEWS

Unfair negative reviews are very frustrating.  But the best way to handle them is to post a non-emotional response that either addresses the issue directly or, at the very least, acknowledges it so that people reading the reviews will see that you are at least responsive.  A short apology and a vow to do better or invite further discussion is the best approach.  But also be wary of offering a refund or future discount publicly as there are people who use negative reviews as a form of extortion to shame the business into giving refunds.  If a refund is genuinely called for, contact the person offline by chat, text or email so you do not post the refund offer publicly and make yourself an easy mark for future refunds from unscrupulous complainers.

People are more adept at parsing reviews these days and can easily discern the one or two raging negative or 1-2 star reviews among the rest of the 4-5 star glowing reviews as those of people who just like to complain or are being unfair.

BOTTOM LINE

Asking for testimonials from satisfied clients is the most effective and cost-effective way to supplement your own marketing efforts.

Testimonials on Google improve your SEO by increasing your click-through rates (a major ranking factor).  The reason:  all things being equal, if your website shows up along with your competitors in a Google search and you have twenty 5-star reviews and your competitor has 5, you will probably attract more clicks.

Video testimonials are very effective not only because of the third-party endorsement but because watching a 1-minute testimonial video on your website also increases your SEO since “time spent on site” is also a top ranking factor.

Not only are testimonials free to do, other than the time it takes to reach out and get it, but testimonials are one of the most impactful and meaningful things you can do to help people make a BUYING DECISION…from YOU!

 

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