Why Client Testimonials Are so Important and Effective
Client testimonials are such an important part of your business that you would be a fool not to get them, generate them, and use them. They show off your services, they state who you are and what you can do. They will boost your business profile and income and below we’ll tell you exactly how and why.
It is all about public perception. You want to book a hotel for an overnight stay – you read what previous guests have said about it, you want a meal out during your stay – you google the restaurant reviews, best bars for a nightcap – what does your review app tell you. And if you do it, you can be pretty sure others do it too, for all kinds of products and services.
What is a client testimonial?
Put simply, the client testimonial is the review of your work and service. Written directly by the client or transcribed with their permission, the testimonial should form a vitally important part of your website and marketing. But unlike reviews, testimonials are controlled, collected, collated, and published by your business.
It is the blurb on the back of a book that forces you to buy it, it is the quote on the film poster that persuades you to watch it, it is the 60-second youtube clip of the unknown South American soccer player that moves the chairmen to open his wallet.
And client testimonials are massively important, they deserve a dedicated section of your site and should be prominently displayed throughout the rest of the site, used on advertising, incorporated into your market strategy, on social media, and maybe even printed out and placed next to your bed to guarantee sweet dreams.
So, why are they so important?
They are important for so many reasons. You may be confident in your skills and abilities, you may trust your experience and qualifications, you may have frighteningly motivated staff all pushing in the same direction, you may be trustworthy, honest, reliable, dedicated, and conscientious – but does the client believe you? You can say it, write it, sell it, market it, and ooze it out of every single pore but the statistics show that clients (9 out of 10) believe recommendations, referrals, and testimonials more than they believe you. The add the legitimacy that is often questioned especially with online businesses and essentially that makes clients more willing to use your services.
1. They provide social proof
If everyone wants it I do too. This is social proof, the idea that everyone wants the product, everyone rates this site, everyone likes this service – and everyone can’t be wrong.
In Communist Eastern Europe, the rule used to be – if you see a queue for a shop, join it. It didn’t matter what you were queuing for, the fact there was a queue and therefore a product some people wanted, needed. Social proof in a nutshell. Celebrity endorsement, influencers, even friends and family – people are persuaded by others. 92% of customers read online reviews before buying (Big Commerce), testimonials are your equivalent.
And it’s not only people you know, 70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers (Nielsen).
2. They can explain how your services work
You can spend hours and hours mulling over your content writing skills. Analyzing each word and phrase to make sure you’ve hit the right tone and been clearly informative. Breaking down exactly what you offer, and how it works, selling the idea, building the ethos and mentality. It helps, for sure. Don’t get me wrong you need to do this and you need to do this well.
But…..clients know what you’re doing, they know how it works, they probably do it themselves. How trustworthy are your claims? 97% of B2B customers cited testimonials and peer recommendations as to the most reliable type of content. (Demand Gen Report)
These testimonials, back up your claims. They turn the theory into practicality. They can describe in a few sentences exactly how your services work and what they get from you. “Great quality, fantastic communication, professional attitude to problem-solving”. That’s probably 2 pages of your content writing summed up in 8 words.
3. And how you’ve solved the client’s problem
Lots of testimonials are general comments on your qualities and end-of-project results. That’s great as far as it goes, it’s not easy getting more detail from busy clients, rushing to move on to the next idea.
However, if you’ve done something a little different, more than expected, broken out of the boundaries set to push the result to an excellent level, found a solution to a killer problem – then you really want some detail in the testimonial. These are the key testimonials that will prove you to be better than the rest, will immediately catch the attention of browsing potential clients, and will draw them into your web.
It is understandable that clients are busy and don’t want to spend precious time going back over all the details of your genius, so make it easy for them. Offer to put the testimonial into words yourself and just get them to read it and sign off on it, or even consider quicker video testimonials.
4. They humanize your brand
Testimonials connect your brand and business with real-life clients and customers. The testimonial writers could be us – we empathize, we’ve been there and done that, had that problem; we are interested in others, curious about their opinions. We read between the lines of what they say to understand how they felt.
Testimonials are the addictive fly-on-the-wall documentary that you are unwittingly drawn into, they hit home, they make you real, you are a defined image rather than a vague idea.
5. They work like referrals
Referrals are perfect, someone has been so impressed by you that they are willing to risk their reputation by telling a friend or colleague that you are the business to work with. The new client arrives in a positive frame of mind and a willingness to make this a success. This initial contact sets the scene for the rest of the relationship.
Testimonials do a similar job, in fact, according to Big commerce statistics, 88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from family or friends. This possibly says more about your trust for your family and friends than the reviews themselves – but stats are stats.
The truth is that if clients are attracted to you by a series of positive endorsements and testimonials they arrive with positive expectations, this puts you in a great position to turn inquiries into contracts, and first impressions into impressive first projects.
6. They can create an emotional connection
We’ve referred to how testimonials humanize your business by creating a human angle and creating real people from text laden sites. So the testimonial page is the key to your actual physical existence. Now they know you are real, you want the client to connect.
Trust is an enormous word in the field of all online businesses. Clients can’t walk in off the street to meet you face-to-face, they don’t get the same sense of who you really are, are you a truly professional agency working out of air-conditioned offices with highly motivated, specialized staff, or is the website a front for some fly-by-night teenager holed up in a back bedroom, desperate to make enough cash for the summer.
72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in business (Big Commerce). Testimonials are your credibility, your legitimacy, the vital persuader that not only do you exist but you do as promised, the last deep breath you take before you jump into the chilly ocean.
7. And because all of the above, they increase conversions
The figures show that potential clients who read the testimonials are much more likely (58% -BigCommerce) to convert and on average, testimonials on sales pages increase conversions by 34% (Impact).
These conversations increase revenue
Spectoos cites figures suggesting that clients are likely to spend 31% more with a business that has positive customer testimonials, and whilst these figures are often based on sales type sites, there is a definite relationship between these increases and service agencies too.
Testimonials are perfect for increasing confidence in service, making testimonials one of your most powerful tools for increasing the chances of purchase and reducing resistance and risk for employing your services. Using customer and client testimonials regularly can generate around 62% more revenue (Strategic Factory).
Testimonials also increase traffic and SEO bringing more people to your site, and greatly increasing your chances of snaring a browsing client. The search engines try to find the most accurate result for searched queries and questions, and your testimonials will serve to answer some of these queries. Yotpo claims that Websites using testimonials saw a 45% increase in traffic and BigCommerce state that having 10 or more reviews increased traffic 15 to 20% on Google Business listings.
The facts speak loud and clear, testimonials do a great job. They directly improve conversion chances and thus revenue, they improve your brand, drive extra traffic, and they even act as an information hub.
And these pluses are the clear practical business bonuses. You also have the satisfaction of hearing feedback and reading praise for you and your staff, great motivation that pushes you onwards and upwards.
Why wouldn’t you?