“It’s hard to sing your own praises, and it rarely works when you do, “ is the sentiment Chris Garrett once so aptly expressed in copyblogger.com. If a customer ever tells you how much they value your service, Garrett advises, ask them for a testimonial. Even if they don’t ask, ask them for a testimonial, he says, because testimonials are that valuable.
Careful, though; good testimonials don’t gush, the Hotjar team warns. Too much praise is likely to engender skepticism, not belief. Good testimonials, on the other hand, give prospective customers peace of mind, providing proof that people have tried your products and services and approve of them. Really effective testimonials directly address doubts prospects have about price, learning curve, or functionality of a product or service.
Just why do customer testimonials work? They are a powerful form of social proof, a psychological concept based around the idea that we are more likely to follow the actions others have already taken, explains shopify.com.
But do testimonials, in fact, work? Shopify cites four studies exploring that very question:
- Econsultancy – sites showcasing testimonials experience an 18% increase in sales.
- Wikijob – sites with testimonials earned 34% more conversions.
- Reevoo – 50+ reviews converts to a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
- Brightlocal – 88% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from personal contacts.
Is asking for testimonials a good idea? Maybe. Asking for feedback always is. After all, as Sujan Patel points out, your customers are the end users of your products and services, “so who better to tell you what you’re getting right and where you’re going wrong?”
There are better and not-so-good methods of gathering testimonials from customers, printwand.com points out. First of all, never fabricate them. Amen to that, I teach at Say It For You. In fact, when a client says, “Sure, just tell me what you want me to say……” , my answer is always “No.” The testimonial has to be in the customer’s words (grammar errors and all).
Second, printwand authors caution, “Just because a customer said some nice things about your brand doesn’t mean you automatically have the right to reproduce those.” On the other hand, when you do receive good spontaneous feedback from a customer, it’s OK to ask if they would allow you to use that statement on your website.
As content for your business blog, customer testimonials are that important. No ad copy, no claims, no statistics can ever wield the power of “people just like them” praising the product or service.