How to Grow Your eCommerce Business By Using the Power of Testimonials
Many ecommerce business owners make the easy mistake of thinking testimonials are just “nice to have.” However, studies have shown that they may actually be vital for success. In 2012, Neilsen released a study which shows evidence that 92% of customers trust product recommendations from people they know and trust. A further 70% trust online reviews even from people who are strangers. By using testimonials on your website, you help build trust and a sense of community with your audience. This social proof not only helps to retain current customers, but also pushes hesitant ones towards giving your business a try. So how can you effectively grow your business by using the power of testimonials? Let’s take a look!
- How do I collect product recommendations?
- Who do I ask?
- What do I ask?
- Where do I share this information?
How Do I Collect Product Recommendations?
When you make the decision to add testimonials to your website, you also need to come up with a method or two for actually collecting that valuable data. There are many different options for you to choose from.
- Unprompted Reviews: One of the easiest ways to collect social proof for your business is to let your audience come to you. This is a passive method, where you allow customers to share their thoughts about a product without asking them to do so. This approach is most successful if you have a large audience. It’s popularly used by Amazon. One of the best benefits to allowing unprompted responses is that they are considered to be very trustworthy. The downside is that customers with a negative experience may use the testimonials section just as often as those with amazing experiences.
- Email Invitation: Some businesses have an audience that doesn’t engage with them beyond buying and using their product. This may make it hard to collect unprompted reviews so you need to make the effort to be the first to reach out. One of the easiest ways to do that is to create an email that is automatically sent to your customers a few days after delivery, asking them if they would mind taking a few minutes out of their day to share some thoughts on their purchase.
- Survey: Asking your audience to write a review about their purchases will generate more unique details for future customers to read. However, doing so is often time consuming and the emails with that ask are likely to be deleted. One excellent method of increasing response rates is to frame a review as a short survey. It’s easier for a customer to answer a pre-framed question by clicking a button than it is for them to write a long-form response.
- Social Media: In the world of social media, many customers share about an awesome product they have online. If you see a particularly great review about your company or one of your products on social media, feel free to ask the poster if you can share the link on your website. You can also ask for reviews on your own social media.
Who Do I Ask?
Not all testimonials are created equal. Some include clear bias (which might portray your company in a good OR bad light), and some are clearly written by people who have taken the task on as a joke. You can avoid this by asking only those customers you feel are most trustworthy. So, who might those be?
- Your Best Customers: It makes sense that you would trust your best customers to write the best, most thorough reviews about you. These are the people who are repeat customers, those who spend lots of money in single purchases, and those who maybe don’t buy frequently but have maintained a relationship with your business for months or even years.
- Your Social Champions: While every business is going to garner a certain number of negative reviews, you aren’t obligated to seek them out. Instead, seek out your biggest champions and ask them write reviews for you. One of the best ways to do this is to find happy customers writing about your business on social media. You can reach out to them online.
- Promoters: Another method of generating positive reviews and business for your company is by reaching out to promoters. They’re online personalities who use and review a product for their audiences.
What Do I Ask to Use the Power of Testimonials?
Once you know who you want to ask, and how you want to ask them, you need to figure out exactly what to ask your customers. By sending a poorly worded email or survey you could actually make your testimonials less effective. This can happen by confusing your customers with your questions (prompting them to mistakenly answer poorly), or making them avoid giving a testimonial altogether.
- Be Blunt: When approaching your customers to ask for a testimonial, don’t beat around the bush. The longer you wait to ask them to write a review, the higher your chance of losing their attention before you can get to that part. Start out by thanking them for their purchase and then immediately ask them for a review.
- Be Specific: If you’re using a survey for them to answer, keep your questions specific. Instead of asking, “Do you like our product?” ask “What is your favourite thing about our product?” This helps you acquire more details that will help future customers make decisions about your business. Being specific also reduces the chances of customers accidentally hitting the one-star review instead of the five-star review, among other common mistakes.
- Ask for Demographics: Getting to know your customer is beneficial to you in more than one way. Asking for demographic information (like age, gender, and more) helps you gauge who exactly is buying your products. This information also creates a connection between customers that can encourage buying: if a 68 year old man buys your product, other 68 year old men will want it too.
- Ask For the Good and Bad: While you, of course, only want to hear good things about your products, not every customer will like everything about a particular item. By having customers explain the good and bad, the power of testimonials becomes stronger. Readers will trust them more and also be able to gauge whether they feel the item is worth buying or not.
- Ask For What You Want: If you want your reviewers to leave a quick, bullet point list of what they liked about a product, ask for that. If you want long form paragraphs, ask for that. If you want pictures of the products once the users have them, ask for that. You can help guide your customers into providing you exactly what you want from a testimonial simply by asking for it.
Where Do I Share This Information?
Once you’ve collected your valuable testimonials, you need to make sure your audience can see them too. After all, that’s why you went through the process in the first place. There are a few places that are especially effective.
- A Testimonial Page: For general reviews about your business as a whole (instead of a specific product), create a testimonial page that users can visit and read through. This helps them make an informed decision about whether or not they want to strike up a relationship with you and your brand.
- The Home Page: If you have a few particularly glowing reviews, highlight them on the home page so they’re one of the first things people see. This immediately creates a good impression about your business.
- Product Pages: When you have reviews specific to certain products, share those on the actual product page. This will allow customers to gather all the facts about a product and hopefully encourage them to buy it in the end.
- Social Media: The power of social media can’t be denied. Share a few reviews on your own social pages so your followers can see and share them as well. These reviews have the potential to be shared and seen by others around the world.
When you use the power of testimonials, you give your customers a voice and start building a trustworthy relationship with your audience.
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