Guest post by Natasha Lane.
The value of customer testimonials is well-researched and documented, which is why every business should solicit and promote them. However, the days of just slapping three one-sentence testimonials on your homepage are long gone.
1. Be Proactive
It all starts with getting actual testimonials for your products or services. Unless you find a good way to source testimonials, you’ll have difficulties with other tips you’ll find in this article. For high-end products, the sales rep or primary point of contact for customers will need to reach out directly to their clients.
For relatively low-priced products, the easiest way to get testimonials/reviews is to have a form (or a pop-up) of some kind, asking customers to review your brand on your site (we’ll get to the best plugins later). But you should get more proactive than that. The good news is that there is no shortage of options here.
For instance, you can check out what people say about your brand and your products/services on social media. There are a number of social media listening tools to choose from, and you can always search your DMs and conversations on social. You can also be proactive and ask for reviews/testimonials on social media; Facebook is great for this.
Many brands also find snippets that can be used as testimonials in their customer support communication. Perhaps you can even have your support people ask the customer about their opinions after solving an issue (always a good time to ask).
You can also use your email list to ask for testimonials. You can create a survey where you will add a field for a short testimonial, or you can go more direct and send personalized emails, openly asking them for a favor. This tactic is especially effective for smaller companies.
Giveaways are a great way to persuade people to take time out of their busy lives to write up a review/testimonial for you. You can give out free products or discounts in exchange for brief write-ups. Just make sure everything is clear and upfront about this kind of setup.
The important thing is that you do this actively and don’t just rely on the good nature of your visitors.
2. Go a Step Further with Video
While written testimonials are still the norm, consider going a step further and producing video testimonials. This article outlines some very interesting statistics about video and the effect of video testimonials, video testimonials may simply feel like a natural next step. They’re more direct and immediate, more trustworthy, and more difficult to ignore.
They’re also challenging to get right. One reason is that while phone camera videos might work for some brands, for others, they will be too informal and the low production values may hurt the brand. On the other hand, slick over-produced video may ruin the persuasiveness and authenticity of the testimonial.
Also, it can be difficult to strike the balance between making them spontaneous and overprepared. You don’t want the testimonials to sound like carefully-rehearsed speeches, but you also don’t want them to give off that “caught in the headlights” vibe.
You also need to make sure that the sound is impeccable. While people will certainly tolerate less-than-8k video, they need to hear the words clearly and without strange noises, echo, or any other audio issues.
If done right, however, video testimonials can be a powerful tool, and you can see a great example of this on Bay Alarm Medical’s site.
They feature video testimonials on their homepage, showing real users answering scripted questions but obviously not rehearsed.
The target audience gets to see people just like them talking about the product. It’s much more powerful than just having a few sentences from these users.
Another example is ChowNow, whose testimonial page features some extremely professional videos of their customers speaking about how they helped their restaurants. They obviously sent an entire crew to locations to get such fantastic videos – an investment, but it probably works for them.
3. Different Testimonials for Different Pages
One of the most common mistakes brands make with their testimonials is that they only feature them on one or two pages on their WordPress website (usually the homepage and/or the About us page). And they often re-use the same two or three testimonials.
It’s far more effective to build a strategy around which testimonials will be served to your visitors at different stages of their customer journey.
In most cases, you’ll use several more general but strong testimonials on your homepage that highlight the trustworthiness and professionalism of your company/brand.
Some websites also devote an entire page for testimonials, to more easily add video testimonials and long-form textual ones. This is the perfect place to add a form inviting customers to provide their own testimonials.
ShowMojo provides a great example here. They have a dedicated page where they showcase both written and video testimonials, but they don’t overlook the importance of testimonials on the homepage as well.
The homepage features testimonial snippets in a carousel, which adds another level of credibility and visual interest. Plus, this simple feature also helps the company ensure visitors who don’t visit the Testimonials page still get to see what satisfied clients have said about them.
Furthermore, you should add testimonials to your “money pages,” like product and landing pages. A great practice is to survey your existing customers and ask them about the main motivators for taking actions on these pages, and then reinforce them with testimonials addressing those motivators.
You can go even further and add testimonials elsewhere on your website. Many brands have started adding testimonials to About us and even contact pages, further inspiring trust and communication.
This is why tip #1 is so important; if you don’t source enough different testimonials, it will be difficult to create such a comprehensive strategy for your WordPress website.
4. Feel Free to Experiment
When presenting the testimonials on your WordPress website, there’s no law saying that you can’t do something special with them. If you have a creative idea, why not put it into practice? Test different approaches and measure how they affect your visitors’ reactions and behavior.
The Tea Story, a luxury tea webshop, features customer testimonials prominently on their homepage and makes them look like part of tea boxes themselves. It’s a simple idea, but extremely effective.
You can also play with the context and the copy itself – for example, the folks at Zoma are almost brutally honest about why they are featuring their testimonials. It shows their belief in their product, which is reinforced by a seemingly endless carousel of positive testimonials.
“Need help deciding? We’ve got references.”
5. Use Plugins
The best thing about featuring testimonials on your WordPress website is that there’s no shortage of plugins that will help you streamline this process and focus on finding the tactics that bring you the most value.
Some of them have more features than others (make sure they support video testimonials if you plan on using them), and you might find out that you will want to go premium for the best features. But it definitely makes sense to spend some time to find the one that works best for you.
The right plugins just make life so much easier.
Adding customer testimonials to your website is about more than just checking a box by having three generic blurbs about your products/services. They play an essential role in convincing people to choose your brand and your offerings over alternatives.
You need to develop a strategy, to put some effort into the production, and to not be afraid of getting creative.
Natasha Lane is a lady of a keyboard and one hell of a geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about branding, digital marketing trends, and business growth strategies. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter feed.