Client testimonials can be a powerful marketing tool for any business large or small. But the fact is, when you make a claim about your product or service, you must also bear the burden of proof.
Sure the new burger joint in town claims to have the best burgers on the east coast, but where’s the proof? And who said it’s the best burger anyway?
Marketing claims must be backed up by evidence, there’s just no way around that. Aside from investing a ton of money into blind taste tests and recording and analyzing that data. The most cost-effective way to provide that proof is to include client testimonials in your web copy.
Essentially, client testimonials serve as social proof that claims about your product or service are accurate. Very often consumers turn to reviews for help with their decision making. Here are a few statistics to consider:
- 84% of Americans state the online reviews influence their buying decisions
- 97% learn about local companies on the internet
- 73% of consumers trust a business after seeing that it has positive reviews
What are testimonials really?
Testimonials are reviews and comments, taken from satisfied and not so satisfied customers. Generally speaking, they are curated in one spot on your website. The great thing about testimonials is that there is a wide variety of formats and you are in no way limited to how you want to go about using them on your site.
Let’s take a look at a few and see what they entail.
Quote – A quote testimonial is essentially the first iteration of testimonials, just as it sounds incorporates a quote from a previous client. Incidentally, quotes may be one of the easiest types of testimonials to get and use.
Influencer – influencer testimonials are, of course, becoming increasingly popular. Aligning your brand with the right influencer can do much to legitimize your product or service.
Social Media – Using the feedback and photos from your customers and incorporating them into your own site.
Consumer Reviews – The search for anything on search engines will show you that reviews rule the day. In fact, a recent study by Deloitte showed that consumers view online reviews of a product or service to be just as reliable as those that come directly from friends and family. Yelp anyone?
Case Studies – Case studies provide an unmissable opportunity to sell your product or service. It allows you to take readers through a process, allaying fears and overcoming objections. Case studies allow you to showcase the exact steps someone else took on the road to success and it can speak volumes.
Video – When customers are happy with your product or service chances are they will be more than happy to record a brief video with an endorsement. And truth be told the proliferation of smartphones has made this an increasingly easy ask.
Documentary – While filming a documentary can be cost-prohibitive for most small businesses, it may be an investment that can be bear substantial fruit. Documentaries give readers an audiovisual, front-row seat to your brand.
How can client testimonials help your Google My Business profile?
Client testimonials can have a significant impact on your Google My Business profile. Anyone who uses your services can leave a review (good or bad) on their own accord. While there may be businesses that go about this in an unsavory way, the vast majority will use the service in the way that it was intended. Ideally, customers visit the business, leave a review and subsequently the business reaps what it sows.
It is important to keep in mind that it is you and only you that determines the type of reviews customers will leave. Of course, providing consistently good service is the key to getting positive reviews. And of course the better your reviews are the more traffic, phone calls, appointments — whatever it is that your business relies on, you will get.
If you’re wondering what this looks like on (digital) paper take a look at the following Google My Business entry. Granted it’s for a landmark in NYC, but you get the idea.
But the benefits of good reviews don’t just end with more business.
It appears that good reviews are also quite pleasing to the all-powerful Google algorithm as they now play a crucial role in SEO rankings. Having more buzz around your business will push you higher up in the SERP rankings.
How can client testimonials help you sell products?
When customers provide testimonials about your product or service, they are essentially telling the world what they think about you and your brand. They serve to build trust and credibility. Moreover, when a client testimonial is perceived as being unbiased and unsolicited, it tends to trigger the bandwagon effect amongst potential customers. The bandwagon effect is exactly what it sounds like, people do things because other people are doing it too.
Most importantly, client testimonials allow folks to gather information from a source they can relate to. Instinctively, potential clients think: if it’s good enough for Sally R. then it must be good enough for me. When clients see a version of themselves reflected back in a testimonial, their trust for the brand deepens increasing the likelihood of them engaging with the brand or business.
Why is it unethical to solicit testimonials in some professions?
It’s no secret that when it comes to certain services (and even some tangible products) privacy and confidentiality are paramount. And you don’t have to dig too deep into Google to figure out that anything that falls under the physical and mental health categories are prime examples. The concept of patient confidentiality is fiercely protected by things like HIPAA laws.
When confidentiality is so critically important, how can a therapist or counselor leverage the power of testimonials when it’s seemingly off-limits?
How can you ethically solve this problem?
Contrary to what you might think therapists and counselors can also leverage the power of good testimonials, while the end result would be the same it’s just the source that’s different.
One way therapists and counselors can effectively use testimonials without violating the established code of ethics or their clients’ privacy is to seek testimonials from their colleagues and other professionals. The only caveat here is that the testimonial must be completely clear that it is not from a client and it must also clearly define the relationship between the business and the person writing the testimonial.
Therapists can also ask for a testimonial for other services they provide. In this arena consider workshops, training courses, or other psycho-education offered that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of traditional counseling. Often it’s easier to ask clients of these services to leave a review on your Google My Business page so you’re not involved in the process and they have full anonymity as needed when sharing their thoughts.
It’s also wise to ask your licensing board about any true restrictions. Over the years, clients have shared that some boards say absolutely no testimonials at all, while others have allowances that you can work within. If you’re a licensed professional, it’s important to ask so you’re not in violation of any rules you may be unaware of.
Client testimonials serve many purposes. They build and deepen trust, they help readers overcome doubt and back up claims (or not). It is important to note that gathering testimonials is not a one and done or even a ten and done kind of proposition. As businesses can they should continue to incorporate as many client testimonials as they are afforded. A positive testimonial can counteract a negative one and good reviews on Google can help your business climb up the SERP. And when it comes to building your business, there’s no such thing as too many good reviews.
If you need help with implementing customer reviews on your website we can help. Request a free consultation from our team today.