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Spread the word: Integrating testimonials into your digital presence

March 25, 2020 by Erin Brand

When thinking about buying a product or service, who would you trust more? Someone who works for the company? Or someone who’s worked with that company?
People consult reviews and testimonials to determine whether or not they trust a product, service, and even a seller. Studies show that buyers read seven reviews on average before deciding to trust a business.
With review-dedicated sites like Yelp, search-engines like Google, and social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, all providing your audiences with a platform to share their opinions, what’s the best way to harness these reviews into your own web presence?

Why integrate testimonials into your website

Of course, with these third-party platforms readily available, the first question may be, why bother integrating testimonials into your web design? Putting testimonials on your site all you to control the narrative by selecting which testimonials are featured – in some cases pre-empting search for independent reviews. Mostly it also allows you to weave your clients’ experience directly into your brand story.

Plug-ins to filter the good from the bad and ugly

Regardless of the CMS platform your site uses, many plug-ins allow you to stream testimonials directly into your website. If you have a volume of products and or customers, this can be an easy way to keep current testimonials on your site.
If you’re concerned about having to manage too many negative reviews or comments, there are services available, such as irevu that allow you to ‘filter’ out the bad reviews so only more or less positive reviews appear. Or embrace the idea that we’re all flawed and assign a brand ambassador who is responsible for responding to negative reviews in a timely and appropriate way so visitors to your site can see first-hand how you handle issues. You’d be surprised how a glimpse into how you navigate problems can reinforce why prospects should partner with you.

Word of mouth sound bytes

Testimonials set within the narrative can give your site a graphic element that breaks up the story in engaging ways. When testimonials reinforce the benefits of partnership, they can help visitors get a sense of your values at a glance. These are best kept short – and ideally include attribution. If a client doesn’t want to be attributed for confidentiality reasons, that’s fine. Just don’t include any attribution at all.

Testimonials as case studies

Having your successes told in your clients’ words can be a great way of adding both credibility and content to your site. When case studies are written in the voice of the client, you can radically reduce its length. The only question they need to answer is what impact your work had on their business.

Sharing testimonials via social media

Testimonials collected for your site are even more effective when integrated into your social strategy. Share short testimonials as branded text posts like these Instagram examples here and here. In this case, including the customer’s first name helps to provide context. Encourage conversation with your caption. (For instance: “This is what Sean says about Derek’s classes – have you tried one yet?”)
Another way to display and promote reviews on social is to create an Instagram Stories Highlight for reviews and testimonials. Repost, including the original caption, and highlight it to keep the testimonial in your Stories feed permanently.
If your digital plan includes paid social advertising, consider integrating testimonials into your campaign. While Facebook limits the amount of text in ads, short testimonials do increase clicks and conversions when used as a call-to-action or headline. Branded text posts are also an effective way to display testimonials as ads on Instagram. Be sure to keep the message short, and link back to your website with the full review if applicable.

How to collect testimonials

The key to asking for testimonials is to make it easy – and keep it top of mind. Strike while the iron is hot – immediately after a successful project or component. For instance, if you just wrapped a particularly productive campaign – or released a new product shipment – you can use that as the opportunity to ask for a testimonial, versus waiting until the invoice has been submitted.
If you conduct client satisfaction surveys, include an open field that encourages submission of a testimonial or review written in the client’s own words.
Or offer to write the testimonial on your client’s behalf. On the surface, this may feel presumptuous, but as long as it’s accurate, we find most clients appreciate having text to build on versus having to develop something from scratch.

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