Answering that question is one of the most fundamental tasks your website needs to accomplish - and it's as simple to do as it is important.
By using testimonials - reviews and comments from your satisfied customers, in text, audio, or video - on your website, you not only answer the question, you also transform your sales pitch into a credible, unbiased recommendation for your product.
Testimonials build trust: Whether your customers are raving about what your product has done for them or about the great service you gave, they are telling your visitors first and foremost that they had a positive experience with your products and company. Testimonials aren't "salesy": Because testimonials aren't written in your "voice," they stand out in your copy as candid and unbiased accounts of how well your product works. Testimonials overcome skepticism: A good testimonial has the power to convince even your "tough sell" visitors that your product or service really made a difference in your customer's life - and can help them, too. For example, let's say that you're selling a special lotion designed for dry skin. A visitor finds your website - someone with dry skin who needs some relief - and reads all about the amazing moisturizing ingredients in your product and how wonderful it smells.
Those are two good selling points - things that people would want to know before they decided to buy.
But lots of products can make those promises - and many of them don't work! So why should they purchase your product ahead of all the rest?
Then, as they look over the page, a testimonial catches their eye from one of your customers, explaining that your lotion quickly healed a lifelong, agonizing skin condition - something no other product had ever managed to do!
That's the power of an effective testimonial: it can convince your reader that your product DOES work - and that you can be trusted to deliver on your promises.
"I love this product! I can't get enough! I'm so glad I bought your stuff and I'll be back to get more, for sure!"
What could be wrong with that? It sounds like you have a happy customer on your hands!
But what does this testimonial really tell your visitors? Does this prove that the product works, or explain exactly how your customers benefited from using it? While the feedback is definitely positive, the testimonial does not provide enough detail to have any real impact on your visitors.
Here's an example of the kind of effective, benefits-driven testimonials that's worth including:
"I used the methods you told me to use and for three days my phone's been ringing! I sold over $3500 in goods and services in three days! It's the first time in 5 months that anyone had really purchased anything..."
Now that's a great testimonial! But what makes it so powerful?
Let's break down the elements of an effective testimonial in more detail...
A good testimonial is filled with benefits: A comment like, "This product is great!" is nice to hear, but it doesn't tell visitors what your product can do for them. You want the benefits of what you offer to be front and center in every testimonial: "This product doubled our profits in a month!" or "This product caused the pain in my back disappear completely - and did it fast!" or "We've never seen any product that could get the rust out of your car without damaging the paint - until now."
A good testimonial substantiates your claims: If you say your product can do something, your testimonials should back up your promises - complete with actual facts and figures. How much money did your customers save by using your product? How much time did they save by using your service? How did it solve their problems or improve their lives?
Now that you know what you're looking for in a testimonial, how do you gather the reviews you need from your customers?
So how do you collect the testimonials you need -- and keep them coming as you grow your business?
One easy way to collect testimonials is to include a link on your site with a form that allows your customers to give you their vote of confidence: "Tell us how this product changed your life!" or "Click here to let us know what you think!" Use this link next to some testimonials that you've already gathered to give customers an example of the kind of feedback you're looking for.
A more effective method is to create an autoresponder that contacts your buyers after they've purchased your product - even a month later - to ask how they're enjoying the product, as well as giving them a chance to offer feedback on their experience with your business.
And, of course, any time you receive a great letter or email from a customer, ask them if you can use their comments on your web site to recommend your product to others. If they are happy enough to let you know, they're bound to want to spread the word.
If you haven't yet begun selling your product and have no feedback yet, offer your product or service for free to a select group of customers in exchange for their thoughts on the product or some details on their experience with your site.
The impact that testimonials will have on your bottom line will be well worth the initial expense! As soon as your online business is up and running, make a point of giving every one of your customers a chance to share their experiences with your product or service. Ask for feedback - good and bad - from your autoresponders, your newsletters, and other spots on your website.
Place testimonials right in the middle of your homepage salescopy to keep your readers focused on your credibility as you outline the features and benefits of your product. Set up a whole page dedicated to your glowing testimonials, as well as include snippets of their comments throughout your site. Be sure to add a link to your testimonial page next to each of those snippets! Include testimonials on each and every page of your website. No matter where your visitors click, you want them to find a positive customer review of your product or service.
Now let's look at a few mistakes to avoid when using testimonials on your website...
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