The Power Of Testimonials

I’m a great believer in getting and using testimonials from my clients as part of my marketing.

This post is a combination of internet marketing techniques and WordPress plugins to show you how to make the most of client testimonials.

How Do I Know They Work?

You may be a little cynical about testimonials, I think we have been yellow highlighter-ted to death by internet marketers with shiny testimonials about sub standard info products.  But if you use testimonials ethically from real clients whom you have helped, I think they works really well.

Social proof is one of those triggers all marketers talk about along with risk reversal and scarcity.  If you can prove you know what you are talking about and are not a nightmare to work with via testimonials you are one step closer to making a connection with a stranger from internet-land.

How do I know people read testimonials and that they work?

When someone submits a request for WordPress technical support, I use a plugin that tracks the referring page, and I see dozens of requests coming in to me where their referring page is my testimonials page, which means right before they submit a request, they are reading client testimonials and get a good feeling for me.

If you go to my sales page, there is a testimonial, which also links to my main testimonials page.  This is how I showcase my social proof.

How I Use Testimonials

I use/show testimonials in a number of ways:

On my sales page – I have a single testimonial at the bottom of my sales page, this then links to my main testimonials page.

From my menu bar – I make a big deal of highlighting and drawing people into my testimonials from the main menu.

From my sidebar – I have a rotating sidebar widget which shows random testimonials.

On demand – if people ask about a certain type of project and I have a testimonial from someone that I did that type of work for, I point people at that.

Asking for Testimonials

You should not be shy about asking for a testimonials.  If you do good work and your clients are happy they are usually more than happy to provide a testimonial for you.

The best time to do this is at the end of a project when the client has a warm glowing feeling about you and your service or product.

I usually add a line on my final invoice saying something along the lines of “if you were happy with the service, a testimonial is always appreciated”.  It will surprise you how many testimonials you get with this simple automated technique.

The Unspoken Benefit of the Testimonial Leaver

You as a purchasor of professional services should see the leaving of testimonials as a matter of course, but ask for  a link back to your site.

Not only does this increase the number of links back to your site (something Google loves) but it opens up the audience of your suppliers site to your site.

People do follow the links from my site back to my clients I can see that from my analytics, so use testimonials for your suppliers as a marketing tool

The Testimonial Plugins

There are a lot of plugins out there that help to collect and display plugins.  I currently use  wp-testimonials.  It allows me to collect testimonials, display them as a widget or use shortcodes to embed them into a page as I do from the menu above.

Check out the other testimonial plugins available http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/testimonials

It has it’s short comings, clients cannot add testimonials automatically , they need to send the message to me to add, the styling is not that great and it has not been updated in a long time.

The same thing goes for many of the other testimonial plugins I have tested, they are good but are not 100% right for me, that is why … dun dun durr fanfare …

I’m Writing An All Singing All Dancing Testimonial Plugin

Because I cannot find the perfect solution for my testimonial needs, I’m writing my own.  Here are the main features I’ll be adding

  • Back end management of testimonials as custom post types
  • Form for clients to submit their own testimonial
  • Shortcodes to display one or more testimonials
  • Testimonial sliders, again via shortcodes
  • In theme function support for the above two
  • Widgets to show testimonials in sidebar plus rotating them
  • Gravatar support & client image / logo support
  • Do follow link back to your client as a thank you.
  • Multiple styles to change the look and feel of the testimonials
That’s phase one only, I have a load of really great ideas to expand and develop this plugin.

What Would You Like To See In A Testimonial Plugin?

I’m programming my plugin from scratch so what featured would you like to see in a testimonials plugin?

Oh, oh I’ve just had a brilliant feature idea, popup youtube video testimonials so people can wax lyrically about you via video, please add yours below.

Wrap Up

I seriously recommend that you get a testimonial showcase up and running to provide social proof you know what you are doing and that clients are more than happy to recommend you.

Image by vestman

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6 Responses to “The Power Of Testimonials”

  1. suzanne delzio November 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Been meaning to incorporate testimonials. Oi! Your plug in sounds great. I think I will get it when it’s all set, but for now anything wrong with just having a testimonials button on the upper NAV and listing testimonials? thanks, Suzanne

    • Neil Matthews November 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Nothing wrong with that a manual tesimonial page is great too

  2. Ray Bernard November 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    Two requests.

    I would like the ability to use tags so that on specific pages, testimonials that relate directly to the page content could be selected for display. For example, a testimonial might praise both reasonable pricing and specific expertise. So on a page about technical expertise, that testimonial and others that touch on the topic would apply.

    Second, I would like the ability limit the number of testimonials per page from any single customer. A sidebar with several testimonials from the same customer could give the impression that you only provided the related service to one customer. On one of our websites we have up to 10 testimonials from each of a number of customers, and we have run into that issue with the current plugin we use (Quotes Collection – which was not intended for testimonials).

    • Neil Matthews November 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Hi Ray

      The tags or categories link to a testimonial is a good idea, I’ll give that some thought.

      I’ve never been lucky enough to get more than one testimonial per client so that’s not even something I’ve considered, I’ll give that some thought

  3. Katie Kay November 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    I am very anxious for your new testimonials plugin. I need to replace a weird one on a clients site and I need a good one for new clients and my own website as well. Get to work please! hee hee

  4. Traci Richards December 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I don’t need it for myself, but would be a super thing to offer my clients (potential at this point!). So, please put me on your list and let me know..