Synopsis — One of the most commonly cited ways to add influential content to your website is through the use of testimonials. No matter what kind of business you have, or what kind of products or services you sell, you can benefit from positive testimonials by satisfied customers, clients, or visitors. Testimonials can center on service, quality, business mission, and a variety of other aspects, but the key is that they need to be well written and marketed appropriately on your website.
In his article, “A Recipe For The Perfectly Optimized Testimonial,” Ross Dunn takes you through the process of asking for testimonials from customers, together with tips for use them effectively. As an added bonus, he presents a couple of scenarios to handle situations where you may find reluctance on the part of clients to contribute a testimonial.
The complete article follows …
A Recipe For The Perfectly Optimized Testimonial
Testimonials are a powerful sales and marketing tool, but like a great chocolate chip cookie recipe, they need to be adjusted and polished to be the perfect mix and impress the most. This does not mean rewriting the testimonial — which would be unethical without the customer’s consent — but there are considerations to keep in mind when requesting testimonials and even more when marketing them to make them as effective as possible.
The best time to request a testimonial is right when the client is experiencing a moment of pure bliss as a result of your fabulous service. This is the optimal time to politely ask if they would be willing to put their satisfaction in writing for everyone to see. In most cases, they will agree and will welcome some basic guidelines for testimonial writing, which coincidentally allow you to get the most benefit from the testimonial.
1. Request specifics in the testimonial about how the product or service helped their business. Provide samples, such as, “XYZName.com provided me with personalized business mentorship that elevated profits by 10% in just one month” or “XYZ Carpet Cleaners worked harder than I could have hoped to get the stains out of my carpet — my carpet looks like new!”
2. Ask them to be specific about the product or service that earned the testimonial, so you will have an array of targeted testimonials to use on specific product or service literature.
3. Mention that once you receive the testimonial, you would like to optimize it for search engines. This may mean altering or appending one or two words, but assure them you will clear the wording of the final result with them.
If Needed, Explain The Benefits
Sometimes, even a blissful client wavers or falters during the process. Consider the following scenarios and responses:
Scenario: The client doesn’t want competitors to know they used your service.
Solution: Try to overcome their objections by reminding them that you will provide a direct link to their website to assist their link building efforts. However, if a client is adamant, offer to use only their initials in the signature area of the testimonial. This isn’t ideal, but is better than losing the testimonial altogether.
Scenario: The client says he doesn’t have time to write anything or delays in providing the testimonial even though he initially agreed to write one.
Solution: Tell the client that you can write the testimonial and send it to them for their approval. Be certain to follow your own guidelines closely and do not over-promote yourself. The testimonial must be authentic, so try to write as you think your client would.
Three Tips For Effective Testimonial Use
1. Include service-specific testimonials on service-related landing pages. This has two benefits — the testimonials will have more meaning and attractiveness for prospective clients, and they will add to on-page relevance for SEO benefits.
2. If you receive a particularly awesome testimonial, take it to the next level and partner with the client to send out a press release on the wonderful results. This kind of press release occasionally strikes a chord for journalists, which will attract more positive media. In addition, you can craft the press release with ideal inline text links to empower the rankings of specific pages on both your site and your client’s — a win-win scenario.
3. Important key phrases used in a testimonial should link directly to their respective pages on your website. Not only will this help a reader of the testimonial find the related product or service, but it will add further contextual relevance to the targeted page.
In short, testimonials are a bit of science unto themselves. I cannot stress enough the importance of putting thought into their creation and marketing to yield the most benefit. After all, like the perfect cookie recipe, the following you attract from them makes all your hard work on preparing and marketing them on your website worthwhile.