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We talk about it a lot.
Testimonials: an element of any website which can build immediate trust and increase conversion rate. But we don’t just talk about it — we drink our own poison willingly…
The truth is, those testimonials help convert more of our website visitors into leads (we’ve tested it). Remove them and our website’s conversion rate drops by several painful percentage points.
The same goes for your website.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Let’s talk about the data, but first watch our “Guide to Building Trust and Landing New Clients” to get some additional testimonial context.
Why are high-quality testimonials such a big deal?
If used correctly, testimonials do a few important things for website visitors (and for your conversion rate).
1. Completely eradicate concerns that prospects had about working with your business.
2. Build immediate trust for who you are and what you do.
And last but not least…
3. Convince prospects to convert (i.e. give you their information via an opt-in form or call you on the phone directly).
Consider that 85% of consumers claim that they read at least 10 reviews before deciding whether they can trust a company or not (and they have to trust you if they’re going to work with you) or that 88% of people trust online testimonials just as much as personal recommendations from a friend.
To prove just how powerful testimonials can be (at least the conversion rate side of things), Unbounce reports on an A/B test run on WikiJob’s website. Ideal for testing, Version A and Version B are identical save for one difference: Version B includes a testimonial above the opt-in form of the website.
In the end, Version B increased the conversion rate by 34%.
Let’s put that in perspective for a wholesalers website.
Imagine that you drive 1,000 website visits every month, generating 100 leads per month on your website (a 10% conversion rate — typical for Carrot websites) and that you close 1 in 25 leads. That means you’re doing about 4 deals per month, at, let’s assume, $10,000 profit per deal.
Boom — you add a glowing testimonial to your website and increase your conversion rate by 34%, from 10% to 13.4%.
Now, you’re going to get a little more than 130 leads per month with the same amount of traffic (1,000 website visits). And since you close 1 in 25 leads, you’ll now be doing a little more than 5 deals every month with the exact same amount of website traffic.
You just added $10,000 in monthly wholesale fees (from $40,000 per month to $50,000 per month) by putting a testimonial on your website.
And the same goes for real estate agents: you can increase your conversion rate and monthly income by adding awesome testimonials to your website.
Of course, I’m not promising that you’ll get exactly those results. I’m just trying to illustrate how powerful a small boost in your website’s conversion rate can be on your business revenue (at Carrot, we provide high converting websites out-of-the-box for our members)… and that testimonials can help you achieve that small, powerful boost.
But… all of this depends on using high-quality testimonials…
So what makes a testimonial great?
5 Qualities of a Great Testimonial
Here are five things that every testimonial should include:
1. It’s specific — Do not use painfully vague testimonials (i.e. “It was great!”). When a testimonial is ambiguous, it can work against building trust for your business and actually create unease in the prospect’s mind (If this testimonial is real, why isn’t it more specific?). Ask the testimonial-giver questions which will prompt answers specific to their situation and why they loved working with you. Just consider… what do you think is more powerful:
“Colby was a tremendous help!”
“Best Decision I’ve Ever Made!!! I was in a situation where I needed to get out of my house ASAP and Colby Hager came through for Me!!! Nobody else will ever beat his services and I’m relieved I don’t have the financial stress any longer!!! I will forever be grateful for what he did for me!!!”
2. It’s less than 100 words — If your testimonial is too long, there’s a good chance that website visitors won’t read it (especially if they’re on a mobile device). So try to aim for under 100 words and use ellipses to focus on the important parts if necessary.
3. It addresses one common objection — Going back to the importance of specificity, each testimonial should address one common objection of your target prospect. Ideally, each testimonial will address a different objection that is probably going through the prospect’s mind. A few common objections include:
- Can I trust you?
- How do I know you’re actually going to make me a fair offer?
- How much work will I have to do to make this happen?
- Can I sell even if my property is in terrible condition?
4. It’s authentic — I know. It’s tempting to just write your own testimonial under an alias name and throw it on your website to increase conversion rate. It sure would take a lot less time, and if you’re a great writer, it might even boost your conversion rate.
But chances are, the testimonial you’ll receive from someone who authentically loves your service will be far more powerful (and conversion-boosting) than something you throw together yourself. Plus, people can usually tell when a testimonial is fake.
5. It mentions your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) — Not every testimonial on your website needs to do this, but at least one should mention your Unique Selling Proposition; that is, whatever makes your business unique or better than the competition.
You can put your USP all over your website, but when it’s in a testimonial, it’s just a bit more powerful. Here’s an example:
“Not only did XYZ Real estate company help get my home sold, but they were kind and easy to work with. They answered the phone when I called and were attentive to my needs.”
5 Questions to Ask for Getting POWERFUL Testimonials
To get a high-quality testimonial, you must ask the right questions.
So here are a few questions that will pull gold from your client’s mouths. You can use these whether you’re doing a written testimonial or a video testimonial (both are powerful for increasing conversion rate). And remember, it’s better to get a ton of detailed information from your client now (and edit it down later) than to get such vague information that it’s practically worthless.
- What was your situation before you worked with me? — You want to pull out the pain they were experiencing before working with you. What were they going through? Could they even sleep at night? What was the emotional pain like? How stressful was the situation?
- Why did you choose to do work with us? — You want to now get a better understanding for what made them decide to solve their stressful situation by working with you. What was going through their head? What was the final straw that made them give you a call?
- Why did you choose us instead of some other company? — Why not somebody else? Asking this question will help illustrate your USP and what sets you apart from other competitors within your market.
- What did you enjoy the most about working with us? — Being on the other side of that stressful situation, what was the thing that the client most enjoyed during the process? How fast you closed? How helpful you were? How easy it was?
- What surprised you about working with us? — Asking this question can get the client talking about the thing they loved about working with you that was the most unexpected (i.e. how you went above and beyond for them).
You can send these questions to happy clients over email, you can ask over the phone and record the call, or you can sit down and record their responses on video.
Whatever you decide, make sure you edit out unnecessary banter before putting the testimonial on your website. The trick is to take the most valuable pieces of information from their answers (the things that will convince other prospects to work with you) and put them into an easy-to-digest testimonial.
And… one final piece of advice…
Ultimately… work with what you have…
Let me tell you the truth about testimonials: they don’t have to be video, they don’t have to be written, they don’t even have to be 100% related to your business (when you’re starting out, you can just use general testimonial from people who know you and trust your character).
Ultimately, there are no rules.
Testimonials can increase conversion rate if you use them correctly and there are very few instances where a testimonial would actually hurt your conversion rate. So work with what you have.
If you’re not comfortable on video, then just email past clients the questions above and ask for their answers. If you can’t think of any clients who’d give you a testimonial, then call a friend and ask them to vouch for your character.
In time, and as your business grows, you’ll get better and better testimonials which will improve your conversion rate even further. But it’s a process.
So embrace it; go get some testimonials and add em’ to your website. Remember, a slight conversion rate increase could mean thousands of dollars more per month for your business. And I know you don’t hate money. ;-)