92% of people trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know. The importance of social proof is evident in society now more than ever. With the online review industry booming, everybody checks restaurant websites before arriving, product reviews before purchasing and website testimonials before booking an appointment.
It makes no difference if friends or strangers provide social proof. What counts is that we’re seeing proof from our peers – in this case, other consumers – that the decision we’re going to make is the appropriate one. After all, what sounds more persuasive?
A friend recommending you try a new product or service provider?
An advertiser or company promoting their own product to you?
It’s normal to be skeptical of those who market themselves. However, when their customers praise them, it feels more natural, trustworthy, and secure. That is how social proof works.
Social proof is very powerful in business. Testimonials are another sort of social evidence. But the testimonial can’t seem unrealistic.
Key Principles of a Great Testimonial
For your testimonial to affect a potential client, it has to have these components:
- It has to be truthful. You can’t ask someone to lie or embellish what truly happened. People will be able to see right through it anyway.
- It is an endorsement of your product or website, meaning they must have actually used it. You can’t ask your sister to write a testimonial on your life insurance services if she keeps putting off purchasing.
- The testimonial should mention the qualities and how the service made the person feel. They need to say the why, not just the what.
Consider the following social proof data to show the value and power of testimonials:
- 97 percent of consumers check reviews before making a purchase.
- Testimonials have been demonstrated to increase sales page conversion rates by 34%.
- A single favourable review can increase conversions by up to 10%!
Now that you know the importance of testimonials for your business, here are some tips on how to get them.
How to Build a Great Testimonial System
Having a testimonial system in place is vital. Otherwise, you’ll be reaching out at random, which rarely works and can be awkward as well as ineffective. Here are ways you can make asking for a testimonial as part of your business routine.
Schedule an Email
After establishing a relationship with your client, schedule a task in your calendar to evaluate where you are. For some, it may be immediately after your first meeting, where other clients would have a better-suited follow-up in 3-6 months. Either way, it’s best to approach your clients individually and ask the right questions. You should prevent one-word replies by asking open-ended inquiries. Choose questions that extract not just their sentiments about working with you but also their narrative: the pain that compelled them to seek a solution, what drew them to you as a provider, what outcome they hoped for and what value they received by choosing you.
Use Quotes from Emails or Meetings
If someone says a positive word about how you do business in passing, in an email, or a meeting, you can use that as a testimonial. Write it down and remember to ask for the person’s permission! That way they feel less pressure to write something themselves.
Ask for Testimonials on Your Social Media
Open-ended questions might help you avoid one-word responses. Choose questions that elicit not just their sentiments about working with you but also their backstory: the pain that compelled them to talk to a professional, what drew them to you as a provider, what they hoped to gain, and what they valued.
What your customers say has an impact on your prospects’ impression of you. By asking effective testimonial questions, you force your customer to get to the heart of why they are pleased with your service. As a result, their endorsement is far more likely to be taken seriously by prospects who “see themselves” in the testimony.
Remember, once you have your testimonial, it shouldn’t end there. Don’t keep it sitting on an area of your website that will stay hidden. Use your testimonials:
- As a rotating feature sidebar on your blog.
- As a social media post.
- In your print market.
- On your landing pages.