In a world where businesses need to stand out from their competition, it’s vital to establish a human connection with your existing and prospective customers. This is where social proof and client testimonials come into play.
SOCIAL PROOF Back in 2006, through his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini first explained the power of ‘social proof ‘and demonstrated how buying behaviour was heavily influenced by peer support. Cialdini claimed that when a prospect sees a testimonial from someone they felt was like themselves, it gives them “the greatest insight into what constitutes correct behaviour.”
That was then. These days, with peer-to-peer digital; communication so prevalent in both our work and social lives, it is no wonder that the client testimonial is one of the most persuasive forms of influence when it comes to buying behaviour. At the top of the ‘influence hierarchy’ is personal recommendation – where someone you directly know and trust has made a direct & positive testimonial to you regarding a company’s product or service. This may be a friend, family member or a business colleague.
This is followed by associated recommendation – where someone you feel is credible and ‘like you’ in some way has provided the testimonial. This may be someone who works in a similar company or sector, has similar requirements, has the same interests.
The role of the first or third party recommendation is crucial in helping shape someone’s behaviour. And, for businesses, this knowledge is king.
It is generally accepted that most companies attract potential new clients by then first landing on their company’s website, typically via an online search or content marketing on social channels. However, getting relevant visitors to your website is one thing. Enabling your website to actively influence that visitor is another.
And this is where the power of the client testimonial kicks in. A quote or recommendation from your customers provides ‘social proof‘ of your service and a testimonial prominently displayed on your website can make a huge difference. In fact, a whopping 97% of people who make a purchasing decision say that they would be influenced by a client testimonial. Get it right, and that decision will, more often that not, go in your favour.
Of course a client testimonial is not the only factor that helps an individual make a decision but, if they’re on the fence, it could be the factor that pushes them to go to the next stage in the buying process: placing an enquiry, requesting a call, signing up for a free trial, etc. In a world of competition, your website needs to do all it can to influence this decision.
5 REASONS TO ADD CLIENT TESTIMONIALS TO YOUR WEBSITE
1. They instil Trust Adding a client testimonials to your website, social media or other client facing activity provides prospective customers with assurance that the benefit of using your product / service / solution has been directly experienced by others in a similar position to themselves. Consumers want and need to feel assured that the experience of using your company or product will be positive for them. Employing social proof provides the consumer with validation that your business is legitimate, credible and trustworthy.
2. The show you Care Adding client testimonials to your website demonstrates shows the visitor that you truly care about your customer experience and that you are proud to share your customers’ positive opinion regarding your product or service. Other elements of your website will further enhance your social proof: accreditations, awards, pages regarding safety, policies – even a History page. These all show that you care about your business and this, in turn shows that you foster customer loyalty.
3. They create the Difference In a competitive world, you need to set yourself apart. By adding customer testimonials to your website, you separate yourself from other marketers and show potential buyers what makes you different. A client testimonial does not need to be solely about the benefits of using the product or service – your customers may decide to shout out about another aspect of their experience in using you. Whether it is higher quality, quicker turnaround, better value, wider product range, your advanced knowledge, the extra mile you go. All of these and more provide. showcase as to what makes your brand different to the competition.
4. They influence the Decision Your clients are the most powerful tools of persuasion. Adding a client testimonial helps sway prospective customers towards your product or solution as they can see how you have helped someone previously. In fact, a study published in Psychological Science found that 97% of customers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions. Whether it is written or video testimonials, (or even ratings or a client list), social proof on a website helps influence the decision whether or not to use you.
5. They demonstrate the Solution Consumers have landed on your site in the hope that your product or service will solve their ‘problem’, whatever that may be. Whether they have a chronic headache, a burst pipe or need immediate investment advice, whatever the consumer’s ‘problem’, there’s a business looking to provide a solution to that consumer. Your own business meets a customer’s need in many ways and client testimonials can highlight the fact that you recognise their need and can identify how you have previously helped someone with that exact same need. This in turn, creates that all-important connection with your potential customer.
Of course, a company’s website is the ideal location to add client testimonials and other social proof. But, this is only the start. Social media, advertising, eMarketing all play a part in the customer’s digital journey. And, so long as the social proof is real and can be backed up, the client testimonial will always be a powerful influencer in a company’s sales process.