Web surfers today are faced with an incredible choice of product or service provider in addition to the increasing number of products for sale both nationally and internationally.
Let’s look back in time for a moment, before the internet became popular. Products and services were either purchased locally or they simply weren’t available – unless a national advertising campaign on television, newspapers or magazines brought them to our attention. Buying local was relatively easy. All it took was a walk down the high street or a trip to the local shopping centre.
The buying process was also relatively easy. There was less competition and also a degree of confidence that if there was a problem with the item purchased, it was easy to return to the store for replacement or a refund.
The internet has changed how we buy and our buying processes.
With most purchases, we are now buying from a store that isn’t local and is therefore unknown to us. There isn’t the comfort of a local physical shop to visit to sample/touch the goods.
The internet has introduced a new type of retailer or shop – the online shop. These shops may have no physical store at all, no shop windows to browse in. In some cases they do not hold stock. The virtual shop is therefore able to compete with local physical shops. Some would say they compete unfairly as their costs are significantly lower, possibly working from home with a laptop rather than incurring the hard costs of store and its staff.
As you imagine, a cyber-shopper is very different in their approach to shopping compared to a physical shopper walking through the door. A cyber-shopper needs information. They also need convincing that their money is safe and products or services will be delivered. There are basically two ways to achieve this…
1. Case Studies: true stories of previous customer shopping experiences
2. Testimonials: personal recommendations from previous customers.
Case studies and testimonials are both important and play a significant role in convincing new visitors to a website to spend their money. The most powerful are testimonials. Well written testimonials have the ability to reach a visitor or prospect that web copy cannot achieve.
Including testimonials on your website provides a third party endorsement about your product or service. The more you have, the better chance of converting a visitor into a customer.
You see, testimonials have a powerful stacking effect when used well. They tell the reader that people from all walks of life and living in different locations in the UK have purchased these products and services. They are so delighted with the result that they have provided or volunteered a testimonial. That’s powerful because getting most people to do anything after a sale is difficult.
By reading numerous testimonials, the reader is soon convinced that they will also have a similar experience. When their buying inhibitions are low they are ready to buy. Testimonials are able to achieve this, although the content of the website must be good enough to lure the browser to stick around and continue reading.
Websites without testimonials stand considerably less chance of attracting a prospect and convincing them to become a customer through a purchase. Case studies without testimonials work but are not as powerful as those containing a testimonial. However, testimonial s without case studies remain powerful.
In my previous article ‘How to write a good testimonial for business’ I described the different styles of testimonial. The ability to capture different aspects of the product or service are so important. They answer so many questions or concerns a buyer will have and in a way that is disarming.
The most important aspect of a testimonial is that it’s not the company saying how good their products or services are. That could easily be misconstrued. The testimonial is confirming a person purchased from the business and was happy to commit their name and personal endorsement for all to see.
In summary, it is critically important to gather testimonials as part of your sales process. Interesting testimonials carry a lot of weight and usually act as the tipping point for some, changing them from a prospect into a customer.
Why not take a fresh look at your website looking for places where a testimonial may add more weight to your message? Perhaps you have a few already. But, have you a range of the testimonials to appeal to different viewers needing different solutions? If not, work out what you’re missing and add these in key places.Do you include testimonials on your website? Find out why you should here: Click To Tweet