Building Authority and Trust with Testimonials

testimonialsWhat’s the big deal with testimonials? As a small business, it’s important to recognize that potential customers place a lot of weight on reviews and that they are becoming increasingly influential. Testimonials can make or break your business’ credibility. In fact, a study from earlier this year shows that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Many small business owners fear customer reviews, especially sites like Yelp or Citysearch where customers can “bomb” their listing with bad reviews. There are aspects of reviews you can’t completely control, but it’s important that you monitor your online reputation and respond in a timely and sincere manner. Reviews are important to customers because it helps them determine if the business is reputable and trustworthy. Here are 4 easy steps you can take to buildup and showcase positive testimonials:

Make it Easy for Customers to Review and Leave Feedback
This is where an easy to access Testimonials page on your site can help. You are in complete control of this content and you can also add success stories, effective case results and other content to supplement positive customer experiences. It can also be as easy as leaving a Leave Feedback button or dedicated space on your site.
Some businesses even post links to all their listings to make it easier for customers to find. For example, have a page with links to your Google + Business/Bing/Yahoo local page, Yelp, Super Pages, Kudzu listings and more. That way, customers don’t have to go digging around to leave reviews and leave them in the appropriate place.

Asking for Reviews
If your business is lacking online reviews, it doesn’t hurt to ask recent clients for an honest review. The key here is to ask them for a testimonial and not to push the fact that you are expecting a “good” review from them. Make your customers feel important and let them know that you will take their questions and concerns into consideration. You can make it convenient by showing customers links to your Google Places page, Yelp page, and other reputable review sites.

Send a Form for Testimonials
After a project is completed, you can also e-mail clients a generic form to fill out. This eliminates the hassle of asking them to sign up for review sites in order to leave a review for your business. These reviews can be placed throughout your site and expanded on through Case Results, press releases and even blog posts.

Implement Microformats to Highlight Positive Reviews

Have you been noticing 5 star reviews (not related to review sites) like this showing up? This snippet makes a big impact if you’re on the first page for competitive keywords and will help bring in more clicks. Learn more about how you can easily implement that on your own site here.

Add Video Testimonials
Adding videos of actual customer testimonials is an easy way to add a personable touch to your website. It’s one thing to talk about yourself and the effectiveness of your business, but testimonials from a real-life client brings that trust to a whole ‘nother level. Learn more about video marketing for your business here.

For some businesses, gathering and monitoring reviews may seem like an afterthought that takes up too much time. Remember, it is the little things such as this that will help build credibility and trust which will help bring in more conversions and that’s what matters.

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