Online Testimonials

Online Testimonials

Kelly “Rags” Ragland is owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising-specialty company providing a range of services from web design and development to customized apparel.

When it comes to making new customers ready to purchase, one of the strongest sales tools available are customer testimonials. Consumers are highly conscious about business reputation today and, with the addition of several websites dedicated to online user-submitted reviews along with social media, word travels fast when it comes to feedback.Gathering testimonials from customers can add some interest to any website. Sprinkle them across pages as an added incentive to buy from or contact you, post them to blogs and social networks and keep the good word about your business flowing in the streams of customer awareness in a positive manner.

Obtaining a testimonial can be as easy as dropping the customer an email or placing a follow-up call and asking. Others may like an incentive such as a discount on their next purchase. There’s also the option of making the practice more automated with an online form or survey to gather customers’ thoughts and feedback on products and services. Whatever method you choose, here are a few tips on utilizing testimonials in a strategic way.

Keep them fresh

As new testimonials are added to your files, keep them up-to-date online. Internet users want to see a user review or testimonial from someone who has purchased recently. Older testimonials become static and seem irrelevant to those visiting your website. Should you choose not to date testimonials, consider mixing them up into fresh groups from time to time.

A nice archive can be a great tool as well, whether you create a dedicated testimonials page on your website or add them to your blog as they arrive. Fresh content is the key to spreading the good news around your website, and an archive to which users can be directed is a nice feature to have for those who may not have made it to your product pages yet.

Strategic placement

When adding testimonials to your website, make sure they are geared toward the particular web page on which they are placed. If the user is looking at letterman jackets, a testimonial in the sidebar praising your T-shirt printing skills will have little effect on purchasing decision. Try to highlight the testimonial to achieve an eye-catching quality without distracting users from your products and services. Add them as an incentive without interfering with your website’s purpose.

Use them offline

Testimonials can also be effective offline. Use them in any print advertising, brochures and business listings that allow enough space to fit in a quote or two recommending your business. Is the back of your business card blank? Why not use the space in a directly-effective way? Need material for running a press release in your local newspaper? Let your customers’ opinions do the writing for you.

Collect targeted info

When asking for testimonials from customers, in order to gather useful information, consider more of a Q&A approach or utilize an online survey. Having a customer write your business up with the usual “order was on time, great service, great product” might not be as effective as a testimonial that includes key elements in your marketing pitch.

By using an online form or survey, you can ask them specific questions such as “How have your garments lasted through laundering?” or “Did we achieve the desired look you wanted for your company logo?”

Consider video

With billions watching video on sites like YouTube and the ease of embedding it into web pages, consider using video testimonials online. Catch customers at their happiest moments, pop the question about their experience and get out the cell phone to record. While video can take a little time to edit and upload, the short positive blurbs about your business from a person with a face and name can stretch further than any simple written recommendation.

Give credibility

Finally, be sure your testimonials afford the testifier a little credibility. At a minimum, include their name as well as their business name and position. If given permission, use their choice of contact information so they can be contacted as a reference if needed. A testimonial from “Joe in Detroit” may not be perceived as largely as “Joe Baker, Marketing Operations, Metro Phone Services, INC.” Best of luck in gathering some positive testimonials for your marketing efforts.