Businesses often devote a good deal of time and attention to structuring their sales processes, grooming and training salespeople, buying leads and other efforts that ensure their sales departments are in tip-top shape. But even though prospects can convert into customers after some time spent with a salesperson, or as a result of traveling down a well-crafted funnel, there’s an element of third-party validation that can dramatically influence sales but is often missed. What is this important piece of the puzzle? It’s the almighty customer testimonial. While a testimonial might seem like a nice touch you can add to your website with no particular form or function, it actually should be approached with careful strategy. Here are three ways that the deliberate application of testimonials to your website can mean big business rewards.
Build Immediate Trust
Trust is a big consideration when an individual is deciding whether to purchase a product or service for the first time. When someone hasn’t had a personal experience with a company yet, all he can base his decision off of is either the company’s word (which is clearly self-serving) or a customer. What better way to show potential buyers that you’re reliable and trustworthy than to have current and past customers as your mouthpiece? Not only will communicating positive interactions with your brand be a testament to the efficacy of what you’re selling, but the explicit endorsement of your company as a whole gives prospects the thumbs up that you’re worth a try.
One company that harnesses the power of testimonials to build trust is a website development business based in Colorado called TimeForCake. Anyone interested in its services can check out its clearly marked testimonials section, and see what customers have said about the value of its offerings. The company also takes it a step further and breaks out testimonials by industry so that a real estate agent who is wary about engaging with a web-development partner, for instance, can have an instant way to see why others in the field recommend this provider. Within minutes, an extra layer of trust can be established.
Give Prospects a Chance to Self-Identify
When set up properly, testimonials offer visitors to your website the opportunity to place themselves into one of your buckets of ideal buyers. For instance, LifeLock, known for identity protection services, structures its website so self-identifying is easy for anyone skimming the site. In lieu of generalized comments about the company’s identity theft protection services, the testimonials on display are very specific. The number of years the customer has been a member of Lifelock is prominently showcased, and prospects can relate to the detailed stories being told. For example, a college student may not think he needs identity theft protection because he only has one debit card, but if he reads the testimonial about a woman who had false checks made in her name simply by obtaining a copy of her driver’s license, he may think again and become a member.
Offer Unfiltered Insight
Everyone knows that the words on a website have been carefully strung together in order to paint your company in its best possible light. So even the most glowing (and accurate) descriptions of your products are going to be taken with a grain of salt. Customers don’t want a bunch of information written by your PR team; they want the truth about what you’re selling them. Definitely try incorporating images and testimonials of other satisfied customers (since those have been shown to help conversions), but also think about adding in non-traditional forms of testimonials. For instance, Burt’s Bees allows customers to review its products directly on the site as others are shopping. This type of uncensored feedback (pending that it’s positive, of course) serves as a testimonial all its own. It also shows that someone loved your product enough to take the time to give it a favorable review, which further speaks volumes.
So when you’re wanting to up the ante with conversions through your website, don’t forget about the time-tested power of testimonials. Through building trust, letting prospects self-identify and going outside the box by enabling candid opinions, you’ll show your potential buyers that they have everything to gain by giving your brand a chance. And who knows, maybe your newest conversion will be writing her own testimonial someday very soon.