Your products are incredible.
But, you can’t honestly expect customers to take your word for it.
That’s why you need testimonials. Testimonials back up claims you make and serve as proof of your statements and improve conversions.
Here are few more reasons why testimonials matter:
- Data from eConsultancy shows that sites that choose to display testimonials improve purchases by 18%.
- WikiJob A/B tested a page with and without testimonials. The version with testimonials resulted in 34% more conversions.
- Brightlocal’s research found that nearly 90% of people found reviews to be as trustworthy as recommendations from friends.
Businesses make tall claims about themselves all the time. If there’s nothing to back those claims— visitors become suspicious. That’s where testimonials come in.
But not all testimonials are created equal. So, in this post, we’re going to take a look at how to write a good testimonial.
Let’s start with the characteristics of a good testimonial.
1. A good testimonial is short
Readers are wary of reading long-winded testimonials. A needlessly long testimonial puts them off. You want to convey the features and benefits of your product. Make them short.
A testimonial needs to propel the reader to action. The testimonial should be worded in a compelling manner reflecting the hopes and fears of the person behind it. Action-oriented and emotive words that capture emotions well are a good way to do that.
Ideally, keep them just one-to-two sentences long as Thistle does on its homepage.
2. A good testimonial sounds authentic
When members of your audience say something about your business, it should be their honest opinion. Yes, you bear a significant risk of the testimonial sounding blunt. But, a testimonial only works when it sounds authentic.
With a testimonial— show how the product improves the customer’s life. You could keep talking about features. They don’t make a difference. The key is in the benefits.
A testimonial that showcases how using the product or service positively impacted a person’s life simply works.
Because people never buy products. People purchase better versions of themselves. So when your prospect is reading a testimonial where the customer is describing the impact of using the product, they’re unconsciously projecting themselves in place of the person in the testimonial. They’re already seeing themselves using the product.
A good testimonial shows how the customer transformed their lives, their business or their kitchens with the help of your product.
For example, LIV creates and sells Swiss watches.
On LIV’s dedicated testimonial page, the third reviewer describes a bit about his expensive watch collection and then goes on to say that LIV’s watches are his go-to favorites.
3. A good testimonial overcomes objections
People don’t like parting with their money and the benefits are just one part of the story. They help make your case by highlighting the good that comes with your product.
But, are benefits alone enough to sell something?
I highly doubt that.
The guys behind Volterman Smart Wallet found that if people are increasingly clicking on the “learn more” button rather than the “buy now” button on a product page, there’s something wrong with the pricing or description. Finding and addressing these objections helped them raise $2 million on Indiegogo for their Smart Wallet.
The idea I’m trying to convey is that it is important to search for ways to overcome objections that potential clients may have to complete the purchase.
Since people trust reviews as much as they trust friends— testimonials are a good spot to highlight and solve potential objections.
What are these objections?
Some clients may find your products too expensive. Or they see no reason to trust the claims you’re making. Or if it’s a service, they feel they can do it on their own rather than outsourcing it to someone else.
Let’s circle back to LIV watches again. Swiss watches are traditionally expensive, and while LIV’s watches are priced higher than most watches, they’re comparatively cheaper than Swiss import watches.
The testimonial in the middle says “I thought owing a Swiss made watch would drain my account… and then I found LIV”. This melts away any price related objections.
Note the typo—owing. Yes, they kept it as such, so as not to interfere with the integrity of the review.
Whenever potential customers erect objections in their minds, that’s stopping them from contacting you.
To find out these objections you need a cart abandonment survey. Whenever someone abandons purchase, ask them through a simple pop-up form as to what stopped them short. Very soon you’ll have a big list of objections.
The testimonials should ideally cater to different objections based on what customers felt was lacking. Tie testimonials into your product-led content strategy. If the product seems too expensive to buyers, highlight testimonials that show the reason behind the higher price point.
Perhaps your product offers features the competitor can never aspire to at the price point. Or maybe your service is of much better quality. Or the interface is much more intuitive and easier to use unlike products from your competitors. Perhaps the time-saving advantages are much better.
If you gather enough testimonials, you can use the ones that highlight these differences and also help you overcome the objections you identified earlier.
4. A good testimonial is specific
A long meandering testimonial that takes forever to arrive at the point kills conversions. It should be specific and describe the results the customer got from the product.
That might mean asking customers precisely how your product helped them. Some clients shy away for revealing those figures.
It’s easy to use vague language that doesn’t include specifics. Vague language that says that your product brought about big improvements aren’t good examples of testimonials. Instead, encourage specifics. Say a 14% improvement in conversions. Or 10% improvement in leads. Or 10 pounds in lost weight.
If the client doesn’t want to be specific you can still ask them to provide a ballpark range of the results they got.
Don’t edit the life out of the testimonial
A customer testimonial may not always be slick or refined. What you must understand is this: it’s perfectly ok. Real language works. Accommodate imperfections, grammar mistakes, and quirks because they make the testimonial appear real.
In a world of slick copies and mushrooming grammar checking tools, this advice sits in stark contrast. But trust me. Imperfections make testimonials more believable.
You can do this the other way around too. Based on what the customer says about you, you can write a rough testimonial and let the customer edit it. This way the testimonial can still appear legitimate and have a personal touch.
How to make the most use out of your testimonials
1) Use them on your product pages
On product pages, testimonials and reviews give prospects a chance to view feedback from past customers. The right testimonial that removes a potential objection to purchase can be just the thing a visitor needs to convert
2) Pull testimonials from social media (and vice versa)
Whether you ask them to or not, happy customers are leaving testimonials in droves on social media. They’re recommending products they used and ones which solved problems for them.
Tons of brands never know anything about it.
Don’t be like them.
The solution? Keep track of mentions, monitor your brand and product names, and keep track of hashtags around your brand. This way you can take note of testimonials as they happen and share those on social media.
Here are comments from real people on Casper’s products. There are several comments in that thread they could reshare on their page as testimonials.
You can also share the testimonials you gather elsewhere on social media. Letting your followers know from time to time that people really appreciate what you do can’t hurt.
Last but not least, if you’re building a PPC funnel, a testimonial can be a powerful ally and welcoming addition to ads near the bottom of the funnel.
3) Have a dedicated testimonial page
Some brands dedicate an entire page to testimonials. Done this way, there’s your opportunity to group testimonials by their features and potential concerns. On its dedicated customer testimonials page, ChowNow features testimonials from several different customers.
The testimonials are categorized by restaurant type.
In this manner, ChowNow borrows the trust and authority of these leading businesses to further their own business goals. Having a dedicated page means you can do better on-page optimization and increase the chance your customers find you through organic search and Google image search.
For a one-two punch, you can combine your testimonials and case studies. This is what Point Visible does on its case studies page.
This way, you keep all of your social proof in one place.
4) Develop testimonials into larger case studies
You can build on this further by including case studies that tell a story about problems your product solves.
For example, Planable has a dedicated case studies page where they showcase how big brands use the platform to drive social media traffic and conversions.
How do testimonials differ from quotes on review websites?
In reality, they do not differ all that much. You can ask customers to leave testimonials either on your site or as reviews on Capterra or TrustPilot. The main difference is that some of the platforms, like Capterra, do require users to leave more detailed feedback and grade different features/services.
The benefits? Many customers choose to go with the latter for fear their reviews might be edited out if they leave them on your site.
To get the best of both worlds, pull customer ratings from third-party sites, and feature them on your own site as Savilerowco does on its homepage.
According to Getvoip, every $1 invested in customer experience returns $3. And ultimately, testimonials are one of the ways to improve customer experience.
Find the right time to ask for testimonials
Asking for testimonials is easiest when you start with people who are your best fans.
Whenever you hit a milestone or overdeliver and get a positive feedback from your clients or customers (be it via email, comment in your product management tool, or on social media), use that chance to ask them if they are interested in writing a short testimonial. People are more likely to do that when they are in a good mood.
To get a usable testimonial, give them some guidelines on how to structure it. Ask them to describe the problem and how you helped. Let them explain the impact you were able to create in their lives.
If you do that, they will have a much better idea on how to write a testimonial that matters.