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The Six Elements Of A Perfect Testimonial

Did you know that social proof can help you optimize your digital marketing efforts, and landing page in particular, for conversions? Unless you’re new in the inbound marketing game, that piece of news probably doesn’t come as a shocker. What might surprise you, though, is just how important the right kind of social proof is for your conversion optimization.

Marketers across industries are taking advantage of testimonials in order to convince potential customers that their brand and product can hold its promise of values and benefits. Some of these testimonials are great, and play a core role in driving web visitors toward conversion. Others… not so much.

Where do you fall? To help you collect and publish customers testimonials that actually help improve your conversion rates, consider these 6 core elements.

1) A Credible Source

In any type of content marketing, credibility is key. That much is not a shocker, considering how much of your goals should be centered on thought leadership.

Of course, the same is true for your testimonials as well. The source of the commentary on your brand should come from a credible, authentic source. The more likely your audience is to at least have a passing familiarity with the person or brand associated with the testimonial, the more likely it will be to help drive conversions.

Global App Testing, for example, is a crowdsourced quality assurance company that has helped some big names in the software space. So what better name to get for its homepage testimonial than a high-ranking official at Facebook? Even smaller companies will gladly sign on to a service that has successfully helped the largest social media network in the world.

2) Visual Focus

Again, the fact that visual elements are key to great digital content should not come as a surprise for any experienced marketer. Given the significant improvements in attention and engagement that visual content brings with it, every piece of content you create needs to have at least one visual element.

The simplest variation of this rule is an image of the person who is giving the testimonial, preferably in an environment that makes sense with your product or brand. But you can also go one step further, creating a video testimonial that both attracts and engages your web visitors.

3) Original Content

Every testimonial you place on your website and landing pages needs to add something to the page. In other words, don’t add a quote that simply regurgitates what you’re already saying in the headline and main copy. Instead, try to find quotes that build on the benefits you outline elsewhere.

The most obvious example of this approach is a use case of your product or brand. If you state on your landing page that your financial software company can help small businesses streamline their accounting, add a testimonial of a current client explaining just how it can accomplish that.

4) Natural Language

It’s tempting to over edit testimonials you receive from your clients, or even suggest pre-written text that your clients just have to sign off on for publication on your website. At the same time, it’s absolutely crucial to resist that urge, and go with your clients’ choice of words and language instead.

Your audience is smarter than you think. They’ll notice when the testimonial is written in the exact same style as the rest of your website, instantly dropping your credibility as a result. Instead, allow your clients to describe in their own words how your product or service helps them. Edit minor typos or misspellings, but keep the overall structure of the quote in your customers’ hands.

5) A Tight Focus

There is only one thing your visitors hate more than an inauthentic testimonial: having to read through a wall of text just to understand what it’s actually about. Our attention span online is only 8 seconds long. Hence, your testimonials depend on that short attention span as much as the rest of your website content.

That means sweeping statements or lengthy stories have no place in a website testimonial. Use them for case studies, instead. They can become powerful pieces of your content marketing strategy in their own right. For your testimonials, keep the focus tightly on supporting the value proposition you build through the rest of your landing page.

6) Details, Details, Details

It might seem contradictory to the previous point. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. Your testimonials should always maintain a tight focus and avoid getting too wordy. Simultaneously, they need to include enough details to be authentic.

Here’s why.

Anyone can claim that your product helped them “improve their lives”. But once you add details, the statement becomes infinitely more compelling. To stay with the above example of a financial services company, consider these two statements as potential quotes:

  • [software] helped us streamline our accounting and save time.
  • [software] helped us streamline our accounting through a centralized financial system, saving at least 1 hour of time every work day.

The second statement is significantly more powerful, thanks to the level of detail provided. Now, other small businesses can begin to imagine the same benefit of the software applying to their own company.

Incorporate these six elements, and you’ll be able to create powerful testimonials that can make a significant impact in your conversion optimization. But of course, you still need to know how to incorporate this type of social proof into your marketing strategy.

– Mike Templeman

Read Mike’s original post on “The Six Elements Of A Perfect Testimonial.


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