Testimonials are an essential marketing component of any sales page. Naturally, some of your viewers are going to read your testimonials with an eye towards scepticism, but client testimonials are still one of the best ways to back up the claims you make about your products or services.
In this guide, we’re going to provide all the answers on why your website needs testimonials, where they work best, how to write them, how to get them, and why testimonials are still one of the most powerful marketing mediums you can use.
Simply put, testimonials consistently improve conversion rates through a psychological phenomenon known as the bandwagon effect, which refers to the concept that people will quite happily go along with something, but only when they see other people doing it as well.
Politicians are skilled practitioners of the bandwagon effect, but it can also be used to good effect in your marketing efforts through a few well-placed testimonials.
When you have others vouching for your service, it becomes a form of social proof and adds credibility to your claims. Powerful testimonials can inspire a visitor to become a paying customer or convince a client that working with you is the best thing for them.
Unfortunately, most of the spontaneous testimonials you receive aren’t going to be all that inspiring and may even lack credibility. Take these testimonial examples as proof:
The above testimonials come from a good place they don’t do much to help you sell your service. They are also so sweet many of your visitors are going to have trouble believing them.
Some clients will hand over a testimonial without any prompting from you – but as shown above, they may not be the best fit for your website. If you want to create the biggest impact with your testimonials, then you are going to have to ask your customers or clients to hand them over with a politely worded request.
There’s a certain amount of finesse you need to apply to your request to ensure you can populate your landing page with testimonials that will enhance your sales copy, boost your credibility, and back up all the claims you make. Here is a couple of customer testimonial sample requests you can use as a basis:
Hello [Name of Client],
I wanted to reach out to you to thank you for being such a great client. Working with you on your latest project was fun and inspirational, and may I congratulate you on reaching your goal.
We love sharing our client’s success stories using our [Product\Service] on our website and were wondering if you wouldn’t mind featuring in our testimonials section.
If you are happy with this, then we would like to send you a sentence or two to edit and approve and send back to us. Feel free to send us a sentence or two in your own words if that is what you prefer.
If you are at all uncomfortable with this process then no hard feelings, we’re just glad to have you onboard.
Hello [Name of Client],
Thank you so much for choosing to use our [Product/Service], we hope you are enjoying using it.
Now that you’ve had a chance to become familiar with the product we were wondering if you would like to let others know how much value it has brought in to your [life/business] with an entry on our testimonial page.
If you are happy to provide us with a testimonial let us know and we’ll send you a couple of short sentences you can edit as you see fit. However, if you aren’t comfortable doing this, then feel free to send us whatever feedback you deem appropriate.
Thanks again you for being a valued customer.
Please note that fake testimonials are not just misleading, they are also illegal and could provoke legal action. However, writing a draft for your client to edit and approve is a legitimate way to get a genuine testimonial, while also having it worded in such a way as to make it more suitable for your website.
The examples above are short and to the point, while also giving the client an easy out if they feel uncomfortable with you wording the testimonial for them. If they respond in the affirmative, don’t forget to send a very genuine thank you in response.
Testimonials should be short and to the point – If testimonials get too wordy, your visitors are probably going to skim over them. Thirty to fifty words is a good ballpark figure to keep in mind when creating your testimonials.
Sometimes you might receive an excellent testimony, but it’s just a little too wordy. Rather than discard it altogether, you can guide the reader’s eye to the most important words with a bit of skilful highlighting. Here is a wordy customer testimonial sample to show you what we mean.
I’m just writing in to let you know how delighted we are with our new website. It’s such a relief to know that we can now manage the website on our own and keep our blog updated with new content.
All the staff at [client company name] find the new interface not just fast but also super easy to use. Now that we don’t have to spend so many hours every day struggling with a clunky interface we can get a lot more done. Thanks heaps for all the updates, we really appreciate it!
It’s long, but it will be convincing if you handle it on the page in a way that highlights the pertinent points.
Testimonials should be authentic – When people land on a sales page they have no delusions about what they are seeing is anything but the result of a finely tuned marketing effort. Seriously though, how could it be any other way?
However, when it’s your customers doing the talking you can be a little more straightforward and authentic with the language and wording.
Check out the following customer testimonial sample to get an idea of the concept:
Ever since [Your company name] updated my website I am in awe. Everything is so simple and streamlined now I can hardly believe it. You guys are freaking awesome, legendary even! Thanks!
The above type of wording would be almost cringe-worthy if it made its way into your sales copy, but it’s perfectly fine when it’s coming from an outside source such as an extremely happy customer.
Testimonials need to be direct and to the point – Readers should be able to understand almost instantly what a testimony is trying to communicate. You can achieve directness by wording it in a way that puts the most powerful statements at the beginning of the testimony.
It’s all so easy now! I can’t believe how much faster my site loads, and it’s now so much faster to update the content; copy, paste, update, done! Thanks for making my life so much simpler!
A random, anonymous testimonial isn’t going to be very convincing. Include as much information about the client as possible (providing you have their permission of course) to give it some validity. Seeing just initials on every testimony is off-putting, and interested prospects will soon become disinterested.
Images also add a lot of credence to testimony, with faces making the most powerful statement as to its authenticity. According to a Basecamp A/B split test, a happy smiling customer’s face pushed the conversion rate to over 100%. A company logo may be even more powerful than a cheerful face as proof of authenticity so use them wherever possible.
If you are struggling to get permission to add an identity to the logo, you can sweeten the pot by suggesting a link back to the client’s website. Sometimes, you may have no choice but to anonymise the testimony with initials, while including an industry or job title to lend it some weight.
Now that you have a few compelling testimonies in your inbox, you need to find a good place to put them. Many businesses will have a dedicated page for testimonials, but we don’t think this is the best strategy – mainly because your visitors will rarely make an effort to visit the page.
Testimonies aren’t just about promoting your business; they are also a powerful tool you can use to back up your claims – which means they can be used effectively over your entire site wherever appropriate. If the testimony is about a product, then it will do the most good and be more relevant when you display it on the product page.
Another strategy you can use is to analyse your web pages to find the ones which receive the most traffic, and then add the testimonies to those high-traffic pages.
Most of the time this will mean testimonies will do the most good on your homepage, but not always. Perhaps your About Us page gets the most activity, in which case you should scatter a few testimonies throughout the text. Where ever your customers go on your website, that’s where your testimonies should be as well.
Keywords are an important component of good SEO practices, so there is no reason why your testimonies can’t take advantage of that fact.
Craft some testimonies around a few of your most popular keywords and use them on the pages targeting those keywords. You will not only be backing up the claims you make on that page but will also be improving its ranking ability with the search engines.
You can use a testimonial template as inspiration for creating powerful testimonies for your pages. When deciding on an appropriate testimony ask yourself the following questions:
* What problem did your product or service solve?
* Why did they choose your business?
* What makes your product or service unique?
* How likely are they to recommend the business to a friend or colleague?
* What did they like about our approach?
* How would they summarise their experience with our company?
When you have the answers use the following testimonial template starters to come up with a great testimony:
[company name] helped me so much by …
I went to [company name] because …
I really liked [company name] because …
The experience we had when using [company name] …
[company name] comes highly recommended because …