The power of testimonials

testimonialsI attended my favourite local networking / business group this morning, Business Builders Fareham Solent, at the Holiday Inn in Titchfield. One of our members, read out a recent testimonial he had received from one of his clients and it reminded me of the power of testimonials.

People love to hear real stories and research over the years has proven that people are far more likely to remember a story than a sales pitch. Hearing a 3rd party’s comments regarding a real experience with a particular business have a big impact on decision making with potential new clients.

A survey of 1600 UK consumers back in 2009 found that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of Britons regularly check the Internet for material about an online retailer before committing to a purchase (see my earlier blog article, “Two thirds of online shoppers judge online reputation of retailers before making a purchase“). This figure continues to grow and more recent data suggests that this is more than 80% these days. Reviews and testimonials are important to have for people to refer to during this research phase. They are also important for establishing your creditability and reputation.

Getting testimonials or reviews is not so difficult, many people who have had a good experience with a company will write them without prompting but from experience, in most cases, you only have to ask people if they would mind writing a review or a testimonial for you, most are pleased to do so.

Another easy way to collate this feedback is if one of your customers says to you in conversation that they were very happy with the work you did for them, ask them if they mind if you quote them on your website.

So, once you have reviews and testimonials, you need to make use of them. A great place to display these of course is on your company website. These days, the first thing most people do after they meet (for example at a networking meeting), or hear about someone for the first time, is to find out more about them. The first place they look generally ? – On your website.

The thing is to make it as easy as possible for them to find them. Having a testimonials page on your website is good. Sprinkling a few testimonials amongst the content on your website pages and on other marketing material, particularly where they are very relevant to that specific content is also a good idea. Use them where ever you see an opportunity and where it adds weight to the message you are promoting, just remember not to go overboard and overdo it, people won’t read lots.

You might also like to consider using a more formal service to collect customer feedback such as companies like Checkatrade, Checkaprofessional or The Disc Directory. One of the benefits of using these is that they provide pre-printed cards you can give to customers to fill in and formal feedback systems that allow the the source of the feedback to be verified before it is published.

So are you making the most of your reviews and testimonials ?