5 REASONS YOUR CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS ARE NOT WORKING

You read all of the stats about testimonials and populated your site with customer reviews so that you too could reap the benefits of findings like these:

  • 90% of buying decisions are influenced by online reviews [1]
  • 63% of consumers indicate that they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has reviews and testimonials [2]
  • Reviews on a site can boost conversion +20% [3]
  • 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust unknown users, 27% trust experts, 14% trust advertising, 8% trust celebrities [4]
  • Social proof can lead to conversions as high as 68.7% [5]

But, for some reason, you are not seeing these kinds of phenomenal results. Are you wondering why customer testimonials seem to work for everyone except you? Here are the possible reasons:

1. YOUR TESTIMONIALS ARE ANONYMOUS

Not including (at least) the name and company of the person giving the testimonial is as bad as simply disclosing that you wrote it yourself.

To fix this: show the user’s information, as well as a picture (or video) if available. This is how Neil Patel does it:

To go a step above, have the testimonial linked to the user’s social media account, which verifies their true identity, the way writer Kristi Hines features a review from Unbounce’s Oli Gardner:

2. YOUR TESTIMONIALS ARE FROM THE WRONG PEOPLE

If you are targeting online SMBs, don’t have a testimonial from the CEO of McDonalds or from a kid at the corner lemonade stand.

To fix this: select users from your target audience.

For example, Google Analytics targets online businesses committed to excellent online marketing. They are also noticing an industry trend of expanding into mobile channels. Look how their testimonials speak to their target audience:

3. YOUR TESTIMONIALS ARE NOT IN THE RIGHT PLACE

Testimonials are important and should occupy good real estate on your website and landing pages. But testimonials are not the most important, so you need to make sure they do not overshadow Call to Action buttons or other key information.

To fix this: test placing your testimonials in different places on your pages and track results to find the optimal placement for you.

Look at this example from Marie Forleo’s B-school:

Or this one from Aflac:

They each position their testimonials differently proving that there is no magic formula of where you should put yours. What you need to do is test different locations and find what resonates with your audience.

4. YOUR TESTIMONIALS ARE VAGUE

Offering all-encompassing testimonials may seem like a good idea as you may assume they would speak to more people, but the truth is, they have the opposite effect. For example, if you were evaluating customer service software for your company, what would interest you more? A testimonial that says:

“This is the best and easiest to use help desk software available!”

Or something more like this:

The fix: Get testimonials from your customers that contain facts and speak to the benefits of your product. Have them include measureable results with their feedback.

Also, format your testimonials to make the most important parts stand out: use larger fonts, bold, italics, or different colors.

5. YOUR TESTIMONIALS ARE TOO LONG

Customers who love your product sometimes go out of their way to write long versions of their stories. While this can be packaged and effective as a case study, customer testimonials should be concise. For example, here are a couple of testimonials from Zoho CRM. Which are you most likely to read?

The fix: Long reviews are great, but not as testimonials. Use the detailed feedback you get in other ways (like in case studies) and sum up their most important point for a short, readable testimonial.

CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Customer testimonials have the power to ameliorate your website conversions to new heights. Your business can see the kinds of success others have seen by adding testimonials, as long as you remember these five important elements:

  1. Testimonials should be personalized — avoid anonymity by including the person’s name, title, company, location, and as much biographical information as possible. Take it a step further by featuring an image and linking it to a social media account.
  2. Testimonials should be from members of the target audience — this makes them relatable and relevant.
  3. You should test the placement of testimonials — try them on different pages (home page, landing pages, customers page, pricing page, etc.) and on different locations within each page. Make sure they are prominent, but do not take away from other, more important elements.
  4. Testimonials should contain details — avoid vagueness by including specific benefits and measured results.
  5. Testimonials should be short and to-the-point — make long reviews into case studies and use a soundbite from them as a testimonial.

[1] http://marketingland.com/survey-customers-more-frustrated-by-how-long-it-takes-to-resolve-a-customer-service-issue-than-the-resolution-38756

[2] http://www.searchenginejournal.com/the-power-of-social%C2%A0proof/21896/

[3] Bazaarvoice.com/resources/stats ‘Conversion Results’

[4] Econsultancy, July 2009, Erik Qualman, Socialnomics

[5] http://unbounce.com/conversion-rate-optimization/why-customer-testimonials/

Originally posted on the Spectoos blog on January 20, 2015.

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