When I meet businesses for a consultation I'm always happy to answer questions that they have about their website. One of the most common questions people ask me is, "do testimonials actually work"? Looking at the question behind the question it is obvious that testimonials are not working for them. Fortunately testimonials do work but only if they are done properly.

Why Most Testimonials Don't Work

They reason why most testimonials are ineffective is because the company decided to take an email they received from a client and publish it on their website under a page called testimonials. Most businesses do this because it's easy and they are under the impression that testimonials are important. These testimonials have very little impact for two reasons.

  1. We assume you have a couple of good customers that say your a good company so showing one generic testimonial does nothing.
  2. The testimonial doesn't provide me with any tangible information that enhances or builds trust.

Focus on Relationship & Trust Building

Great testimonials have certain features that separates them from mediocre ones. They don't just talk about the company and how great you are but deal with a specific problem or issue. By giving details on the problem or perceived problem the customer shares their story in a way that connects with others. When a potential customer has that same concern with working with you and then reads the testimonial it helps address their fear and builds trust in your company.

Bad Testimonial:

"Orange Digital Marketing provides a great service that really helped me out. Thanks!"

Good Testimonial:

"In the past I had been burned by web developers who never responded and took 3 weeks for simple updates. When I started using Orange Digital Marketing I was pleasantly surprised. Not only do updates get completed within 48 hours, when I call they actually pick up the phone, and the best part is they don't even charge more for this."

The second testimonial is specific and will resonate with the right customer. This also helps you attract your ideal customers while potentially pushing away others.

How to Get the Right Testimonials

It can be tricky to get the right testimonials from customers. You can't be passive and just copy and paste what they say about you, but instead have to be proactive. When a customer tells you you did a great job ask specific probing questions. What about the service did you really like? When you discover where you really added value you can create the words for yourself by saying, "it sounds like what you really liked about us is X." Then ask them if you could write that up for them as a testimonial to use. Explain how it will save them time, help you out, and you will show it to them before using it. Now you have a testimonial that can actually help your business grow.

Ways to Enhance Your Testimonial

The following techniques can be used to get an even better result from your testimonial

  • Place the testimonial within the content of your sales pages so they get read
  • Put the name and or company that wrote the testimonial
  • Show a picture or logo if you have permission
  • Use video testimonials to get more senses involved in the experience