Testimonials are often considered the ultimate social proof.
72% of customers claim that positive reviews increase their trust in a brand. Furthermore, 84% trust recommendations from strangers as much as they would a recommendation from a friend. With that in mind, we can consider testimonials one of the most effective tools for inspiring trust and boosting conversions.
Now, what remains to figure out is how to best use testimonials to ensure they trigger the actions you’re looking for. To help you out, we’ll examine eleven effective ways you can include them on your landing pages. We’ll also go into a bit of detail as to why each of them works.
Consumers are likely going to trust the testimonials you choose to post, but you can add another layer of reliability to them by putting a face to a name.
Of course, this will require a bit more work on your part. You’ll need to reach out to customers and ask for snapshots and blurbs, but the effort will be worth it.
By seeing the faces of your satisfied clients, leads will have an easier time connecting with you as a brand. You’ll help them imagine themselves as a part of your community.
Mailmunch has added five smiling faces to their landing page, making it instantly more vibrant and infinitely more human. The testimonials feel more honest, and they are likely to have a more meaningful impact.
On a similar note, you also want your customers to speak in their own voice. While this may cause a bit of discrepancy between different testimonials, it will also go to show their authenticity.
Uniform testimonials that all use the same words can appear a bit staged, which is the last thing you want. So, tidy your client’s words up a bit if necessary, but always encourage them to speak their mind. Don’t suggest any keywords or power words – they’ll likely come up with a fair few on their own.
You can see a great example from Ad Badger.
They feature three very distinct voices on their homepage, yet the message is clear and familiar: this works, try it. There’s no room for doubt whether those are the genuine words of satisfied clients.
Video testimonials will definitely be putting a face to a name, and they’ll certainly let your customers use their voice.
Video testimonials are a bit more complex to host and produce, but they can actually be really straightforward. Your customers can just use a webcam or a phone to record a short blurb about their experience with your brand.
Ideally, you want to select people who have something unique to say and whose experience others will be able to relate to. So, seek out your most successful customers or those who have authentic yet relatable stories. You want them to speak about the difference your brand has made in their lives and be absolutely genuine.
Codecademy has done a marvelous job with its customer stories. They’ve chosen three stories that speak of the different ways their service can help someone. Essentially, they’re getting their message across through three distinct voices and points of view.
When choosing the customers who will provide testimonials, try to encompass as much of your target audience as possible. The more a lead can identify with the person providing the testimonial, the more weight it will carry.
This can mean slicing your testimonials based on gender, income, the position they hold at their company, the industry they work in, and so on. It will depend on what you are selling, of course.
If you appeal to a very wide audience segment, try to include numerous testimonials – for example, three for each segment. This is what Ahrefs has done. And they’ve certainly done it well, proving that their tool can be used by pros, small businesses, and bloggers alike.
On the other hand, if you can quote an absolute superstar in your industry (or a superstar in general), by all means, do it if you can pull it off.
These celebrity endorsements need to be completely genuine, though. You don’t want someone who has not actually tried your product or service to speak about it. Yes, you want the stardom, but you want the honesty more.
You also want to make sure the testimonial makes sense. You don’t need a pro athlete endorsing your lawnmower (unless they actually use it themselves). If a friend of a friend happens to know someone or if you’re able to interest them in what you are selling, a testimonial can help you increase your sales no end.
Foundr provides a good example of using the celebrity touch.
They’ve managed to snag a recommendation from Gary V, someone their target audience has certainly heard of and most likely admires. The endorsement is also perfectly logical and rings true, making it worth that much more.
Speaking of celebrities, you can also choose to brag just a tiny bit with your testimonials as long as you make it sound cool and understated, and not like you’re actually trying to show off.
If your product or service is used by a major player – a brand most of your target audience has likely heard of – reflect this in your testimonials section. You don’t necessarily need to ask for a blurb, as the impact will be much greater if you use their logo instead.
The words of a testimonial may fail to register with a lead who is scrolling down your landing page – but they won’t miss the logo. Optimal Workshop has highlighted some of the major names they’ve worked with, and they have two textual testimonials to boot.
Now, that’s a great combination that will certainly attract attention. It’s much more likely that their visitors will read what their customers have chosen to say about them.
An image speaks louder than words, so if you’re selling a photogenic product, there are some fantastic social proof opportunities. If you can include photos of your product taken by customers while they’re using it, you’ll hit the testimonial jackpot.
Of course, this kind of testimonial won’t make sense in every industry. But if you are in retail, chances are user-generated images plus customer testimonials are the way to go.
Not only do they show how good your product actually is, but they also inspire a whole load of trust. After all, they’re coming from real people who have tangible proof that they’ve made a purchase from you.
Gili uses these kinds of testimonials, and the effect is superb. You can see what their products are like in real life, have plenty of size references, and will most likely be itching to get out on the water yourself.
Sometimes, you’ll want your testimonials to have a separate page of their own. Of course, hosting them on your main landing pages is always a good choice. But if they are numerous, if you have plenty of stories to tell, or if there’s a wide range of different customers to appeal to, a separate landing page can work just as well.
This choice will be the best option for large companies that have a wide appeal. Zendesk, for example, has a “Customer Stories” page where they show what their solutions can do for a wide range of industries and company sizes.
Make sure you clearly link to this page from your main menu, footer, and other parts of the website. You can do a brief blurb on your main landing page directing traffic to your dedicated page as well.
You can also use testimonials to describe different features of your product or service. When speaking about a specific way you can help your customers, showcase a brief blurb that highlights how this feature has already helped someone.
These real-life examples will go a long way in explaining the benefits and providing proof that your solutions work. Plus, as they aren’t coming from you – the brand, which clearly has an agenda and wants to sell something – but from unbiased third parties, they are infinitely more trustworthy.
Hootsuite has incorporated very brief testimonials all throughout their homepage, which lend extra credibility and provide an extra layer of meaning to their copy. They are not merely trying to sell you their product. Instead, they are relying on the testimony of others to prove that it works.
Testimonials that reference some type of before and after are also a great option if you can both stoke the pain and provide the solution through the blurbs of your customers.
Sometimes, it’s important to go into a bit of detail about the issues and pain points you provide the solutions for, as opposed to merely describing what you offer. After all, perhaps your customer base is not yet aware of all the different ways you are able to help. Or perhaps they just need to be faced with the problem.
Letting your customers speak their mind is still super important. Guide them with questions delving into the way they used to do things before they started doing business with you and ask them to contrast them with how they are feeling now.
Basecamp does this on their testimonials page, which also happens to bear the name “before and after.” The testimonials they feature don’t only speak about their competition and what it lacked.
They also highlight the best ways to use Basecamp’s solution and how it has improved the productivity and workflow of their customers.
Finally, showing actual, tangible results in your customer testimonials can seal the deal better than anything else. However, these results need to be real and unstaged. Plus, you also need to make it clear that the same won’t be true for every client or customer.
Whether you offer a cleaning product, a piece of software, or coaching services, you can rely on this type of testimonial – if your clients and customers are willing to share their experiences, of course.
The industry that’s probably best known for this kind of social proof is the world of fitness, where “before and after” photos are common. However, if you are using them, try to take a leaf out of Nerd Fitness’ book.
They’ve done a marvelous job of showing the results but also explaining why they are unique and why it’s more about the process than the outcome.
Hopefully, these eleven ways to use testimonials on your landing pages have shown you how you can further optimize them as well as your customers’ experience with your brand.
Just remember the basic testimonial best practices: never fake them, and always ensure they will appeal to the audience you’re trying to convert.
Aqsa Mughees works as a Content Lead at Mailmunch with 5+ years of experience in creative content strategy. With a grip in digital content creation for the tech industry and an undying love for writing, she is crazy about helping businesses grow through content marketing.