When potential customers are researching you online, they're getting to know you by way of the content of your website. Understandably, many of them might be skeptical or hesitant to trust you right away.
To prove the value of what you have to offer, why not let your happy customers do the talking?
Your testimonial page serves as a platform to show off how others have benefited from your product or service, making it a powerful tool for establishing trust and encouraging potential buyers to take action.
Plus, having a testimonial page serves as yet another indexed page on your website containing content covering product features, pain points, and keywords your marketing team is trying to rank for in search.
To generate these glowing testimonials, you need to know who your happy, successful customers are — and that's where collecting and analyzing customer feedback comes in. Once you've found those customers and collected their reviews, it's time to turn that enthusiasm into effective, affordable marketing materials. Read on for a closer look at what makes a great testimonial.
What Is a Testimonial?
First, let's have a little vocabulary lesson. Google's dictionary definition of testimonial is "a formal statement testifying to someone's character and qualifications." These usually come from customers, colleagues, or peers who have benefitted from or experienced success as a result of the work you did for them.
But effective testimonials go beyond a simple quote that proclaims your greatness. They need to resonate with your targeted audience, and the people who could also potentially benefit from the work you do in the future. That's why great testimonials also tell a story -- one that inspires and motivates the people reading it.
Types of Testimonials
There are many different ways a business can display customer testimonials — And when determining the best approach for your business it's important to keep in mind that different formats and mediums can have varying effects on your target audience. You'll want to use a format that's viewable for your potential leads and aligns closely with their values. To help give you an idea of how testimonials can be portrayed, below are 10 testimonial types that you can use to show off your customers' stories.
Quote testimonials are ads or artwork that display positive statements made about your company from a brand evangelist or a highly satisfied customer. The quote is usually accompanied by an image of the person being quoted to make the message feel more relatable to the target audience.
Quote testimonials demonstrate support for your product or feature from a user who has experience with it. This can be significantly more effective than traditional advertising methods as most consumers will trust a peer more than a paid actor. By using the voice of your loyal customers to advocate on behalf of your brand, you can build strong credibility with potential leads.
In a world where everyone is carrying around a small computer in their pocket, it's no surprise that video has become one of the most popular ways to consume content. In fact, Copypress reports that 52% of the world's marketing professionals believe that video has the best ROI compared to any other type of content. This is because video uses a combination of visual images and audio to tell a captivating brand story that motivates viewers.
Videos are also rapidly shared and have the potential to go viral if the content is compelling enough. Brands like Dollar Shave Club have achieved tremendous success from releasing light-hearted videos that became internet sensations overnight. While you may not strike gold every time with your videos, one good piece of content can quickly make all the failed ones worthwhile.
Audio is similar to video in how it can influence and motivate your audience. The great benefit of audio, though, is that it's a cost-effective way for your brand to create compelling content. To make audio testimonials you don't need a full production crew and tons of expensive equipment. You only need a microphone, recording software, and a quiet room to record in. With those tools, you can tell an inspiring customer story just by threading different customer quotes together in one track.
Another benefit of audio content is that it can be easily shared and consumed by your customers. Unlike video, audio clips can be listened to in almost any setting and also take less memory and data to upload and share. If executed correctly, audio testimonials can be just as effective as video but produced at a fraction of the cost.
4. Case Study
A case study is an in-depth analysis of an individual customer's experience with your company. These pieces tend to use a more scientific approach to prove how your business played a role in the customer's success. Case studies often use facts and observations to demonstrate how certain products or services benefited actual customers of your business.
One of the best benefits of case study testimonials is that it provides a potential lead with a complete customer story. This is great for B2B companies who are trying to convince an entire business to buy their product or service. Leads can read the example customer story and compare it to their situation to see if your company will fulfill their needs.
5. Social Media
Whether you like it or not, your social media channels will naturally capture customer testimonials. In fact, Go-Globe reports that when it comes to customer care, one in three social media users will use social media over phone or email. Additionally, nearly 70% of consumers in that study said they have used social media for customer service issues on at least one occasion. This is because social media offers instant relief for customers who have strong opinions about a product or service. A happy customer can simply take out their phone, write an emotional review, and post it for the world to see — And depending on your customer's social following, that review could potentially influence millions of people.
When you do see customers promoting your brand over social media, make sure to engage with them. Like their post and even share it if it's a compelling piece of content. These testimonials are not hard for a company to find and are easily shared with your online audience.
6. Customer Interviews
One of the simplest ways to obtain customer feedback is to just ask willing customers to provide it in an interview. Customer interviews can be a great way for your business to ask customers about specific aspects of your business and how it played a role in their success. This format not only allows you to show off your different products and features but also lets potential leads see their real-world application.
Customers interviews are a more flexible approach to testimonials because they can be portrayed over a variety of different mediums. They can be recorded and posted as a video or audio piece, or they can be transcribed to a written interview that's posted on your company's website and blog. Companies often will choose one or a few of these methods to optimize the testimonial's reach.
Also known as "influencer testimonials," authority testimonials are pieces of content that include a celebrity or spokesperson who's supporting your company. Often times this person is a significant influencer of your target audience and helps to build your business's credibility. The most effective spokespeople are the ones that share the core values of the business as well as deeply connect with the target audience.
Authority testimonials tend to be expensive to produce and it can be difficult to find the right influencer, but when they succeed, these campaigns can pay dividends for your company over-time. Just look at State Farm's advertisements that include pro-football player, Aaron Rodgers. What started in 2011 as the "Discount Double Check" ads have snowballed into an eight-year ad campaign that is still going strong today.
8. Peer Review
Peer review testimonials take advantage of the pieces of customer feedback that are left on review sites like Yelp and Angie's List. These reviews can be very influential for customers as many consumers look at these review sites during the decision-making process. Peer reviews are particularly helpful for customers interacting with your business for the first time. Studies show that 57% of consumers will only buy from a business if they have four or more stars on a review site. This is because the feedback left on these sites are from unbiased strangers who are leaving their honest opinion.
These reviews should be used as customer testimonials for your business because they can be quickly uploaded and shared to your company's website. They can be screenshotted and then posted on the home page for customers to see, or they can be quoted and reformatted on your website. Instead of making the customer go searching for your good reviews, bring the reviews to them and prevent navigation away from your site.
9. Blog Post
A blog post can be an informative way of displaying customer testimonials. Bloggers can write about a customer's story in-depth and break down subtle details within the customer's journey. Similar to the idea of case studies, but this format allows the company to tell the customer's story from their own perspective.
The post can be written by someone who works for your company or you can hire a guest writer to compose the post. The benefit of hiring an external writer is that the piece will appear less biased to the readers. Once completed, the post can be shared either on your blog or on another blog that's popular in your industry.
10. Press Review
For growing companies, getting your business featured in the news (for the right reasons) is a big feat. Nowadays, being on the news means that millions of people can potentially see your product or service, which can significantly improve brand awareness. While getting featured by news outlets can be very difficult for your businesses to achieve, the payoff can result in thousands of new leads flocking to your website. If your company is lucky enough to obtain this type of publicity, feed its success by sharing any related content on your website, blog, and social media pages.
Feeling inspired yet? Good, but before you go ahead and start crafting your own customer testimonials, it's important to understand some of the best practices for designing them. In the next section, we cover the three key fundamentals that you'll want to focus on when creating customer testimonials.
Testimonial Design Best Practices
While customer testimonials can appear in many formats, there are still some common guidelines to follow regardless of which approach you choose. Including these three elements should make your customer testimonial feel more genuine for your target audience.
1. Visually Engaging
The best testimonials paint a picture with words so readers can learn exactly what the value of making a purchase from you would be. Be sure to feature testimonials with descriptive language that's enthusiastic and detailed to help convince your prospects to make a purchase.
Take your testimonial page one step further by incorporating more visual elements -- images, videos, and social media feeds are relatively easy ways to make testimonial content more engaging -- and to prove to readers that the testimonial is coming from a real person or brand.
Make sure the testimonials you feature dig deeper than "I love [brand name]!"
Choose reviews from customers who can highlight specific use cases for your product or service so readers can envision their own specific use cases your brand could help with. Ideally, your customers will agree to serve as case studies, and you'll be able to publish comprehensive stories with specific details your sales team can share with prospects.
Highlight testimonials that align with specific features of your product or service -- and connect the dots for readers by linking to different product or tool pages so readers can learn more about what they've just read about. If there are relevant images or demo videos you can share alongside these specifically aligned testimonials, all the better.
What do these look like in action? Check out the examples below to find your own inspiration to help you start building a great testimonial page today.
- Blue Apron
Testimonial Type: Video
Codecademy has nailed down the testimonials section of its website, which is call "Codecademy Stories." It includes a few customer quotes (along with pictures, names, and locations) right on its homepage above a link to the testimonial page.
We love the approachable format and the fact that it chose to feature customers that users can really relate to. When you click into any story, you can read the whole case study in a Q&A format.
Testimonial Type: Blog Post
The folks at FreeAgent did a great job formatting its testimonials with blog posts along with pictures, names, and companies to add credibility.
Testimonial Type: Quote
This quote from a Kissmetrics customer describes how the software helped him achieve his goals. Notice how he highlights different features that Kissmetrics offers and how they directly impacted his business. He even includes a statistic to add more credibility to his message. This is a great example of a quote testimonial that showcases the brand’s value.
Source: B3 Multimedia
Testimonial Type: Authority
As an outdoor clothing retailer, Stio has to establish the effectiveness of its products. One way to do this is with brand ambassadors who wear Stio products and advocate on the company’s behalf.
In this testimonial, Stio’s brand ambassadors answer interview questions about their careers. Customers will read these stories and feel inspired to do the same. Since the ambassadors are tied to Stio products, readers will naturally make the connection between the brand and their new passion for outdoor activities.
5. Blue Apron
Testimonial Type: Social Media
Testimonials don’t need to be elaborate. In fact, this testimonial is great because it’s easily shared via social media or through the company’s website. That way, the brand can engage with leads on the channels they’re most comfortable using.
Testimonial Type: Press Review
Sometimes testimonials don’t have to come from customers. In this example, a Los Angeles-based restaurant was given a wonderful review by a critic from the LA Times. While these testimonials don’t come every day, it’s important to seize these opportunities and put this content on blast for potential leads to see.
Testimonial Type: Social Media
Fabletics leverages social media to collect testimonials from its customers. It encourages customers to post themselves on their Instagram pages wearing Flabletics products and tagging "#MyFabletics." This provides a surge of engagement for the brand’s social account and creates free advertisement in the form of customer advocacy.
Testimonial Type: Peer Review
As you can see in the image below, Harry’s has done a great job of building up its credibility on consumer review sites like Trust Pilot. This reputation is excellent for the company because 60% of people trust these sites as much as they trust friends and family.
Testimonial Type: Customer Interview
This clever testimonial from Glossier doubles as an upsell to viewers as well. If they like a look that one customer uploads, they can shop the products that were used directly from the testimonial. This reduces friction in the customer’s journey and increases Glossier’s likelihood of closing a sale.
Now that we've covered some individual testimonials, let's dive into some full-page examples.
Testimonial Page Examples
- Clear Slide
- Esch Landscaping LLC
Many companies struggle to grab people's attention using their testimonial pages, but Bluebeam does a great job of catching your eye as soon as you arrive on the page. While it's technically called a Case Studies page, the first thing you see is a set of project examples in the form of large, bold images that rotate on a carousel. Scroll down and you can also click on video case studies, as well as view customer panels.
ChowNow does a lot right on its testimonial page, but the bread and butter is its collection of production-quality "client stories" videos. There's a handful of these awesome, 2–3-minute videos that cover everything from the clients' life before and after ChowNow, to how easy the platform is to use. The videos feature some great footage of the clients, their offices, and their food.
Visit mHelpDesk's testimonial page, and you'll see videos and text testimonials equipped with pictures.
Some of the testimonial videos aren't production-quality, but they get the message across and cover useful and relevant information -- which goes to show you don't need to invest thousands in production to get some testimonial videos up. Finally, in the theme of earning trust, we love that mHelpDesk closes out its testimonial page with awards and badges of recognition.
4. Clear Slide
One of the first things we noticed about Clear Slide's testimonial page is how creatively it's named -- "What They're Saying." It includes a smattering of quotes from customers, topped with client logos from big names like The Economist and Starwood. If you have users that are celebrities or influencers within their community, be sure to include and even highlight their testimonials on your page.
FocusLab took a unique and very cool-looking design approach to its testimonial page -- which is fitting, seeing as its trade is in creating visual branding systems. Again, it's technically a visual catalog of both previous projects and works-in-progress, but instead of just listing out client quotes, the page opts for a card-like design with interactive, rectangular elements you can click on to see the full case study -- with quotes occasionally appearing in-between.
What's even cooler is what's included in each individual case study. Not only does FocusLab cover the challenges faced by clients and how FocusLab helped solve them, but the case studies also include some of the steps in the design process between conception and final product. In some instances, they included the evolution of the logo during the design process.
Finally, we love the aforementioned view of works in progress section below the case studies. These cards aren't clickable, but they give viewers a glimpse into the firm's current projects.
99designs takes a bit of an unconventional approach to its testimonial page. Using a star-rating system not usually seen in the B2B sector (read: Yelp and TripAdvisor), the page is headlined with an eye-catching video, with customer reviews below it. Plus, it gives users the ability to sort through customer reviews by category so they can read the ones most relevant to them.
Slack's customer testimonials are cleverly nested on its product features page -- which might seem confusing, until you realize the choice was deliberate.
Slack uses individual testimonials to highlight specific key product features and how the customer used them -- a genius way to give a tour of a product while also letting happy customers sing your praises. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Slack also uses beautiful illustrations to showcase those product features.
From each blurb, visitors can click to learn more about the specifics of that customer case study to get even more insights -- and positive reviews.
Dribbble's testimonial page is relatively simple (considering the fact that Dribbble is an online community for showcasing art and design work), but what we love about this page is how honest and straightforward the user reviews are.
It's quickly clear to a reader that these testimonials haven't been altered or edited -- which lends the site a degree of authenticity and trustworthiness that might convince someone to start using the product.
BioClarity's cruelty-free, plant-derived skincare line is about one thing: being green. Green is all over the website, and its Instagram is covered in images of people applying green serums to their faces.
In this case, pictures serve as better testimonials than words -- but BioClarity still uses both. On its results page, visitors can see transformation photo collages of customers before and after using the product, as well as enthusiastic videos and words of recommendation -- all in a soothing green theme.
From the results page, visitors can also click into the reviews page to read in-depth product reviews from real customers.
On our own testimonials page, HubSpot features enthusiastic customer reviews -- alongside a note if that customer switched to HubSpot from a different software brand. That detail helps drive the points of the customer home -- it takes time, money, and effort to start using completely different software, but the testimonials make it clear that the change was worth it for the customer.
Xero’s testimonial page is beautifully designed and extremely user-friendly. It features detailed biographies of its customers and really makes you feel connected to their stories.
In one example, we meet Amy, who’s using Xero’s software and services to run her business. Her testimonial page includes quotes, videos, and plenty of pictures showing not only how Amy uses Xero but also showing off her interests and personality as well. This makes Amy’s testimonial more relatable to Xero’s target audience because it feels genuine. And, since we feel like we know Amy through her page, we’re more likely to trust her testimonial.
Birddogs has a neat testimonial page that’s perfectly on-brand with the company’s marketing approach. The online clothing retailer prides itself on its loud personality and encourages its customers to be laid-back, humorous, and creative. As a result, we get to read hilarious testimonials from the brand’s customer base.
For example, one customer says wearing Birddogs is "like Bob Ross painting a landscape across [his] groin hinge." While it’s silly and facetious, it shows how the brand can connect with its target audience. Not only is the company’s marketing taking effect on its customers, but customers are actually responding to the business on the same playing field.
Here’s a good example of a blog testimonial for an outdoor retailer. REI uses this section of its blog to promote different benefits and uses for its products. Customers can contribute stories and readers can vote and comment on the posts. This structure not only starts valuable conversations about the business but also creates a community of like-minded and passionate customers.
14. Esch Landscaping LLC
At the end of the day, if you’re an SMB your testimonial page shouldn’t break the bank. You don’t have to build out an entirely new sector of your site to effectively showcase your testimonials.
Instead, build your testimonial page directly into your site’s interface, like with the example below. Esch Landscaping has a clean, straightforward, testimonial page that’s integrated seamlessly into its main site. It has videos highlighting the company’s work and individual quotes from clients who were satisfied with their experience. This is an excellent example of how SMBs can execute a cost-effective testimonial page.
Source: Esch Landscaping
Once you've created a testimonial page, don't forget to promote it. Send it to the customers you featured, your sales staff, and even to your other customers if you think they'd be interested. And don't forget to add a link to your testimonial page on your homepage, in your "About Us" page, or as part of your overall navigation.
Originally published Nov 19, 2019 5:15:00 PM, updated November 19 2019