Testimonials play an important role in convincing visitors to your website that your products or services are of good value and that your business delivers what it promises.
Visitors to your website look for testimonials to confirm that somebody like them has purchased from you previously and is happy to recommend you. They act social proof that your business is trustworthy. Good website testimonials can be the tipping point to a purchase, the trigger that convinces a prospect to become a customer.
A single testimonial is powerful. However, a group of testimonials is so much stronger, so you should use them well on your website. Some business owners prefer to have a testimonials page, whilst others prefer to dot them around on different web pages to provide the reader with a good range to prove that the business can provide more than just one good product or service.
How Many Types of Testimonial are there?
There are numerous ways of writing testimonials and each has a part to play, depending on what you have to offer. Let’s take a closer look at each type, any of which could act as your testimonial template:
1. Sceptic – this is very powerful. This type suggests that the writer was like a prospect. They had doubts. Perhaps they even had an objection which may not have been raised before. Something convinced them to take a chance, and it was the best thing they had ever done. Here’s an example.
“I was initially worried about the quality of the chairs. However, I was amazed when I visited the showroom, felt the fabrics and actually sat in the chair. It was pure luxury and I a bit embarrassed that I thought so badly of them. I’m now converted and am the proud owner of 4 exquisite luxury chairs.”
2. Price versus value – this is similar to the first example but focusses on one of the biggest objections in sales – price. To underpin this type of testimonial, the description goes one step further and adds in the value proposition to persuade other prospects that headline price is not the most important point in a purchase.
“I always thought ABC chairs were really expensive. However, after visiting their showrooms and seeing how they were made, where the fabrics were purchased from, the care and attention to detail that goes into every chair, I now realise I’m buying a great piece of furniture that will last for years.”
3. Comparison – This could be a comparison of similar products or services from different suppliers.
“After spending two weekends visiting every chair retailer in Cheshire, ABC chairs were the most professional, friendly, accommodating and the best value by far.”
The above example goes that little bit further by comparing key essentials more a broad range of prospect.
4. Convenience – Building on the last testimonial, this next example is attractive to the “lazy” shopper. This attracts a different type of buyer and is based on convenience.
“ABC chairs were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble. They’re so easy to find, with easy parking, a huge range to choose from, all with 0% finance and free delivery. We bought our new set of chairs within an hour. ”
5. Industry – Another type of testimonial may be from an industry watchdog. These can be descriptive of the company or the product.
“ABC chairs are considered the number 1 chair retailer in Cheshire, voted by our readers for the second year running.”
6. Reality – This is an unusual type of testimonial but works because it’s deemed real. This type reveals a negative and positive, with the latter being so good it overpowers the downside.
“I’ve always found ABC chairs to be a bit hard until I realised that they had a custom option and that allowed me to specify the type of padding I needed. Ah, now I have the comfy chair I dreamed of.”
7. The Experience – This final type is the “walk me through the process” testimonial. It’s a longer testimonial and appeals to the detail person who likes to know what will happen when they step through the door and decide to buy.
“We spent about half an hour sitting in different chairs as there were so many to choose from. After finally making a choice, Terry showed us the swatches for this particular chair and explained about the different fabrics, which were washable etc. Then it was so easy completing the order forms and paying our deposit by card. Terry telephoned us two days later as promised to arrange delivery. We were thrilled when the van arrived on time. The chairs were carefully unpackaged by the driver, checked for any faults and placed exactly where we wanted them. We couldn’t ask for a better service, thank you.”
In addition to customer testimonials, occasionally companies have famous people endorse their products. This tends to feature a product and the famous person with a particular quote to highlight the key features or benefits of the product or company. TV advertising is full of this type of testimonial. They work well for companies with the marketing budget to spend on such advertising. However, for the smaller business, you should embrace testimonials and create a system to capture as many as you can.
Some advertisers will tell you there are only two type of testimonial, unsolicited and solicited. Unsolicited are those that customers willingly send you. Solicited testimonials are those you have asked for. In general, people have no idea what to write. You therefore have to write them and ask permission to use it. Alternatively, you can send your version to the recipient and ask them to write their own version.
There are a few additional pieces of information that add to the power of a testimonial if you can get them.
- Date: Old testimonials are not as powerful as more recent ones.
- Names: If the person providing the testimonial gives permission for you to use their name and perhaps place of residence (not full address), then this also adds more weight to the words. Why? Simply because it’s deemed to be written by a real person.
- Photograph: If the customer allows their photograph to be used then this is even better.
- Video testimonial: These are potentially the best because it’s the actual customer speaking on video to the prospect from the webpage. It’s almost as good as your best friend telling you the same information.
Attaining testimonials should be a very important part of your business’ marketing. The more you can generate and use, the better. Social proof is a key part of the decision-making process and therefore should be taken seriously. You need to create a system to religiously obtain testimonials as they soon go out of date. Updating them on your website frequently will be noticed by your visitors. The bottom line here is that you have no idea which testimonial will sway a person from being a watcher to becoming a customer.