When it comes to maximizing your company footprint, growing market visibility, and creating a superb reputation, customer testimonials on your local business website can’t be beat. Not only do testimonials shine a bright spotlight on the positive experiences of existing customers, but they also offer insight for potential customers who are searching online for the products and services your company is offering. Done right, customer testimonials are extremely valuable.
Testimonials are basically third-party comments from customers praising your business. They can reflect positively on your customer service, on the quality of your products or services, and they can give your business a huge amount of credibility.
In fact, according to a Quora online study, 97% of all participants said that online website customer testimonials and reviews definitely factor into their buying decisions. And 92% hesitate to make a purchase when there are no customer testimonials or reviews posted on the business website they’ve discovered through online search.
Why You Should Leverage Well-Executed Testimonials
Reading that your company offers products and services that are reliable, good quality, delivered on time, feature a wide range of choices, or other positive comments from current customers can go a long way to boosting the confidence of your potential customers, while continually reassuring your current customer base that they’ve made the right decision. A good testimonial builds trust in your business, drives new customers into your store’s location, gets sales completed within your online store, and generates leads to garner future new business.
Testimonials also add credence to the “sell” lines and keywords incorporated into your website content or headlines. If you advertise that your company offers “the best selection” of a product, a customer commenting on how great your product selection is can only reinforce your messaging, add credibility to what you’re saying, and make it the truth. Basically, a real live customer testimonial is backing up your marketing claims.
Now, let’s address load speed and uptime. If your webpages are sluggish or nearly impossible to load in 1 to 2 seconds, you not only get a high user bounce rate, but you also go down in the SEO rankings. Speed is important to gain rankings for mobile, desktop or laptop searches.
A website that loads seamlessly and is optimized for speed on all devices, not only boosts your search engine rankings, but it also enhances the user experience or UX. You literally have 1 to 2 seconds to grab their attention, entice them to stay on your website, and keep them traveling down the road to a sales conversion.
For comparison, a driver on a nearby highway has 5 to 10 seconds to view your billboard design, read any text, and comprehend the message. A radio station listener has 30- to 60-seconds to hear and engage with a radio commercial, and even if they change the channel, that takes 5 to 10 seconds to accomplish.
Testimonials Lead to Sales
Words written by satisfied customers add a human, personal touch. And when you’re a local business in a smaller market, words written by local homeowners, neighbors, or other businesspeople in your town, have even more clout. They are as good as word-of-mouth advertising.
The personal touch demonstrated in testimonials allows potential customers to better relate to what you’re selling. They add a human quality to descriptive words that most people can identify with. Information and data are great when you’re selling a specific product. But testimonials convey personality, trust, and reliability. Perfect for creating sales!
Testimonials are invaluable to a small business in a local market. The more of them posted on your business website, the greater the chance of attaining more new customers and growing market visibility.
The Difference Between a Review and a Testimonial
Reviews can be positive or negative. Most of them are posted on third-party websites, like Trip Advisor, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, or Google, and are gathered and posted via a search algorithm. They are generally digital feedback made by online users or customers about your product or service. And they tend to be more of a “nuts-and-bolts” assessment of the products or services you’re selling.
Testimonials are much more personal and tend to be more positive. They speak from the heart of a customer, creating interest and empathy in the reader. They give a potential new customer the chance to learn more about your business in a highly personal format, allowing a greater emotional connection with your business, its products and services.
First Impressions and Testimonials
The first impressions created by your website are incredibly important for small local businesses. When users search and then visit your website for the first time, your site needs to grab their attention, help drive their decision-making process, and finally, move them to make a purchase. Posting testimonials on your website is a great way to convince new and current customers to buy.
By strategically placing testimonials on a dedicated, easy to access “Testimonials” page on your business website, by also placing the same testimonials on your “About Us” page, and/or by interspersing testimonials throughout your content or product pages, you multiply your chances of converting a user to a customer. Just like a paid advertising campaign, your marketing message needs to be repeated often so that it sinks in and positive action is taken.
How to Generate Customer Testimonials
Simply ask. Happy customers beget other happy customers. Here are some ways to garner positive testimonials:
- Ask for one when the customer is checking out. “Would you please support our local business by leaving a testimonial at www.xxxxx.com.”
- Be sure your staff is trained to ask for a testimonial.
- Request their email address to send them sales information, then send a follow up request for a testimonial.
- Put a brief questionnaire on your website and, in addition to checking a few boxes, ask for comments.
- Include a short note and your website URL on the receipt so customers can leave comments.
- Ask for testimonials on your company’s Facebook or other social medial pages.
Most importantly, if you receive feedback, respond with a “thank you” note. This can be easily set up by your website design company to automatically go out once you receive your testimonial. Not only is it the polite thing to do, but it promotes a healthy interactive and personal relationship with your customers. And it keeps them coming back again and again.
What Makes a Great Testimonial?
- They are short, concise and to the point. Ideally between 30 to 50 words so people don’t tune out. Short sentences. Descriptive, positive words.
- They are direct. Long, convoluted messages will only turn potential customers off. Get to the point quickly.
- Reserve the right to edit down long testimonials.
- Make sure the testimonial is relevant, talks about specific products, customer service, or the customer’s experience with your business.
- Be sure the testimonial adds value to your website. Does it support your call-to-action. Does it praise your personnel? Does it help potential new customers get a better sense of what your business has to offer?
- The most effective testimonial shows the writer’s personality. It conveys emotion, heart, authenticity, and creates positive feelings within the reader.
- Convert website users to customers. Getting recommendations from other people in your local community boosts the credibility of your business, by creating a human connection.
- Build trust and long-lasting customer relationships. They add authority and believability to your marketing information and website content.
- Add a personal touch by delivering “customer to customer” emotional connections. And they build loyalty.
- Highlight what other consumers in your local market think about your business. This is called “social proof.” To put it in other terms “monkey see, monkey do.” People tend to copy the actions and buying habits or trends set by others.
By adding well-written, short and to-the-point, concise testimonials to your local business website design, you can build legitimacy, credibility, relatability, and customer relationships that will deliver benefits to your business for a long, long time.
Testimonials speak with a different voice. They’re not fancy advertising slogans or marketing tactics. They aren’t sales pitches or biased claims. Testimonials written by your very own happy customers speak with neutral, trustworthy opinions. Real people talking to other real people. What a great tool to demonstrate your company’s success.