You’ve overcome the obstacles of remembering to ask, or being afraid to ask, for testimonials. You’ve worked out the best methods for asking to get succinct and wonderful reviews from your clients. Now what?
It’s time to choose one or more methods to obtain them. The first obstacle to overcome is that those great reviews are still stuck in your customers’ heads. How do you get them onto your own site(s) so that they’re useful to prospective customers?
Options for Testimonial Platforms
There are many methods to choose from. Do you:
- Send them a SASE postcard or form they can handwrite their testimonials on and mail back to you?
- Show them “before” and “after” photos of the work you did for them and ask them to comment on both?
- Video their testimonial comments?
- Ask them to call a phone number that automatically records their audio review?
- Send them an email requesting feedback with a link to:
- Your Yelp channel?
- Google My Business page?
- Facebook page review?
- Trip Advisor?
- Angie’s List?
There are myriad options for capturing your customers’ feedback. How do you choose which one (or more) is right?
Choosing the Best Platform for Testimonials
What’s your primary customer profile?
If your business serves mostly senior citizens, making Yelp or an email auto-responder the primary method of asking for and collecting testimonials seems like a mis-match. There are fewer senior citizens with technology savvy than there are in younger generations. If, however, your business operates entirely online with a customer base of millennials, digital solicitation for reviews may be right on target since this age group has been online since practically birth!
What if you have a mix of clients that seem to use both Yelp and branded websites to review businesses?
You’re in for double the work! Remember, your clients may have favorite ways of providing testimonials. Some may be heavy Yelp reviewers, in which case you must make your page on that platform easily accessible to those users. On the other hand, you may have customers who dread the idea of opening a free account on Yelp. If you don’t provide an equally easy way for them to submit a testimonial for you, they won’t give you one at all.
It is highly likely you may need to provide more than one method for customers to submit testimonials to you. The most important part is getting that testimonial in the first place, regardless of the platform used.
Business category may determine testimonial platform
How do most customers find your business type? If you’re in the hospitality business, great Yelp reviews are essential to success. Use the platform most commonly used by your business category. Restaurants also need Yelp as do hotels. But many businesses have no category representation on Yelp. So you must look to other channels. If you are a business consultant, having an array of fantastic testimonials on LinkedIn may be the preferred platform for potential clients.
Choosing the Best Time to Ask for a Review
Asking at the right time is just as crucial as asking on the right platform. Amazon’s algorithm is timed to ask for product reviews within a relatively short period of time after product delivery to the customer.
I have seen equally bad timing in asking for a product or service review. If you sell online educational courses, asking for a review before the customer has had adequate time to take the course just seems ill-advised– particularly if your course indicates the student should spread the lessons out over a month (an example). Why would you ask for a review one week into receipt of the course when the customer has yet to determine if s/he made a great purchase?
On the other hand, if you sell shoes or clothes online, the customer may be the most thrilled with her purchase within a couple of days of receipt. Strike while the iron is hot (and happiest)!
How to Display Testimonials for Greatest Impact with Prospective Clients
On third-party platforms such as Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, LinkedIn and Facebook, you have no control or options on how your reviews are displayed. But you do on yourown site!
Is it helpful for your prospects to see the reviewer’s:
- Name, title and company name?
- Link to their own site?
- Full or truncated text of the testimonial?
- Video review?
- Audio review play button?
- Rating / Stars / Score?
You may be thinking the answer is “yes” to all of them, but is it practical to obtain all of them? Do your customers have privacy concerns about leaving any of this information that will prohibit them from providing a testimonial? Anonymity may be crucial to your success if you provide confidential advice such as financial planning or medical services.
Next, narrow down your wish list for testimonials to “must have” information for submission to your web designer. Most importantly, where should you display these testimonials for highest visibility and user value?
Do you display the testimonials on:
- Your home page?
- A dedicated Reviews or Testimonials page?
- Sprinkled throughout all your webpages as accents to grab attention?
- Your slider carousel on the home page or other pages?
- As pop ups?
Answer: Discuss the options and potential results with your web designer. After agreeing upon how testimonials will be collected on, or for, your website and displayed, track the results! Regularly review your Google Analytics to understand the impact of displaying (and/or collecting) testimonials on your site:
- Does your bounce rate decrease?
- Does your length of stay on page increase?
- Does the visitor traffic increase?
- Do you see an increase of page flow from your testimonials page to your “buy” page?
- Does it bring you more customers? Shorten the sales cycle? Or, improve the quality of new customers?
Dealing with Testimonial Technical Hurdles
There are myriad plug-in products available for collecting and displaying testimonials on your website, both free and with for-pay premium features. I found a wonderful review of many of these options in Why WordPress Testimonials Can Generate More Selling Power Than the Best Sales Copy.
Having spent considerable time tinkering with several of the options reviewed in the article, I opted for Strong Testimonials. It offered simple structure, flexibility and necessary security. Best of all, it had a speedy installation and setup. But there are several on the market which may be suitable for your business.
There are many methods of collecting and displaying your customer testimonials. The goal is to increase conversions by making the sales cycle move faster when prospects see how happy past customers have been with your work.
There is one caveat to that rule, however: Own your own testimonials!
We’ve all heard stories from colleagues about raving third-party reviews “disappearing” when they decline to pay for the third-party’s paid service. (You know whom I refer to!) If 90% or more of your testimonials are on a third-party site (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google…), be sure you keep a copy of the testimonial!
One way to compliment the third-party site (which may or may not be trafficked by some of your customers) is to duplicate the testimonial on your own site, with a link to the original review. Be sure to include full attribution.
The bottom line is that you have little or no control over your “page” on third-party sites. Be sure you protect long-term assets, such as testimonials, in the event that third-party site becomes unavailable.
TIP: The best way to get great testimonials? Give some! Set yourself a goal to give one great testimonial a week. Choose your platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp. There’s nothing quite like receiving a great testimonial from a client or colleague to inspire them to give you one in return!