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Thread: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

  1. #21
    50Bubbles is offline Member
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    Exclamation Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I think we have to get out of the mindset that everything on the website needs a ranking status. Testimonials on a website are NOT useless by any stretch. Used effectively, they can add to the credibility and my provide the tipping point for the visitor that is on the edge of a decision. While visitors may indeed go looking for testimonials elsewhere (Yelp, Google et al), having them on your site is highly recommended and encouraged.

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  3. #22
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I agree that of course testimonials (used correctly) are an incredible conversion tool... the most obvious proof of that I would think, is the fact that they're always present in heavily split tested, expensive media. Everything from P90X to high cost PPC campaigns/direct mail in industries that operate based on results instead of just percentage of gross for the marketing budget... most results based ads are going to include testimonials, just because they boost conversion.

    You just have to present them right. Customer photos (with the business owner?), actual names, for B2B you could even do contact info... you could also do an interview and link to a larger page about particular projects if you like, and have the 'testimonial' as a small excerpt that they could click on to read more about the story. There's a ton of options, just a matter of the industry, the effort the business owner is willing to make, and where you want to strike the balance between quality, cost, and results. Either way, having 3rd party reviews is definitely a shortcut to credibility, but it's not the only option. Obviously direct mail pieces and infomercials have to do something else, no 3rd party proof options there.

    One thing I do think though... why have the testimonials all stuck on a 'testimonials' page? I feel like it's better to stick them where there's a decision that needs to be made, to help bolster the story you're telling.

    I'm not really a conversion specialist, but that's what I think of all this for whatever it's worth.

  4. #23
    mblumenthal is offline Leading Expert
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    As a side (and very late) note: Mary and I discussed Greg's article in a deep dive a Local U a number of weeks ago: Video Deep Dive: Testimonials & Reviews on Your Website - Local University
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    Eric Rohrback (02-11-2016)

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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    Testimonials should be woven into every page of your site, they do a major part of the selling for you! Any page of your site describing a service or product you offer should have testimonials on it that relate to what that page is offering. Testimonials are more believable if they include the photo, name, phone number, city, website etc.. and any other personally identifying info that the testimonial writer will allow. Don't allow review sites to control what your target market sees about you.
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    Dave is offline Member
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I was referred back to this discussion via a comment on Phil Rozek's excellent blog piece about reviews/review management services.

    Testimonials roughly equivalent to nice words by mom. Ha ha. I more or less agree. Are they valuable in conjunction with a great review process as suggested??? maybe.

    Our smb's have an ongoing long term analysis about what drives sales. We interview have interviewed now thousands of customers. Reviews= Very Important.

    Testimonials: Not one customer has EVER referenced its importance.

    Well geez. nobody puts their faith in "mom's" good words!!!

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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    again, testimonials are very powerful if they are BELIEVABLE and contain proof that they are real (phone number and email and address of the person, photos etc)

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    Eric Rohrback is offline Global Moderator
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I agree with Chad. Testimonials can bring powerful social proof to the product/service and lift the company above the competition during the buyer consideration stage.

    It all depends how you use testimonials. If you're using testimonials from a random customer and just using text, then it's a waste of time.

    If you're using testimonials from a C-suite executive at a major, well known company, with a picture/name/website then the testimonial will carry a little more weight with future buyers.

    Testimonials: Not one customer has EVER referenced its importance.

    Well geez. nobody puts their faith in "mom's" good words!!!
    Right. They never reference a testimonial to you as a reason to buy. The testimonial subliminally persuaded them to trust your company because of the big name/big company giving a testimonial. They didn't realize that created a bias, but it did.

    Social proof works, but only when done effectively and with purpose. That's why you don't put the same testimonials on every page. You put the testimonials that will resonate with that particular audience. When people say it doesn't work, that really means they don't understand how to use it.

    Stop looking at testimonials as a checkbox on an optimization list, and look at it from a potential customer's point of view.
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I still would not say they are a "waste of time"

    Even if they are testimonials without much proof, if they are surrounded with believable testimonials that have proof elements, they get lumped in with the proven ones.

    Also, real testimonials from your target market will unconsciously speak the language of the buyer much better than a copywriter, resonate with their feelings, opinions, needs, and wants. Very important
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    Dave is offline Member
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I'll be very specific.

    First I came back to this discussion via a link from what I found to be an excellent realistic and common sense article by Phil Rozek about review management tools. It referenced this discussion.

    2. We have businesses that have the nature and good fortune to interview customers about marketing aspects of the business and ultimately why and how they chose our business.

    3. Of the largest one we have surveyed/questioned about 3,000 customers representing possibly about 20% of sales over a recent time period. As samples go that is a large sample set.

    4. We are able to ask questions in a customer friendly environment. This business and the others are services. We spend time with the customers. We couldn't do this in many other settings. We know that.

    5. We are able to ask a number of questions. When it comes to the marketing side and "source". What we have learned is that about 90% of customers come from 2 areas: A. Search and B. WOM (word of mouth), Direct referrals, and a combo of WOM and search. The search side is larger but the WOM/Direct referral side is very significant.

    6. Then we ask what got them to choose us/ to buy/ why did they pick us? etc.

    7. Responses on that are quite broad and varied. A significant one are the highly visible reviews and review sites. Reviews being off site. Interestingly NOBODY who is a direct referral EVER references reviews. But it is a significant, though not a majority, reason why people choose the business.

    8. There are a healthy number of other significant reasons why they choose us, or buy from us. Some are web oriented some aren't. Some are a function of wide spread and different elements of marketing. Some are staff.

    9. At times these people mention very specific features. They find them on the web at times. We have listened to their feedback and made some of those features far more prominent and easy to find. That has created more sales.

    We love that. Let the buyers tell us what to do. Ultimately they pay our salaries, the rent, etc. I would rather hear it from them than from ourselves or outside consultants.

    10. Of the roughly 3,000 responses not one has referenced a testimonial on our site. We have some "prominent" testimonials. As individuals they aren't enormously prominent. Its not that kind of service. We don't get celebrities and we don't sell to "C" level execs. Basically when we get people with a higher profile or people who are somewhat social movers, their influence is still sort of small and narrow. In fact they do refer new customers.

    11. If we had prominent sponsors we would promote them. We aren't that kind of smb. Lots of smb's aren't.

    Getting back to Phil Rozeks article. There were a healthy number of responses in a short time period. It was a relevant piece.

    I agree with Phil. I actually think the effort to get reviews and some of the other elements connected to marketing has to start with the owner/chief/etc. That person needs to get buy in/ train staff. That person has to understand the differences between his/her business and what may or may not work.

    In our case, nobody whom we have interviewed/surveyed has EVER mentioned a testimonial. They have DEFINITELY mentioned other elements of the service. When we get enough of that feedback we respond.

    If we get responses about existing testimonials we will respond more aggressively to that. We actually still go out and solicit "testimonials" from those that "should" help us convince buyers to go with us. To date...we have not seen it work....for this business and some others exactly like it.

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    Dave is offline Member
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyHawkins View Post
    I'm loving this discussion so far. I pulled some stats from some of our clients' testimonials pages to see how much truth there was to the idea that no one visits them.

    It's *sort of* true in the sense that these pages really don't get much traffic in comparison with pages like the homepage or the services pages or the About Us page. Here is what I found.

    The first is how many unique visitors went to that page from the last 30 days, the second is how much time they spent (avg) on the page.

    Private Investigator
    Testimonials Page: 8 visitors, 29 seconds
    About Us: 30 visitors, 1 min 2 seconds

    Mattress Store
    Testimonials - 56 visitors, 1 min 59 seconds
    Why Us: 106 visitors - 37 seconds

    Realtor
    Testimonials - 16 visitors, 46 seconds
    About Us - 41 visitors, 1 min, 42 seconds

    Dentist
    Testimonials - 1 visitor, 5 seconds
    About Us - 27 visitors, 1 min 36 seconds

    Personal Trainer
    Testimonials - 14 visitors, 1 min 45 seconds
    About - 80 visitors, 20 seconds

    Party Rentals
    Testimonials - 33 visitors, 55 seconds
    About - 134 visitors, 59 seconds

    Security Company
    Testimonials - 2 visitors, 29 seconds
    About Us - 17 visitors, 26 seconds


    So it is true that for the most part, only a small fraction of the traffic these guys get even look at the testimonials page. I'm not agreeing that they're useless (I used that as the title of the thread to kind of summarize the article) but I do agree with the main point that people don't look at them nearly as much as most business owners think. After reading it & discussing it I am planning on making the following changes:

    1. Make sure reviews on the testimonials pages are able to be validated. I don't necessarily need to always use reviews from other sites but even linking to another site from the person who left it is more credible (like Bright Local does - https://www.brightlocal.com/)

    2. Add 1 or 2 reviews (from Google or Yelp widget etc) to the About Us page since it gets so many more eyeballs

    3. Make sure if you're linking to the Yelp profile you use the widget that highlights your reviews but does not say "Leave us a Review on Yelp" as that can lead to filtered reviews because Yelp considers it a solicitation.
    I went back and looked at our stats over a longish period with about 19,000 page views:

    About Us Page 719 visits
    Testimonials Page 42 visits.

    BTW: We have about as prominent testimonial as we can find on two pages including the testimonial page, including one page where it might have impact and gets lots more traffic.

    Based on the stats above and on the complete lack of customers ever referencing a testimonial as a reason to buy, I'd say we have the kind of smb type where there is little value (about none) to testimonials.

    I'm sure there are sites where testimonials work. I know there is a value to celebrity or authoritative testimonials add value.

    We don't have one of those sites/types of businesses, and frankly there are a significant number of sites where that is similarly true.

    We certainly didn't know it when we first built a website for this type of business and after constantly updating them and changing them. We aren't getting rid of it. It does generate some occasional long tail landing page traffic. Other than that it doesn't have impact in this type of business.

    Again, the most telling info has come from our customers. Their commentary is better than what we come up with on our own, or think is important, and better than outside consultant advice.

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