Top Tips For Great Testimonials

Whether you are selling a service or a product, testimonials can double your sales. They add credibility to what you do.

The proof of this is simple to prove, just think of anything you have bought recently from Amazon or any other online retailer. Did you check the reviews? How did they affect you?

And why do companies like Amazon include them on everything they sell?

But, there’s a problem. People are naturally distrustful of reviews on a website that only sells that product or service. Especially a review that only includes the forename. Eg. “I love this product” – Jim.

So here are my top tips to get the best credibility from your customers:

  1. Get it as soon as possible. People tend to be really excited at the point of purchase, get in early and you will get a better response.
  2. Offer an ethical bribe. A free report or something similar will do. And remember you don’t need to use the review if it turns out to be not what you expected.
  3. Try to get a specific review rather than a generalisation. Eg. “I now work 3 hours less a day”.
  4. Go a mix of long and short reviews, so you can place them more easily on different media (eg. short reviews work better on product packaging, whereas long reviews are better on a sales page).
  5. Ask if you can use their full name and at least their town.
  6. If it is a business, ask if they would like a free link back to their site (you both win this way, you get a provable bona-fide review and they get free traffic).
  7. Ask if they would be happy to do a case study. Again, they will benefit from the publicity and you will benefit from not only a free endorsement, but good online content.
  8. If you do get a case study, you can quote from the study to create different length testimonials for different purposes.
  9. Ask if you can get a picture of the customer or business. This really adds credibility. Make sure you have permission to use the photo (take it yourself if you are in any doubt, you then own the copyright).
  10. If you are dealing with a business you like, ask if they will swap testimonials (and case studies) with you.
  11. Put case studies or long reviews on individual pages and apply on-page SEO using the title plus highlights such as bold, italic and underline on relevant LSI keywords in the review. Add your own summary or introduction to the review, which you can also SEO.
  12. Offer to write the testimonial if you get any objection to doing it. Remember, the only thing a testimonial should ‘cost’ your customer is time, so you can help further by saving them some of that too. If requesting a testimonial via post, always include an SAE.
  13. Tweet and Facebook your testimonials.
  14. Add them to other blogs or sites you own that are relevant, with links back to your main site.
  15. Can you get a video testimonial? These work really well as you can distribute them on video channels such as:
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • DailyMotion
  • Metacafe
  • Break
  • Google Video
  • Yahoo Video
  • Revver
  • VidiLife
  • Stickam

Rather than putting all your testimonials on a single page, split them up across many pages. And link them so search engines will see your content is relevant to itself and your site, and visitors will be more likely to navigate more pages (which search engines will see as a positive for your site).

Finally, always ask for permission, written if possible (an email confirmation is fine) and be very careful with testimonials that put down your competition because a) you are giving them a free plug (however bad), b) you may get complaints, and c) it may not reflect well on you or your business.

Quentin Pain

My earliest ambition was to become a rockstar (my band once backed The Waves who went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest). Unfortunately I decided to start a business to support my rock star dream, and as luck would have it, the business took off big time and the rock star dream died. I was 23. By the time I reached 50, my total business count was 6. The last one was Accountz that went from zero to 36,000 customers in 6 years. I now run ProofMEDIA Ltd and my specialism is copy that wins trust, engagement and long term sales. I'm also a published author (including a Dummies title), have won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year, and am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.