People are naturally risk aversive, and your prospective customers will instinctively look for visual clues on your website to gauge how “safe” your product or service is.
The likelihood of them deciding to buy something from you is often based around the levels of perceived risk they associate with you. Perceived risk can be defined as…
“Negative or unexpected consequences a consumer fears may occur as a result of making the wrong purchase decision… The greater the perceived risk, the more likely it is that the consumer will seek information about the product and the recommendations and experiences of peers before buying”
Perceived risk can be broadly placed in to the following categories. In practice you should consider how your marketing addresses all of them:
- Performance risk: “Will this perform to the levels I require”
- Financial risk: “Is this worth the money?”
- Security risk: “Will this harm me or pose a danger to me?”
- Psychological risk: “Will this harm my self-esteem or perceptions of self?”
- Social risk: “How will my peers judge me?”
- Or in some cases, all of the above.
One of the most tried and tested methods you can use to reduce their level of perceived risk is to prominently display customer reviews and testimonials on your website (and encourage customers to leave reviews on other websites as well). This article will look at the ways you can get positive reviews from your customers and how you can use them to increase sales.
Getting your reviews & testimonials
Getting reviews from your customers can be tough, and I have found it is more effective to have a rolling program of collecting reviews rather than attempting to get them on a one off/ ad-hoc basis. That way you have a steady stream of reviews coming in you to use as and when you need them. Some ideas you can apply to your customers include…
a) This obviously presumes your customers have some form of account control panel in the first place, but if you do, make sure you have a page dedicated to them giving you feedback e.g. “Let us know what you think”. (If you don’t have a website that uses a control panel, create a page on your website with a feedback form – see below).
b) At the end of an order is a great time to target people for a testimonial. They are generally feeling positive after a successful transaction and you are at the forefront of their mind, making them more likely to be open to taking a minute or two to send feedback.
c) If you use emails to communicate with your customers, simply add a link to your feedback form (as described above). This all also applies to any final email you send out at the end of a transaction e.g. a solicitor’s “Thanks for using us to move home” email.
d) If you use the post to communicate with customers, send a form with your final letter and a pre-paid envelope asking for feedback. You’ll be amazed how many people are willing to do it, especially after a positive experience.
e) You can offer an incentive for people to make the effort and increase the number of testimonials you receive. The prize doesn’t have to be anything pricey or extravagant to be successful e.g. “Tell us what you think and enter prize draw to win your next meal free”.
f) Additionally, if you want people to leave reviews on other websites, you can also encourage more people to do so by rewarding them. I have seen one company successfully increase their visibility by offering customers $5 account credit for every review they leave on industry related review websites.
Hopefully this should give you a nice collection of reviews to work with. The next question is what to do with them?
Where to use your testimonials
My advice would be to use one or two on pretty much all your customer acquisition marketing material. The more prominent they are, the more impact they are going to have. Some examples include…
Your website’s home page
A dedicated page on your website
Leaflets & direct mail
Here are a couple of testimonials showcases for you to draw inspiration from…