When consumers say they turn to 'family and friends' for product and service recommendations, what do they really mean?

Are they calling their aunties and grandmas asking for advice?

Or are they turning to testimonials from online 'friends'?

Well, it might be a bit of both…

One's thing's for sure: Online testimonials are playing tremendous roles in the acquisition of new business by brands of all shapes and sizes.

95%[1] of consumers refer to reviews of a product before making an online purchase. Occasionally, they will rely simply on the average star rating; more often, they will read a number of the written reviews (i.e. testimonials).

Expert marketers have also found that testimonials are more effective than analytic data[2]. Why? Because consumers want to hear from real people, about real experiences…and they have learnt to take dry data with a grain of salt, because they know that data can be gathered and presented in favour of any given viewpoint. Certainly, testimonials are hand-picked to shine the best light on the business; however, consumers are inclined to read into each one, looking for principles that apply to them and asking themselves, What do I have in common with this person's journey?

You, too, can use testimonials to win business, enhance your profile, increase visibility and build your brand.

And you can start today.

Build Your Brand with Testimonials

There are brands that publish a few testimonials on their websites…you know, just enough to populate the Testimonials page. Those testimonials are sort of bland, saying things like "I enjoyed the product" and "this company is great."

Nothing special, right?

Then there are brands that utilise testimonials to their fullest potential, using them to build credibility and reputation, to drive traffic to their websites, to convert and to build their brands.

Wondering how testimonials can do all that?

You've just got to start thinking differently about testimonials and using them in more productive ways. Here's how:

  • Get them off the Testimonials page. Banishing all your testimonials to the Testimonials page is like asking people to voluntarily walk into a sales office. No one does that. They wait for something to catch their eye in the showroom. Incorporate testimonials into your website design, so people can't help but see them.
  • Make a list of reasons people don't buy and then commission people who overcame those same fears and misgivings to write testimonials. One of the best features of a great testimonial is that it will demonstrate to reluctant buyers how others like them were converted. Ask your testimonial writers to talk openly about what had been holding them back.
  • Make asking for testimonials a regular part of your business. Often, we forget about asking for testimonials until we know an important investor or [potential] client will be looking at our website or social media You'll want your pages to be ready with valuable feedback at all times, so whenever you know someone had a great experience with your brand, ask them to write a testimonial and then publish it right away.
  • Offer testimonial-writing guidance. Most people don't like to write, and they're not skilled at putting their thoughts into words. For this reason, I suggest providing people with a list of questions to answer with their testimonials. Some examples are: How did you feel before X? How has X changed your life? What are some of the results of X? What was holding you back from doing X sooner? What do you say to friends who have the same problem you had before doing X?
  • Include a one-sentence bio for each reviewer. This might seem counterintuitive at first, since the testimonial is about your brand and not theirs. However, think about it this way: How much more likely is someone to give you a fabulous testimonial if they know you're going to plug their business? Plus, those reading your Testimonial page will draw personal and professional associations with the people behind those bios…and think Wow, they're a lot like me; if they can do it, I can do it.
  • Use video testimonials. Video adds a new and unexpected dimension to your testimonials, and it will appeal to audio/visual learners. Stream video right on your website or link to it from written testimonials.

build-your-brandUsing testimonials to expose, endear and convert is an art form of sorts, and the best person to create it is you. You know your clients well. You know your ideal customers well, too. Know what they want, what they need and what they've been missing. Use testimonials to paint a picture of what they'll get, to encourage them to move forward without fear and to then…well…submit a testimonial of their own to help build your brand.

How to Build a Brand has received some spectacular testimonials from members of the Brand Builders Club, and let me tell you: these are driven, accomplished entrepreneurs and business owners. Want to connect with them? Simply plan to attend a future Brand Builders Bootcamp as a guest. Don't know a current member? Then join the How to Build a Brand Facebook group (it's FREE) and let everyone know you'd like to attend an upcoming boot camp as someone's guest. It's that simple. And it will be life-changing.


[2] TechValidate

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