Your business has tons of clients saying loads of great things about you, and we think this is awesome! Yet, some businesses still wonder, are these testimonials important to their online marketing strategy? The answer is a resounding yes!
Testimonials can persuade consumer decisions, strengthen your street cred, and support the inbound marketing strategies you already have in place.
In this post, we address how to use testimonials by learning why they are valuable, and how you can collect, choose, and integrate them to most effectively increase your website conversions.
Consumers Crave Social Proof
By nature, consumers are skeptical creatures, and at the end of the day this only makes it harder for you, and you alone, to convince them that buying your products or services is a good choice. To put it bluntly, they just don’t trust you right off the bat (but it’s nothing personal); they just trust their peers as a first avenue for buying advice—they trust “people like me.” Which means when others buy, they buy.
But this is not simply by happenstance. It is a fundamental disposition of human behavioral evolution—we are more likely to do something when we realize others are already doing it. Referred to as social proof, this psychological synonym for herd behavior is predicated on the principle that what we truly want in life is to reflect the “correct” behavior of others who we believe may “possess more information about the situation.”
So, like the strategy and success of inbound marketing, the psychology and results of social proof mean that people gravitate towards and learn from the informational leaders, experts, and influencers within their circles.
This is why restaurants promote “top picks” in their menus; trendy bars let lines form outside their doors, and sitcoms play canned laugh tracks. By purposefully promoting this information, they entice their target audiences to want to follow along—order this, stand here, laugh now—because everyone else is! So, unsurprisingly, the prospect joins.
Put the Proof Back in Your Website’s Pudding
In today’s digital ecosphere, 70% of consumers look at online reviews before they buy products or services, and this puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of harnessing testimonials as social proof in an effort to speak to your customers’ needs without talking at them.
Specifically, testimonials work to your businesses’ advantage because they demonstrate user social proof, according to TechCrunch.com. To the consumer, hearing an unbiased, independent voice with the same buying objectives and pain points as their own is invaluable. It not only helps you, the owner, establish greater trust, build better credibility, and avoid overly salesy “pitching,” but this informative approach to consumer engagement also inspires these website visitors to waffle less and convert with more authority—and that should be your goal.
“Testimonials provide third party, independent validation… No one wants to hear a company talk about how great they are, there’s not a lot of credibility in self-promotion, so letting your customers tell your story is perceived as more credible.”
But leveraging testimonials to substantiate the performance, quality, or value of your products and services is only as good as the quality and placement of these endorsements. You want to capture your consumers with exactly the right information at exactly the right time.
To help your business collect, choose, and incorporate testimonials in your online marketing strategy and increase conversion rates (especially when it comes to the boom in and competition for e-commerce success), follow these 3 guidelines:
1. Make Collecting Testimonials Easy
As a business owner, you’re busy, so chasing customers and trying to get their feedback is likely a backburner push. This is understandable, but if you have a sustainable system in place to collect this information, you’ll set yourself up for success.
To save some time, consider applying the following strategies:
- Include links and CTAs within your site that allow user feedback to be easily provided
- Set up auto-responders to go out to every customer when they buy from you
- Turn good old-fashioned letters (or emails) into testimonials—there’s a good chance your inbox gets more inadvertent testimonial gold than you think! (Just make sure to get permission)
- Turn your best social media engagements into testimonials—with the volume of fans social media can generate, there’s likely an abundance of testimonial gems waiting to be had! (Just make sure to get permission)
However, collecting your testimonials is only half the battle. You need to know which ones will be worth offering your website real estate to.