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ISAE Blog

Ways to Gather and Use Testimonials on Your Association's Website

Posted by Michael Reynolds on Nov 23, 2016 12:00:00 PM

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Consumers are searching for background information on your company, products, and services. What will make them trust you? Slick taglines and promises of "going the extra mile" only go so far. They want to know what your association members and prospective members say about you.

Maybe you've considered using customer reviews, but you weren't sure if it was a good idea. Are they a useful addition to your website or just something viewers will skim over? Let's talk about the benefits of an old-fashioned testimonial on your modern website. 

Benefits of Testimonials
The number one reason to use testimonials is to establish trust.

Humans love to hear from other humans about their personal experience with a company. Think about it—if you're looking for a doctor, or plumber, or a babysitter, you're likely to ask a friend or neighbor. You know and trust these people and you know they will give you their true opinion about their experience with a professional. 

Testimonials serve the same purpose. Yeah, you probably don't know the person who wrote it, but it serves as social proof—the company has rendered excellent service and a person was compelled to write about it. Let your customers do your bragging for you!

Another major benefit to positive online reviews? SEO. Google and other search engines factor in online reviews of your business into search rankings. SEO experts say this includes social media discussions and reviews from third party sites.

Format
There are a number of ways you can use your clients' praise in a testimonial. Let's break it down:

  • Video – This can be as simple as an interview with your customer or you can jazz it up. You can do a voiceover or just make it visual, using images and words with music playing over it. Make it short and keep it tight, with the customers' words being your primary focus.
  • Written – These can be collected from your customers through an automated survey process, a form on your website, or even notes you've made over the course of a sales call. Before you use this information for a review, ALWAYS be sure you've obtained permission to use their names and the review from your clients.
  • Social Media – Something as simple as a conversation on your Facebook page with a happy customer can become postive digital word of mouth. The same goes for Twitter—whether you engage with the client or simply retweet a nice comment, you're spreading the word about your organization without speaking directly.
  • Ratings – You can always provide your customers with the abilty to rate their experience. Whether you use a star system (five stars is excellent, one star abysmal) or a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, you allow your clients to share their opinion quickly.

How to Get Reviews
It might feel awkward soliciting reviews from your clients. We get it—nobody wants to chase down praise. But, like we said before, it can be a major boon to your business. Take a deep breath, and let's get started.

Third Party Reviews – Some industries have access to third party reviews, such as Amazon, Angie's List, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google to show proof of your awesomeness. Third party reviews are powerful; they seem more trustworthy and you're (presumably) not involved in the process, so your viewers can generally trust that the reviews are unbiased. (We won't go down the rabbit hole of phony reviews, paying for reviews, or other controversies associated with review sites...we'll leave that for another time). Encourage your customers and clients to leave a review on a related review site, if appropriate, to boost your online reputation.

If someone searches "SpinWeb," here is what Google serves up. Notice the Facebook 5 star rating...and the lack of Google reviews. Who wants to be the first to review SpinWeb on Google Places? Personally, I find the Google Places ratings very valuable as I'm traveling and searching for restaurants on Google Maps. The B2B space may not need Google Reviews so much for this purpose, but the SEO benefit is still a factor, so consider ways to get your clients and customers to leave a review.

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Satisfied Customer Reviews – As you might assume, these are reviews you've gathered from satisfied customers or clients. Sometimes, when a client is really pleased, they might offer to give you a testimonial. TAKE THEM UP ON IT. When you're ready to break it out, be sure to use an image of the client. It will aid in the authenticity of the review if it's displayed next to the person who gave it. 

Turn it into a story, like this example from WoodTruss Systems:

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Peer and Partner Testimonial – The approval of your peers in the industry can lend credence to your business. If your competition has positive things to say about you, you must know your stuff! Additionally, good reviews from community leaders are taken seriously by potential customers. If, say, the mayor of your city were to have a great experience with your company and agreed to write a lovely review about it, this could make a great impression on someone browsing your site.

Employee Testimonials – Who knows your business better than the people who work there? Nobody! Get your team members to talk about why they love their jobs and why they love working with your clients. Be sure to keep it focused on your customers.  

Incorporation
You've collected a library of testimonials, but where do you put them? We've got a few ideas about that.

  • Homepage – Put that complimentary review right out on your front page. This is particularly effective with a video or with a power image and a quote from a longer testimonial. Let all visitors know just how much your customers love you and your work!
  • Social Media – Highlight happy customers, share video testimonials, images and quotes, and share your third party reviews and ratings. 
  • Testimonial SectionYou can round up all the nice comments your clients have left for you in one handy spot on your website. Be sure to use images of people whenever possible and use this space to link out to your third party review sites, too. 
  • Sidebar – This is a place for you to share the love. Link out to your client and customer websites (if it's appropriate). Check out the sidebar of our main website pages for an example.

This post was originally published on the SpinWeb blog.

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Topics: Association, website

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