Testimonials can really give your web site a boost IF they are done the right way. If they aren’t, you could wind up driving traffic away in droves.
Testimonials Must Be Believable
Remember, the key thing about testimonials is the fact they MUST be credible. Translation – don’t fake sincerity because people will know it’s fake.
We’ve all seen websites with testimonials that seemed too good to be true, had lots of sales trigger words, and were really completely unbelievable. No two ways about it, they came across as phony. Bad move for you and your website. If all your testimonials say things like “this is the greatest product ever” that’s not very believable.
Go ahead and ask your clients, customers, and other people who have dealt with you for a testimonial. Ask them to give feedback to you and then include the best comments on your website.
You can also send review copies of your product to people you trust and ask them for an honest testimonial. I prefer to say something like “If you like this product, would you mind writing a testimonial for it, and if you don’t like it, please tell me why so I can improve it?”
Don’t Fake Your Testimonials!
Don’t write your own testimonials, or have someone else do them for you. What do they know about your product/service other than what you tell them? They haven’t experienced your product/service so how valid do you think testimonials written by a hired writer will be?
You have likely seen web site testimonials from so called “satisfied customers” who only have initials. If they really were all that satisfied with the product, why don’t they stand up and say so? And then there are the sites that say blah blah blah is tremendous, signed Business Woman or Expert. Expert in what?
Each testimonial you use should have your customer’s full name and location. If they’re speaking on your behalf (behalf of your company) then include your company name. If they have any relevant professional titles or certifications, use them. This means their comments carry more authority. And if they have a web site, include it. This will show your testimonial is legitimate.
If you have the chance to use pictures with your testimonials, do so. Use a picture of the actual person who sent in the testimonial, not a stock photo. In other words a photo that isn’t totally perfect will be believable, while one that is highly professional may not be. Such are the whims of the Internet viewing public. Also, ask your customers for permission to use their comments on your site just to make sure it’s OK with them.
If someone posts a review or nice comment about you or your product on a forum or another website, take a screenshot of it and use it as a testimonial rather than typing their words on your site.
Doesn’t that look way more credible that if had just retyped the person’s words here? The latter would be harder to fake.
Even better than a testimonial with a photo is a video or audio one. When someone sends in a text version, ask if they would do you a favor and shoot a quick video with the same comments. Not all will say yes, so just use their text comments instead.
If someone posts a nice comment about your product on a forum or other website, take a screenshot of it and use that as the testimonial instead of typing the text on your site. That looks way more credible, because it’s harder to fake those. Here’s an example: