Client testimonials are quickly becoming the number one tool for building the credibility of a brand.
It’s not a secret that 88 percent of buyers trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation. Almost 39 percent of people report going through online reviews on a regular basis and 85 percent of buyers report that they read up to 10 reviews before making a purchasing decision.
This all sounds great but getting positive reviews and making those a successful part of the marketing mix isn’t an easy task. Several important approaches have to be kept in mind, in order to increase audience engagement and make the most of the buyer-generated testimonials.
The Importance of Implicit Egotism
Implicit egotism is a very important term in the world of marketing. It refers to unconscious preferences that people experience for things and people that share similar characteristics to themselves.
What this means in the world of advertising is that potential buyers are likely to trust testimonials written by individuals who are similar to them in terms of buying preferences, social status, location, occupation, age group, etc.
To make the most of testimonials, you need to have a pretty good idea about the characteristics of your target audience. Based on this information, you can make a request for an honest review written by a person that your prospects will empathize with.
Photos Build Trust
Do you know what one of the simplest options for establishing credibility is? Building your reputation and trustworthiness may be as simple as adding photographs to your testimonials.
New research sheds a lot of light on how people respond to visual information. It appeals to the person’s subjective or instinctual perception of truth. In an experiment, people perceived a claim to be more truthful whenever it was accomplished by an image.
Adding a reviewer photograph to a testimonial acts in a very simple yet powerful way. It gives the anonymous individual that is sharing their opinion a face and a personality. People are visual creatures, which is why testimonials accompanied by photographs tend to perform much better than just text.
When going for such images, make sure that their quality is sufficiently high. A smiling face gets people to open up and respond positively to the information being presented. Such an approach will be even more beneficial when you have an entire testimonial section (plus images) on your homepage.
Video Testimonials are Another Great Idea
If you’d like to move beyond the demand of high quality written testimonials, you may want to consider experiments with different formats. Video testimonials are becoming increasingly popular because they take visual information to the next level.
A video testimonial offers a massive deviation from the standard format. It sheds some light on the personality of the individual speaking. It presents the human behind the purchasing decision and the information is a lot easier to perceive.
Producing your own video testimonials doesn’t require lots of equipment and extensive editing skills. On top of being relatively easy to conduct, such clips give you a lot of freedom when it comes to experimenting with content. You can let the person speak for a minute or two or you can carry out an interview. You can even present the reviewer using the product or service being described.
Don’t be Afraid of Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are an absolute nightmare for brands and marketing professionals. These, however, should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat.
Studies show time and time again that people are skeptical of overly positive reviews and companies that seem to have solely satisfied customers. Some even argue that bad reviews can improve conversion rates by as much as 67 percent.
Researchers have found out that before buying a product, people look for both positive and negative customer-generated content. If they come solely across positive testimonials, they begin suspecting fakeness in the reviews.
On top of building your credibility, negative reviews can also be used to turn the tide around.
Addressing the legitimate concerns and complaints of dissatisfied clients suggests the power of customer service. Offering a compensation and addressing the issue in an adequate way reveals your company’s desire to please customers. By not being afraid of online complaints, you can easily improve your image and turn skeptics into loyal fans.
The Number One Rule of Using Testimonials: Don’t Fake It
While this one is a fact all reputable marketers understand, it’s still crucial to put emphasis on the credibility of online testimonials.
One thing you should never do is write testimonials yourself or pay somebody else to generate such content for you.
Today’s internet user is becoming more and more aware of online selling tactics. People who read reviews know what a genuine testimonial feels like. A fake review will be very easy to spot and it will affect the brand’s reputation in a negative way.
In addition, various websites have come into existence for the purpose of providing information about fake reviews. If a brand gets included in such a database, it will become almost impossible to get its reputation fixed.
Testimonials are too important to be ignored when coming up with a practical inbound marketing strategy. Their prominence will continue to grow as more and more people turn to the internet for information. The time is now to take a proactive approach in terms of getting high-quality client reviews. A lot can be done to steer your clients in the right direction without impacting their opinions or diminishing the authenticity of the testimonials they produce.
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