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Why Testimonials are Important for Online Marketing

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Helping leads feel comfortable with your brand and gaining their trust is a big part of successfully converting potential new customers. Although there is a plethora of ways to do this, strategically placing testimonials from previous customers is one highly effective way to do this.

Many times, this is all a potential customer needs to get over the buying hump and actually make a purchase. But there are many more reasons why testimonials are important now, and growing in importance in the online marketing realm. Let’s discuss the other advantages of testimonials and how to utilize them in your marketing campaign.

Increases Credibility and Authority

In a world where most industries have countless businesses competing for a piece of the pie, almost anyone can say that they’re an expert in their field. When prospective customers have little information to go on, they don’t really know who is authentic and who is merely a charlatan.

That’s where testimonials come in. By placing a quote from an actual customer who has direct experience with a business, it verifies the claim and lends an aire of credibility. It’s a simple and straightforward way to validate a business and can diminish skepticism substantially. When compared to a competitor without testimonials, this can give your business a sizable advantage.

Explains Specific Benefits

When a potential customer is contemplating whether or not to buy a product or service, they’re wondering how it will solve a problem or benefit them. Many times, they will be swayed to make a purchase by simply seeing the package, or photos of the product or service in action.

Other times, they need a bit more convincing in order to take action. Testimonials are helpful because they provide an opportunity to state specific benefits from others who have experience with the product or service.

If a business sells a product that relieves arthritis, it might include a testimonial from a customer stating “this product eliminated my arthritis within a one week.” This would tell prospective customers about how the product improved their life in a highly specific manner. If they had any questions beforehand pertaining to the details, a testimonial would address them while providing direct proof that the product’s claims are legitimate.

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Offers Unbiased Evidence

It’s only natural that a company will want to portray itself and its products/services in a positive light. As a result, consumers may be wary of a bias, which can lead to apprehension or distrust. One of the best ways to alleviate consumer doubts is to provide tangible evidence from an outside party who is unaffiliated with the company. By incorporating a statement from someone who has nothing to gain, but simply wants to provide their input stemming from a positive experience, it can be a powerful motivator that gets others to buy.

Increases Conversion Rates

When you combine all of these previous advantages, it results in the biggest advantage of all…more conversions. According to Visual Website Optimizer, a case study by WikiJob proved that A/B testing customer testimonials increased their sales by 34 percent. While it’s unlikely that all businesses will experience this high of a sales increase, it shows that testimonials have an undeniable impact on consumers.

Now that we know that advantages of this tactic, here are a three ways to obtain testimonials:

  1. Create a submission form -This is perhaps the easiest way, and can be done by placing a form somewhere on your business’s website. Typically, this will be located underneath the header or on the sidebar so anyone with a positive experience can conveniently offer their feedback.
  2. Send an autoresponder – Every time someone makes a purchase, you can follow up via an autoresponder that asks for their input. This will automatically send consumers an email that gives them the opportunity to explain their experience. Picking a few of the top comments can provide you with some valuable testimonials.
  3. Contact repeat customers – If you notice that a particular customer has bought from your business multiple times, you can send them an email to thank them for their purchases and also ask for a brief testimonial. Obviously, they must have a relatively positive experience if they are a repeat customer, so they can be the perfect person to approach.

Here are some tips for implementing testimonials into your marketing campaign:

Be Compliant with the Law

First, you want to ensure that you’re acting within the law and not doing anything that could be considered unethical. Checking out this post from the U.S. Small Business Administration will provide guidance and keep your testimonials on the up and up. Some things they mention include getting written permission, following truth in advertising guidelines and not misleading consumers. Never, for any reason, create your own testimonials or alter their content. If it doesn’t summarize all of the information you want to convey, it’s best to use another testimonial instead.

Get Plenty of Information

Whenever someone agrees to provide a testimonial, you should extract additional information to go along with it. It’s helpful to get a professional-looking picture of the person who gave the testimonial, as this helps establish its legitimacy.

While a basic text quote is still helpful, including an image is ideal. Also, listing a person’s geographic location and/or company name and position is smart. According to Entrepreneur, “A good testimonial is from someone your audience can relateto. You want your visitors to see that your product helped someone just like them. Make sure your testimonials come from someone with whom your target market can identify.”

Specificity

As mentioned before, it’s important to be specific. Whenever using a testimonial, never be vague or leave any of the consumer’s questions unanswered. If you receive a comment that’s somewhat ambiguous, go ahead and ask the person to clarify so consumers will understand exactly how they will benefit from buying your product or service.

Placement

Once you have obtained a few quality testimonials, it’s important to put them in the right place to get them in front of the maximum amount of consumers. One of the best places to start is the sidebar of your website. Inserting two or three quality testimonials here should help build trust with consumers as they scroll down your site. Since these will be visible from every page on your website, this can boost exposure in a hurry.

Another option involves creating an entire page of testimonials. This can be done by creating a category next to other navigational pages underneath the header of a website. With this strategy, you should place as many as you want so consumers can read through a variety of testimonials from numerous previous customers. If there was any doubt about a product or service, this should reduce or eliminate it.

Also, inserting some top testimonials within a landing page is smart. As visitors read through your sales copy, these will reinforce your claims and present tangible proof that your company is legitimate.

In addition, any relevant spaces within social media profiles can be beneficial. Whether it’s on a Facebook fan page or a Google+ business page, providing followers with some key testimonials should raise interest. This should get more people to visit your primary website and get them to think seriously about making a purchase.

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Jayson DeMers

Jayson DeMers is the Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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