Social proof to endorse your sales pitch

People’s opinions of your product or service will help convince others who are undecided.

Testimonials serve firstly to build trust and secondly to dispel objections.

But for testimonials to fulfil these two functions they should be powerful and say the right things at the right moment.

In this post we’re going to see how to get powerful testimonials that clear all your prospects’ doubts and generate trust in your business.

First we’re going to see how you can get those testimonials and then we’ll analyse the most common mistakes we see in most websites that make testimonials lose their power.

Let’s get into it!

Free Copywriting Guide

Send out questionnaires, but better interview your best customers.

If you are offering services, software or B2B products, the best way to get mighty testimonials is to have a questionnaire with the right questions ready.

Always send it after you have completed the service or sold the product, or after a few weeks if it’s a long-term partnership.

To get relevant answers that will help you build trust and clear objections, ask questions like these:

  • What kind of doubts did you have before deciding to choose us?
  • What factors played an important role in your decision to choose us?
  • What made our product or service different from others?
  • Was there anything about working with us that surprised you, and did it exceed your expectations?
  • What results have you achieved after buying/contracting this product/service?
  • If you had to choose 3 specific benefits, what would they be?
  • Who would you recommend this service/product to and why?

As you see, they’re open questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no.

The customer will add more details with which we will then create our testimonial.

A testimonial shouldn’t be too long unless you want to write a success story where you can go into more detail.

However, the testimonial has to be strong enough to provide veracity to your sales pitch.

Questionnaires are fine and most of your customers will be happy to answer them, but if you can, try to interview some of them.

In a conversation the customer will be more focused and give you more detail about why they chose your product or service.

In addition, the good thing about interviewing is that you can elaborate on a point the customer has said but isn’t clear enough, or you can get more out of.

Social proof to endorse your sales pitch. The 3 most common mistakes when adding testimonials to a website. Click To Tweet

For example, to the question in the questionnaire “What results have you achieved after buying my product?” the customer can write “Sales have increased”.

If you are talking to him you can take the opportunity to ask “Can you tell me the percentage increase in sales?” “Yes of course, it’s been 25%”.

Putting numbers and detailing benefits will give greater impact to that testimonial. Increasing sales by 5% is not the same as increasing sales by 30%.

Details are more compelling, answers such as “I really liked it” or “the benefit was good” are not as compelling as “I really liked working with you because you were always available to answer our doubts when we started using the software” or “we have reduced the percentage of abandoned carts by 20%”.

When we give details we help the reader to imagine more easily the benefits they will get when they buy the product, and that’s our main goal when writing copy.

Because writing mighty testimonials is also writing copy.

Don’t be embarrassed to correct and rewrite sentences your client has said that are unclear or can be improved to make them more convincing.

But don’t lie by trying to exaggerate the benefits or adding numbers out of thin air.

Firstly, it’s unethical and secondly, the client may get angry and you can lose their trust.

Ask them if you can upload a picture of them or their company logo, pictures increase credibility.

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Most common mistakes

Now that we’ve seen how you can get powerful testimonials from your customers, let’s take a look at the most common mistakes that 90% of businesses make when it comes to uploading them on the web.

Having a dedicated testimonial page

Many businesses believe it’s better to have all the testimonials gathered on a single page where prospects can go to read them.

The truth is that only a very small percentage of your visitors will actually go to that page.

Testimonials work MUCH better by adding them into the copy on all your pages.

Well, except on the contact, FAQ and policy pages.

You should add testimonials on your Home page, About and all your Service and Product pages.

Why?

Because these are the pages prospects are going to check and testimonials will help you prove your claims.

Social proof to endorse your sales pitch. The 3 most common mistakes when adding testimonials to a website. Click To Tweet

Let’s look at an example on my website.

The introduction of my about me page says this:

Zombie copy doesn’t provoke any emotion, it’s dead and eats businesses!

It’s very dangerous because it makes you lose sales.

I’m their number one enemy and together with my allies, the letters, we quickly kill them off.

 And in their place, we leave beautiful copy, full of life. Copy that makes lots of friends, but above all…

Lots of money.

And right after I introduce a carousel with testimonials where the first one talks about how their sales (their money) increased after uploading my copy to their website:

How to write powerful testimonials

To make sure prospects read the testimonials and that they are convincing enough, you have to incorporate them in all your pages to prove your claims.

There’s no point in me telling you my copy helps to increase sales if no one else back it up.

Since my clients do back it up, I have more chances that the person who has landed on my website trusts me.

Rotating Carousels

The second most common mistake most businesses make is to include testimonials in animated carousels that rotate automatically. They rotate always too quick!

THIS IS A BLUNDER.

How can I read your testimonial if you don’t give me enough time? It’s worse than trying to read the subtitles of an Italian movie!

In the end people don’t read the testimonials in a rotating carousel, because they get dizzy!

Please trust me on this.

I know that designers love things that move, banners that flash by, sliders, animations…

But the truth is that these things do nothing but annoy, they distract prospects and don’t let them read the copy that in the end is what will convince them to buy.

Unless you are a designer or work in animation, in this case it’s ok to show off with your animations and videos.

It can also work for fashion brands, as ZARA does, with short videos on its website.

In all other cases, avoid anything that moves.

Instead, use static carousels where you need to click next, and when the testimonials are really powerful just add them to the copy in static blocks.

Recommended reading The 5 most common mistakes of websites that don’t convert

Tiny or ultra light font

The third of the most common mistakes when uploading testimonials to the websites is the font.

I don’t know why but some designers and business owners love to sabotage themselves by uploading testimonials with tiny and/or too light font.

They often choose a light grey typeface on a white background… I’m not sure if what they want is to create a poor-sight complex in people.

Social proof to endorse your sales pitch. The 3 most common mistakes when adding testimonials to a website. Click To Tweet

Don’t make this mistake.

Testimonials have to read clearly, otherwise they are useless.

You can add them with inverted commas and in italics to make them stand out from the rest of the copy, but always in the right size (17 or 18 px).

My trick to power charge testimonials (or one that I learned once and I always apply)

When I discovered this trick and realised how effective it is, I asked myself why I didn’t think of it earlier!

The strange thing is that many people still don’t know about it judging by the dozens of websites I look at every day.

All testimonial widgets have by default space for a headline with a bigger font than the rest of the text of the testimonial.

Well, most websites insert the client’s name there.

Such a wasted opportunity!

We already know that most people don’t read everything, well, if the copy is very well written, then yes, but many people scan the page and only read what catches their attention.

That’s why in this case we should use the space in the headline of the testimonial to add a powerful sentence.

From everything that the customer has said about your product or service, you should choose the most striking piece of information that will serve as your headline.

As I do on my website:

How to write powerful testimonials

That headline will grab the lazy reader’s attention and make them read more of the testimonial or, even if they don’t, take away the most powerful benefit my client gained with my work.

I’ve already made sure that testimonial has done its job.

Ecommerce reviews

If you have an ecommerce, you might be hesitant to choose one of those plugins that allow customers to leave reviews directly.

I wouldn’t hesitate, those reviews are the ones that will convince your prospects more than anything you might say.

Obviously this is true if they are positive reviews, but, honestly, if you sell a product is because you know it is good, if you have doubts about its quality …. I would think twice…

True, even if you have an excellent product there will always be someone who leaves a bad review. Fusspots are everywhere.

But most of the time, a bad review among many positive ones is not going to harm your product, in fact, these overcritical reviews are noticeable because they tend to dramatize a lot.

Social proof to endorse your sales pitch. The 3 most common mistakes when adding testimonials to a website. Click To Tweet

In any case, the best way to avoid bad reviews is to have a quick and effective return policy.

A person might be dissatisfied with your product, but if when requesting a return everything goes smoothly, they will be left with a good taste in their mouth and most probably won’t leave a negative review on your website.

Unless they are bitter and angry with life in general, but there you can’t do much…

Anyway, what I’m telling you is that reviews are extremely important in ecommerce and you can’t do without them.

Conclusion

Social proof is one of the most effective weapons to convince prospects to buy.

Whether it’s services or products people’s opinions are going to nudge your prospects to choose you.

Remember these points:

  • Add testimonials in all pages.
  • Stay away from rotating carousels.
  • Large, clear font
  • Testimonials and reviews with powerful headlines
  • Reviews in ecommerce, always

See you next time!

Sobre Elena de Francisco

Escribo copy que engancha para negocios sin fronteras. Vivo en Holanda, pero escribo donde me pille. Mi entretenimiento favorito es aplastar textos zombis que no dan resultados y transformarlos en palabras que venden.

About Elena de Francisco

I write copy that hooks into prospects minds for businesses without borders. I live in the Netherlands, but I write everywhere. My favourite pastime is to crush zombie copy and turn it into words that sell.

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