In the past, I’ve talked about how including testimonials on your website is an easy way to build your authority. While this is true, there is a caveat. See, there’s a dirty little tactic that many shady companies employ. They fake their testimonials. How do I know this? I’ve seen job postings from companies looking for freelance writers to write fake testimonials for them.
Rest assured, I’m not the only one who knows that many online testimonials are forged. Consumers are more skeptical than ever before, so they’re sure to view any testimonials on your website with an unconvinced eye.
What does this mean for you? It means you need to give your testimonials (the real ones) more credibility. Here’s how.
- Include photos—Whenever a customer submits a testimonial, ask them if they could send along a photo as well. A photo gives the testimonial a physical face that other customers can see and connect with.
- Use video and audio testimonials—Audio and video help take the credibility of your testimonials up a notch. This is especially true with videos. When new website visitors see a video of an actual person talking about how great your products or services are, they’re more inclined to believe the testimonial is legit.
- Scan handwritten testimonials—Occasionally, a customer will send along a handwritten letter or postcard singing your company’s praises. Instead of typing up the content of the letter, scan it and upload the image to your website. This adds an extra layer of realism and credibility to the testimonial.
- Showcase testimonials from recognized sources—One reason many testimonials appear phony is because they’re from names like “B. Miller, Texas.” No one knows who “B. Miller” is, so the endorsement carries little weight. If your company provides services to well known businesses or people, solicit testimonials from these sources. That’s why you see Shaquille O’Neal on Icy Hot commercials. People trust names they recognize.
- Include website links in testimonials—Including a link to the website of the company or person who submitted the testimonial lets others see that this is a real customer who wrote this testimonial. If they want, they can even contact the individual to further inquire about their experience with your company.
Do you trust testimonials? Why or why not?