Everyone knows that customer testimonials boost sales and conversions. In this post we guide you on how to ask for testimonials and take them to the next level.
Humans are social creatures, and we're easily influenced by the behavior of others.
Knowningly or not, we choose clothing based on what others are wearing. We adjust our opinions based on what our friends post on social media. And when it comes time to make buying decisions - about everything from sandwiches to cars - we look to see what others are doing first.
As a business owner, you should celebrate this particular feature of human behavior.
That's because people's tendency to make decisions based on what others are doing gives you the power to influence the way your customers (and potential customers) see you. If you can satisfy a vocal group of customers, you can get them to work for you and bring others to your doorstep.
That's the beauty of a concept called "social proof."
Let's take a look at a typical potential customer. We'll call her Ellen...
- People line up overnight to buy the newest iPhone. Seeing the line on the news makes Ellen wonder if she should be getting a new iPhone, too.
- Ellen's friend starts a business selling skin care products. She constantly posts about it on Facebook, and posts before and after photos showing how using the products changed her skin. Ellen decides not only to buy some products from her friend, but also to sell them too!
Under this lens, Ellen may look a little like a sheep following the flock, but almost everyone (yes, even you!) is susceptible to examples like these. It's social proof in action.
We all interpret other people's actions as stamps of approval, and that makes us think that we should get on board.
It's a completely natural way for current customers to "sell" new customers on using a business or service.
Getting a Social (Proof) Life
The easiest way to put social proof into action is to take advantage of not what people do, but they say, using the power of testimonials.
Testimonials are simply statements that support or endorse your business. You've seen them in ads of all kinds, like law firm commercials that feature real clients talking about how well their cases were handled.
But you don't have to put money into a pricey marketing campaign to use testimonials. You can include quotes from real customers on your website and on your social media pages.
These quotes can be really influential. Say you run a hair salon, and a prospective customer is comparing salons in the area. She finds two with good ratings and starts investigating their websites...
- One salon's site features a lot of promises that the stylists are attentive and that customer satisfaction is important.
- The other site includes quotes from clients saying things like, "I wasn't sure about my color at first, and when I mentioned it, the stylist changed it for free. She told me she didn't want me to leave until I was satisfied! She was so talented, and so nice!"
The second website is almost always going to be more appealing to the customer because it contains a believable testimonial...
But then she thinks, couldn't the owner of the salon have written that herself? How do I know that this quote came from a real customer?
It's an example of a standard testimonial, or basic social proof. It leaves uncertainty in the reader's mind, and doesn't immediately convince her to use that business.
Advanced Social Proof
Customers are fairly savvy, and some will want to see proof that any testimonials you post are real. After all, if they don't know you or your business yet, they can't be totally sure whether or not you're trustworthy.
But customers do trust Yelp, Google, Facebook and other major review sites. After all, they use these sites themselves, so they know that the reviews posted on these sites are (for the most part) trustworthy.
A recent survey confirmed this exact thing. The survey found that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
If you pull quotes from real reviews, most potential customers are more inclined to believe them.
So leverage the reviews you're getting on those sites by using them as your testimonials, and linking to the original reviews. This provides an extra powerful layer of social proof for your potential customers because it takes advantage of the brand equity that the review sites have.
An Automated Approach
Do you have time to ask each customer to write you an online review, scan the review sites each night, pull snippets out of the positive reviews and post them to your website?
No? That's okay, because you don't need to do those things yourself. That's what ReputationStacker is for.
It's an automated system that contacts your customers with a single-question survey and directs the satisfied customers to the review site of your choice. All you have to do is enter the phone number or email address of your customers.
That's not all. ReputationStacker also automatically posts your best reviews on your own website and updates itself on a continual basis.
This service is actually included as part of the automated tools that come with ReputationStacker's Standard, Plus and Premium plans. The system automatically tracks all of your reviews, and with a one-time copy-and-paste of a short snippet of code on your website, all of your best reviews will automatically appear on your site and update every time a new one comes in.
Show Your (Social) Proof
Customers put a lot of weight on one another's opinions. Make the concept of social proof - in which people make decisions based on what they see others doing - work for you by posting snippets of positive reviews from your real customers on your website. The best part? You don't have to update the site yourself.
Using ReputationStacker's automated system, you can get all the reviews that you've earned and have the best ones automatically post to your site. Set yourself apart from the competition and attract the attention you deserve, with ReputationStacker.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.