Website Secrets: The Importance of Testimonials

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You’re a savvy shopper, right? In this day and age, you have to be. Irresponsible marketers and salespeople are constantly hyping their products, sometimes resorting to downright lies in order to sell their products or services. This is even more true on the internet, as sellers can remain virtually anonymous.

As a business owner hoping to sell goods and services through your website, you’re asking potential customers to trust you—despite the unscrupulous sales tactics that take place throughout cyberspace. So how can you convince skeptical buyers to trust you? One word: Testimonials. Effective testimonials establish credibility and trustworthiness… and they signal to shoppers that you’re more than just an anonymous website. Testimonials are the best way to build credibility—and they allow you to promote yourself at the same time. Below are several tips to keep in mind when requesting and using testimonials:

1) Ask at the right time.

Asking for a testimonial is all about timing. If you have long-term clients that you know are happy with your work, ask them for a testimonial. When it comes to new clients, wait at least a couple of weeks, until you’ve had a chance to blow them away with your service. When you know they’re thrilled, that’s the time to ask.

2) Include contact information.

A testimonial that doesn’t include some form of contact information is virtually useless. Listing contact information proves that the testimonial came from a real person—otherwise, it could have been made up. At minimum, include the name of the customer giving a testimonial, as well as the name of their business and a phone number.

3) Be specific.

When you’re asking for a testimonial, ask the writer to talk about specific qualities of your work. Vague comments such as “XYZ did a fantastic job” are much weaker than specifics such as “Within three months, XYZ nearly tripled the traffic to my website—and my sales improved by more than 400%.” In addition, be sure you ask for testimonials in a variety of areas so they don’t all sound the same. Ask for testimonials about your customer service skills, your professionalism, your timeliness, etc. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself “what would I be worried about?” Ask for testimonials that address these concerns.

4) Keep them short and to the point.

Nobody is going to read a 500 word testimonial. Keep them brief and on topic. If a client provides a testimonial that is too long, ask for permission to edit it. 4-6 sentences should be plenty in most cases.

5) The more, the merrier.

Don’t limit the quantity of testimonials on your site. A huge list of testimonials makes it clear that you’ve been in business for a long time and that you do a great job. Just make sure to put the best ones at the top, because most people aren’t going to read more than a couple. And make sure that each testimonial has contact information for the writer.

Website owners are always looking for secrets to increase the effectiveness of their site. Oftentimes, they overlook an obvious and powerful tool—testimonials. Don’t make that mistake. Dramatically increase your credibility by adding testimonials to your site… and watch your conversion rates trend upwards..

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