Ah, those much-lauded, coveted customer testimonials and product reviews.
They’re the modern age’s version of word-of-mouth. They’re the “neighborly” endorsements that people tend to trust over outright company claims.
In professional language, we like to call this “social proof.” This is evidence from regular people – people like us – who have bought a product or service, tried it out, and have given their opinion on it for the benefit of others.
OptinMonster defines social proof as “a psychological phenomenon” that makes people tend to “conform to the actions of others.” Why? Because they believe that those actions are the right ones.
Basically, people who read product reviews and testimonials tend to believe them. Even more people follow by example – a glowing review or testimonial is more likely to make another consumer pull the trigger on a purchase. According to Consumerist, seven out of 10 people base their purchases on this form of social proof.
As you can see, social proof is incredibly valuable for businesses.
But, how do you use it for your business?
How to Harness the Power of Social Proof in Your Content Development
Social proof can give you an edge over the competition. Collect it and offer it up in your content.
1. Collect Testimonials by Following Up with Customers
Follow up with customers soon after your business transaction from them to ask for a testimonial. This is the right time because their experience with you will still be in their minds, ripe and fresh for the picking.
Or, if you have repeat customers who have developed a good relationship with you, you can collect feedback from these important people. Instead of straight-out asking for one, use strategic questions to get informative answers about your products/services, not just a recommendation.
Try asking direct questions, such as how much money your business saved the customer, how much time your services/product saved them, or about the biggest benefit they have experienced while using your business.
Need a smooth, easy way to collect customer testimonials online? Check out uReview.me – A reputation management platform that helps businesses monitor customer satisfaction, collect feedback and generate more positive online reviews. This program allows you to easily create request forms and monitor your online reviews, all in a customizable, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly format.
2. Include Social Proof in Your Content
Once you collect the social proof, you can include it in your content in clever ways.
- On website pages for your products/services – What better place for social proof than right on the pages where you’re selling your products/services? After all, customers listen to other customers. Put relevant positive feedback in the right spots to make your case (you want your website visitor to become a customer) and rack up those conversions.
- On your blog – Your blog gives you another opportunity to utilize social proof. Put your proof in your sidebar so visitors will notice glowing recommendations for you – this will keep it from becoming intrusive, too.
- In case studies – Testimonials add compelling evidence that helps support your case study claims and conclusions. Plus, they add that human element that will make the data more interesting to read.
- In social media posts – Create social media posts using your social proof. For instance, post a snippet from a testimonial that says something intriguing about one of your products or services.
- Collected on your website – If you have enough customer props, you can collect them all in one place on your website. Direct visitors to this page to subtly humblebrag.
- After CTAs – You can make your call-to-action far more tempting if you include a quote from a satisfied customer after you make the pitch. Just remember to keep it relevant to what you’re selling in your CTA.
Now that you know how to collect and strategically use customer feedback, learn how to make them as appealing as possible. This includes making them seem more reliable and trustworthy.
How to Make Testimonials More Authentic and Convincing
You can definitely make your customer reviews sound more appealing. You can do this by adding human elements that persuade people on subconscious levels.
Before we dive in, remember: not all customer reviews are created equally. Don’t feel pressured to quote them directly, especially if they have spelling or grammar mistakes. Go ahead and edit their words if you need to, or, paraphrase them to get to the meat of their praise for your business.
Then, use these other strategies to really make a testimonial note-worthy:
1. Add Customer Photos
Adding customer photos next to their reviews – literally putting a friendly face to a name – can help their words seem more authentic and truthful. You may feel indignant that buyers would doubt the trustworthiness of the feedback you present, but it’s just a fact. You and the buyer are at a remove from each other that doesn’t exist in a physical store.
However, provide a face with the review, and it immediately seems more believable. It’s almost comforting, in a way, and feels much closer to talking face-to-face with someone and getting their take.
The psychology behind the draw of the human face is fascinating, but it also proves a point: humans are attracted to – and trust – other human faces.
2. Tell a Story
Always remember that your audience is human, and humans love stories. We have been telling them to each other for thousands of years for a reason – first through speech, then through pictures, then through writing. We are naturally drawn to them because they provide meaning and sense-making in a world that often contains neither.
To make your customer feedback more compelling and relatable, tell it in story form.
Describe a customer problem, continue with how they came to you for help, and finish with the happy ending – how you solved their initial quandary and you both ended up satisfied. Sprinkle in customer quotes and relevant statistics as needed to support your tale.
3. Use Numbers and Statistics
Along with stories, we humans love to hear about precise results.
Exact numbers and percentages help us make clear judgments about value – at least, in our own minds.
If we’re presented with a specific number, we perceive that lots of calculations and research must have gone into coming up with that figure. Therefore, we’re more likely to trust it and give it credence. Use this bias to your advantage and include precise stats in your customer stories.
There are lots of other cognitive biases that influence us when we make decisions. For instance, the anchoring bias is when we give too much weight to the first piece of information we hear about a situation. The choice-supportive bias is when we feel positive about our choices, no matter how flawed they actually turned out to be.
4. Always Appeal to the Humans on the Other Side of the Screen
Whatever you do, always appeal to your human readers with customer stories. Human readers are more likely to trust faces attached to names, are attracted to storytelling, and give more weight to exact statistics. Combine all of these facets for powerful testimonials that are incredibly persuasive.
Humanize and Energize Your Content Development with Customer Reviews
If you don’t have a relatable human element when it comes to your content, you’re missing out.
Social proof is one of the best ways to get people to pull the trigger on your business. Most people rely on the feedback of other customers before they will engage with a company.
Potential customers are more likely to do business with you if they can read the opinions of other people who have done so first. This applies whether they’re purchasing your products or using your services. That undeniable human element is what’s at play, here, and you need to use it to your advantage.
Utilizing customer reviews and testimonials is one of the easiest ways to back up your claims and bolster trust in your leads. Most importantly, these show the rest of the world that people like you, they really like you – and that is incredibly powerful.
“We are very pleased with ureview.me and what it is doing for us. When we started this we had only two google reviews, zero BBB reviews, and not many Facebook reviews. Now we have 44 google reviews, we have 21 BBB reviews, and have gotten 10 or so Facebook reviews…