I think we can all agree that testimonials are a great additional to any website.  Happy customers send trust signals to potential customers, who then become actual customers, who then become happy customers that will give you a testimonials to send trust signals to potential customers…and so it goes on. So having them can be a key factor in improving your conversion rate, and if the customer is happy they are usually more than willing to provide you with a glowing reference.  So you now have a valuable resource that we can put on your website, but implementing a testimonial to get the maximum benefit is more often than not where people trip up.

Where It Goes Wrong

The main area it goes wrong is the presentation of the testimonial and the key mistakes that most website owners make are:

Let’s take a look at each point in turn.

Not Getting What You Want

So you make the effort to reach out to the customer and ask them for a testimonial, but the problem is that’s all you do, you simply ask “Would you mind writing a testimonial for my website?”.  This can be testimonial suicide, as you are giving no guidance to the customer what exactly you want.  They may reply with a one liner or a two page essay, and they may not even say the things that your potential customers really want to hear, which is the entire purpose of a testimonial.  You need to make it easy for the customer while making sure you get what you want and this can be done very simply and effectively.  Check out this example below:

Hi Joe,

It has been a pleasure working with you and I would be super grateful if I could share some of your thoughts on the service for me to add a short testimonial to our website. If possible could you answer the three questions below about the service, it doesn’t need to be long just one or two sentences for each.

 

1. What fears or difficulties did you have about creating a website and how did I help you overcome them?

 

2. What would you say has been the best part about the service?

 

3. If you were to recommend the service to a friend what would you say to them?

 

I would also like to put a small profile image of you with the testimonial just so people know it is from a real person! If you have no objections and can supply me with one that would be really appreciated!

 

Many Thanks and Best Regards,

Michael Jones

You can see from this message we are being clear about what we want, we are guiding the customer with what to write, we state that it only needs to be very short (so not time consuming for them) and we request an image.  A message like this rather than a simple testimonial request is going to make the content of the testimonial much more beneficial and relevant to your potential customers.

Copying And Pasting

So you have your testimonial, which is great, but make sure it is what you want displaying on your website.  Don’t be afraid to correct spelling or grammar errors or even remove parts if you think they are not good enough.  People are not going to read all your testimonials, they may only read one or two so make sure each one priceless in it’s content.

A Boring List

A boring list of testimonials is essentially…boring! People won’t read it, so make sure your testimonials are displayed in an attractive format, clearly separating each one and providing all the relevant information about the customer (name, image, company, link to website etc…)

Not Including A Profile Image

It may seen like something minor to you, but a profile image of the customer can make a testimonial much more effective.  By giving an image to the text it makes much more real in the eyes of the site visitor or potential customer and this builds more trust, increasing the likelihood of them converting to a real customer.

Not Including A Link

This may not apply to some of business, but if you can link to a website or portfolio item on your site that shows the visitor exactly what your customer is talking about this can be gold for you, so where possible add a link where your website visitor can get more information of service you provided to this specific customer.

One point not mentioned on the list, but is very relevant is how many testimonials to include on your website.  I would say a maximum of 5 or 6 great testimonials os more than enough.  Remember a testimonials is not a review, it is content that you are using on your website to represent your business and service, and in this you should prioritise quality over quantity.