Are testimonials a helpful reassurance for potential clients, or are they self-serving bragging?
I get asked this a lot when helping clients with websites. Well, it depends on what they say – and how you use them.
I hope that this article will help you to make the most of great testimonials.
Everyone knows that a business is only going to publish a good testimonial on their website. Therefore, it becomes very much about gaining the right testimonials from your clients, and using them in the right way.
Make the most of great testimonials
My top DO’s:
- Focus on testimonials that highlight what makes your business unique – your amazing service, specific talents or strengths, etc. Great testimonials don’t just focus on the end result, they focus on the journey. Testimonials that show how you solved a problem, or met the specific needs of the customer provide far more insight and reassurance than a generic “The service was awesome!”
- Ask clients for feedback/testimonials. Either make it a standard part of your sales process, or contact key clients and request a testimonial for your updated marketing materials. Be specific if possible to get the type of testimonial that will work for your target audience – “It would be great if we could get your feedback on the way we handled x” or “Let us know how you felt when you opened you courier package”.
- Keep quotes short and snappy – and if possible include the client’s name, business and email address or web address.
- Use photos where possible – it adds another layer of humanity to the words. It also adds social proof. People like to follow the lead of others like themselves, so seeing faces helps to
- Use logos of well-known brands or people you have done work for. The recognition of these by your target audience can give additional social proof to give you a boost over the competition.
- Use testimonials within the context of specific services or products. If you have a rave review for a specific service you offer – put that testimonial on the sales page on your website.
- Leverage the great ones across different channels. If you get a great testimonial on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc – make sure to copy these for your records and leverage the best ones across your website and other materials (with permission of course!)
My top DON’T’s:
- Don’t create fake testimonials – just don’t!
- Don’t use testimonials that sound generic and cliched – if they could be about any other business then it doesn’t present any helpful information for your potential clients.
- Don’t over-edit! Keep the testimonial as original as possible. Take snippets from long testimonials and correct any typos for sure, but don’t try to change the actual wording or tone.
- Don’t automatically delete the bad ones If testimonials come in the form of product reviews – and you get a negative one, use this as an opportunity to reply and demonstrate to customers how you handle things if they are not happy. Doing this well can be as good as a good testimonial for your business.
- Don’t focus too strongly on out-of-date testimonials. If something amazing happened in 2006, great – but don’t make it the centrepiece of your testimonial presentation. What have you been doing since?
Takeaway shops that have “Best Fish and Chips 2007” signs in the window make me wonder if their standards have dropped since…?
If you know a business display or use their testimonials in a fantastic way, it would be great if you could comment below and share the link – let’s build a library of examples for people to see!
People like to do business with people. For a small business getting your About page right can help you build a level of trust and assurance with your visitors (potential customers) – and portray to them exactly whom they will be dealing with.
If you are feeling a bit shy, or unsure how much you want to put yourself out there – here are some of my top tips:
1. Write your About page like you are talking to a potential client
Your About page is not your CV or your memoirs – it is a place where you can talk to the reader and let them know what you can do to help them, the problems you can solve, or the information you can share with them.
2. Have professional photos taken
A photographer who is talented will know exactly how to capture your inner and outer beauty, and portray your personality to your audience. They can also touch them up to make them still look like you – but the best possible version of you. It makes SUCH a difference when you can present yourself professionally, and it demonstrates to potential clients that you value yourself and your brand.
I know that when you are starting out, it is another expense that you really don’t feel you can afford. I was the same – I had a picture of me cropped out of a group photo at a function for the first couple of years. Once I got professional head shots done, it gave me an instant confidence boost, knowing that not only my website, but my social media and other online networking profiles looked more professional.
…and once you get photos done – please make sure you keep them reasonably current. I know we all like the ones where we look younger, but if your customers will not recognise you when you turn up for a meeting, it might be time to get some new ones.
3. Let people know your name
You don’t need to start out “Hi, I’m Leah…”, but for the sake of credibility, you do need to let people know who you are. Hiding behind a business name makes things look a little bit dodgy.
4. Introduce the team!
If you do not work alone – introduce the team! Have a team photo on your About page, or perhaps give each team member the opportunity to have a photo and short profile – especially those who interact with your customers and suppliers.
Doing this shows that you have scale. It also gives an opportunity to highlight the extra expertise and experience that these individuals bring to the table.
By all means, give a bit more background about yourself as the founder or owner of the business – but if potential customers know who else is in the team, they will be more comfortable talking to them, and therefore makes delegation on your part easier.
5. Share your contact details
Chances are that if someone is visiting your website and reading your About page, they may want to get in touch with you. If your contact details (email address, phone number, social media links) are not easily seen across your website in your header or footer – it is a good idea to have them on your About page (as well as your Contact page). This means one less click for potential clients or other fabulous contacts.
Always put a phone number on your website. Even if most clients contact you by email, knowing that they can call you and speak to someone if there is ever an issue is a huge reassurance and helps add to the credibility of your business.
6. Let them know why you love your job
Knowing that you are dealing with someone who is enthusiastic about what they do makes it so much more appealing to do business with them. Share the aspects of your job that get you out of bed in the morning – you may start getting more of the work that you love coming in as a result!
7. What else do you love?
Finding a potential business contact who has something in common with you makes things very appealing. Aside from being a great conversation starter, it also gives an insight into your personality – and you will be more likely to attract customers that you will love to deal with.
This section should be brief, but don’t be afraid to be yourself!
Last year I did a website for a client who had seen that I was a Playcentre Mum – so was she. Instant shared ground and understanding that we would probably have similar values and priorities.
8. Experience and Qualifications
From qualifications to life experience – let them know why they should invest their money in you, your products or your services. What has been your journey? What do you bring to the deal?
Even if you are new in business or making a career change, there will be a back-story you can share about how you got to this point, and experience or knowledge to promote.
9. Keep it brief
I know! Trying to incorporate all of the above, and keep it short will take a few drafts, but people are time-poor and they don’t need to read your life story. Make it the highlights, and keep point 1. in mind – keep it about how you help that reader.
10. Make sure you keep it up to date
It isn’t often a page of a website that you read yourself after your website is published, but it is good to check in occasionally to make sure that it is still how you want to present yourself. Businesses and people evolve – so please check at least every 6 months and have a read.
I hope this inspires you to have a good look at your About page – and if you have any About page tips of your own to add to the list, please comment below!