Savvy marketers know all about the awesome power of social proof. When a website visitor sees evidence that previous customers have been happy with their experience, a kind of herd instinct kicks in, and that visitor is much more likely to become a client themselves.
Testimonials are a time-honored way of adding a note of social proof to a commercial site, but a simple list of customer quotes isn’t likely to be particularly useful. However, with care and marketing nous, a testimonial page can be an extremely potent driver of conversions. But how should this essential page be put together?
Pay Attention to Marketing
A wall of text made up of anonymous customers saying “Thanks! Great work!!” and so on isn’t going to cut the mustard. When building your testimonials page, you also need to pay attention to marketing fundamentals. Choose quotes which tell a story and push the benefits of your products or services. Show your readers how previous customers have seen real results, and even better, had their problems solved after visiting your site. Consider adding subtle calls to action throughout the page, leading visitors deeper into well-converting areas of your site.
There’s no need for high-pressure sales techniques, but if you don’t include a sprinkling of marketing magic on the page, you’re missing a valuable opportunity.
Humanize the Quotes
Social proof relies on credibility, and anonymous testimonials just don’t project a sense of trustworthiness. If possible, use quotes from identifiable people or businesses, especially if previous customers of yours have a level of brand recognition or celebrity status of their own. If you can add a photo or company logo, all the better. Even if your customers aren’t well-known, it’s far more believable to give a sensible name and location rather than an easily discounted “J. Doe, NY.” However, you’d need to seek permission before publishing attributable quotes.
Use Testimonials as Teasers
If the quote references a particular product or service, it makes perfect sense to link through to the relevant part of your site, using the testimonial as a teaser for further in-depth information from which the reader can benefit. Don’t be afraid to directly tell the reader that by clicking through they can enjoy the same benefits they’ve just read about.
Pay Attention to Design
There’s no good reason to treat a testimonial page as an afterthought when it comes to attractive design. If you have the option to use photographs or logos next to a quote, then this can make a substantial impact. If, however, for privacy or other reasons this isn’t appropriate, then don’t forgo images altogether. Use relevant, good-looking imagery to boost the visual appeal of the page, just as you would with a page that was directly promoting your wares.
Consider Rich Content
To set your page apart from lightweight testimonials contenders, consider using rich content such as video to make it stand out from the crowd. You needn’t spend a fortune on high production values – indeed, a somewhat “mom and pop” feel can boost credibility quite effectively.
Reference Social Media
If you have an active social media account, include some of the more complimentary and relevant posts users have made about your company. Tie these quotes into your Facebook, Twitter, and other accounts, as this will add an extra level of social proof. However, if your social media presence has been a little neglected lately, don’t draw attention to this fact by linking to your tumbleweed-infested accounts.
Don’t Forget SEO
A well-written testimonials page is an excellent way of injecting genuine, relevant, and keyword-rich content into your site. Where possible, choose quotes which specifically reference individual services or products to which you’d like to give more exposure. Naturally, your options in this area will be restricted to the user-generated content you have available, but that restriction doesn’t apply to headlines. Why not give each quote an optimized heading, including the terms for which you want to rank?
It’s All About the Customer
Lastly, a testimonials page is all about showing off your positive customer relationships and using them to help generate new ones. Make the most of this by displaying prominent contact details such as toll-free numbers, linking to your FAQs section, and pointing out your customer guarantees or favorable returns policies.
Testimonial pages are too often an also-ran when it comes to building a website, but to carelessly throw together a cliched cookie-cutter page is to miss out on a valuable opportunity. In the right hands, a top-drawer testimonials page can be a hugely effective provider of social proof, and a builder of customer trust. Is yours delivering the benefits it should?