Know the best practices for testimonials that make your web content sing!
There’s no doubt about it. Testimonials can play a powerful web-content supporting role in establishing credibility for your business, helping prospects envision themselves enjoying the outcome of your products and/or services… AND optimizing your site for search engines if keywords are included.
The best testimonials are authentic, specific, short, relevant and REAL. Allow me to explain.
When you include a strong quote that sounds like it’s coming from a person’s spoken words or personally written note, it comes across as genuine and believable. So if someone gives you a great testimonial but the grammar or punctuation isn’t exactly perfect, don’t polish it! Leave it as is for that human conversational touch.
Here’s an example of an authentic testimonial from a page on the Bark Busters website: “Rave reviews and many thanks for Leigh Ann and the wonderful (and unique) training provided by Bark Busters! Training includes all pet behavioral problems—not just barking—and works like a charm. Saved our sanity and turned our fur-kids into model “citizens,” making us happy and our neighbors even more so!
For a testimonial to be a winner, make sure it’s as specific as possible. Here’s an example from my ContentClear Marketing website’s coaching page: “With Pam’s help on a recent site I wrote, my client’s traffic improved and their search engine results went from ‘non-existent’ to the 1st and 2nd pages.” Merrill Clark, Crestview Marketing.
This is much more useful to your prospect than a simple, “Pam’s work was wicked awesome!”
Great testimonials serve as punctuation marks. They don’t dominate a website. They add spice here and there. They bring your promises and claims to life. Think of it as telling a great story to your friends. You’ll be halfway into the story and another friend chimes in, “I’ll say! Thanks to the two howling dogs, it was the funniest car ride ever and worth the $65 I paid toward gas!” That simply adds flavor and a “third party endorsement” to your story.
So ideally, the testimonial will be a brief and punchy statement, not long-running paragraphs unless it truly is a story that needs to be told in its entirety.
When you include testimonials on your site, make sure they’re 100% relevant to the topic of your web page. You want to avoid having people go, “HUH?” when they read a testimonial that has nothing to do with the product or service being featured on your page. And of course, you’ll want to maximize keyword use, so relevance is gold.
For instance, if you’re selling indestructible dog toys, be sure to have a testimonial that says something like, “Finally! A fun set of indestructible dog toys that Lexi can play with for more than a day!”
You may be shocked to learn that some marketers think it’s perfectly OK to use fake testimonials. But sooner or later, people know a rat when they see one.
If your mission is to build trust and a lasting relationship with your prospects, it would be better to include NO testimonials than to have fake versions.
To present a testimonial as “real,” try to include the person’s name, town and state unless you can’t for confidentiality reasons. Even better, include a real candid photograph of the person if possible. And always get signed or emailed permission to use the testimonial and person’s information.
One more important thought about using testimonials to your advantage:
Weave testimonials into each page’s text or sidebars instead of keeping them all on a separate Testimonials page. This keeps the testimonials super-relevant to each page’s topic and more visible to your prospects. Plus it helps optimize specific web pages for search engines.
Until next time,
Here’s to a clear and prosperous site!