Why testimonials are one of the best marketing tools (and how to use them)

You’re good at what you do. Your website is getting the message across that your service or product is the best for your customer’s particular problems and they should choose you. But how do they know this is really the case?

Anyone can say anything online (and they often do!), so it’s natural that many of us have become dubious and critical of the claims we see on websites trying to sell us things. We look for proof that the product or service on offer really does solve the problem and that the proof comes from an independent third party with real-life experience.

Testimonials are social proof that what you claim is true

It really is that simple, and why testimonials are so important to your marketing efforts. Much like we check the food hygiene certificate in the window of the restaurant when we’re perusing where to eat, we check to see if a business is safe, reliable, and going to give us the care we need when dealing with our problem.

Let’s take website design as an example. There are many people on the internet selling websites, from virtual assistants to web developers, web designers, and agencies. They all make similar claims to be able to build you a functioning and attractive website, but the prices vary from just a few hundred to several thousand. How do you know which one to choose?

Testimonials.Picture of a laptop with the words success stories on it

You can read through what other customers have had to say about the websites they had built and the web building process. You check if they’re from a similar industry as you, if the website is similar to what you need and that the individual was happy with what they received. Using this, you feel much more comfortable in your decision making to choose the right website maker for you.

And this is why you need to be using testimonials within your own website and marketing to help your customers use the same decision-making process about your business.

Why testimonials rather than recommendations?

“But people cherry-pick the testimonials on their website, how do I know they’re really accurate, I’m better off going to Google reviews, or social media, or Trust Pilot, right?”

While there is some truth to this and why it’s so important to ensure you collect reviews alongside testimonials, create case studies, and are actively marketing on social media, there is a reason why testimonials on a website are powerful.

People with a problem are in a hurry to fix it. It doesn’t matter if self-assessment is looming, and they need a bookkeeper or if they need a new printer. Once we identify we have a problem, we want to know it’s solved quickly and easily. So, we go online and Google search for what we need and check out a few websites to find the right solution for us.

Because we’re eager to find a fast solution, testimonials can often swing for it us to buy there and then (or make contact). If something looks good and there are testimonials easily available that backs this up, that is enough information for a reliable decision to be made in most cases.

Where reviews work better is for big label purchases that time can be taken over. Your next car, a holiday, etc. There’s no urgency involved so people will take longer and search wider for more information than an individual with a problem that needs solving sooner rather than later.

What’s the best way to use testimonials in your marketing?

So, we’ve established that testimonials are important for providing social proof to your marketing claims, but what is the best way to use them? Here are my key suggestions.

Testimonial’s page – a recognisable place to put your testimonials so your website visitors can find them easily.

Dotted throughout your website – ideally, you want the social proof to be next to the claim you’re making so your audience has everything immediately visible in one place. This is why you’ll often see two or three testimonials on sales pages. I recommend at least one on each key page of your website.

Share them on social media – you don’t need to wait until you have a visitor on your website to show that you’re good at what you do. Sharing your testimonials on social media and talking about what you did and how it helped your customer can be a powerful form of marketing.

Discuss them at networking events – stories are a great way to share what you do and to make an impact in a short amount of time at a networking event. If you have a two-minute slot, read a testimonial and briefly discuss what you did. It can be a great talking point for breakout sessions and 1-2-1s.

Use within your case studies – having case studies on your website (whether as blogs or part of a page) can be a great way of giving your services or products context and helping your audience to picture how they might work for them. So, adding a testimonial here can really help sway the reader.

Printed marketing materials – if you produce “pitch packs” for potential clients, or have a brochure, etc adding testimonials here are a great way to enforce that social proof.

Hopefully, you’ll find these ideas useful on how and where to use your testimonials. Do you find it difficult to collect testimonials and use them within your business? I’d love to hear your experiences or any testimonial tips and tricks you have!