Let Testimonials Sell Your Story

Think about how many decisions you make in a single day, or single hour and what influences those decisions? Your personal experiences and acquired knowledge weigh heavily in the process, along with emotional and external influences. How many times have you heard a friend or colleague say, “Have you heard about….” or “We should go and see this…..”?

It’s these kinds of influences that can weigh heavily on your decision-making process. In the real, face-to-face world this is called “word of mouth referrals”. Indirectly, the passive approach to the same technique is called a testimonial. The written word that supplies credibility, confidence, accountability and relevance to help influence your decision to either choose or discard this choice.

Why Testimonials Work

When you are making a decision on a product or a vendor, a testimonial could just be the “nudge” that finalizes the process. How many times have you thought, “Gee, if ole Charlie says it’s a good deal, it must be!” The relevant opinion of a trusted source can be a persuasive force to potential users of your product or services. And, unlike many advertisements, they cost you nothing!

Some 68 percent of consumers form an opinion by reading one to six reviews or testimonials (Search Engine Land). Considering the inherent value of a testimonial or review, it’s the best “bang for your buck” you can get. And besides, people love the recognition of being quoted and will become ambassadors of your business on their own. Win-Win.

Take a look at some of the social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn if you want to see the real power of a testimonial. Of course, one thing to keep in mind is the source of any endorsement of a product or service. Sources must be credible, honest, and believable to be effective. A current user who uses a particular product or service and how it has helped them provides the experiential element they need to sway their decision.

Well-placed testimonials on local and national directories can be a significant resource for those undecided users looking for your product or service. Industry-specific associations and resources are another consideration for professional and commercial products and resources.

How To Get A Good Testimonial

More often than not, you are going to have to ask a current customer to provide a testimonial. It’s probably going to be a bit awkward for them, so you should be prepared to have some guidelines to help frame the topic and focus of their statement. Here are a few tried and true questions to pose that should generate an effective response:

  • Why did you choose the business, product or service you did?
  • What did you like most about their approach or product?
  • How did this product or service solve your problem?
  • What are the biggest benefits you have achieved from this companies product or service?
  • Would you recommend our product or service to others?

Make sure the content of the testimonial is specific and stays in the actual words of the resource. If you have to edit, do it carefully and sparingly and only to correct spelling, punctuation and vague statements. Capturing the emotion of the recommendation with its minor flaws gives it the credibility to be taken seriously.

Make sure you keep the content of the testimonial up-to-date by getting your statement while the reasons are still fresh in the user’s mind. Keep in mind perennial customers that can relate how long they have been using your products or services, too.

Finally, to get the best of both worlds, consider a video testimonial where the customer can see a live conversation relating to your products and services. They are a lot more work, but significantly more effective on social media and websites.

Summary

There is no arguing the importance of a recommendation by a user of a product or service. A testimonial serves to validate your marketing claims and convince the potential buyer to choose your product. So get out there and start asking your customers for a testimonial. You must constantly collect them, evaluate them, categorize them, and publish them. Your greatest reward will be when a new customer says, “I saw what Charlie said about your product and that did it for me.” The power of the testimonial.

The Importance of Web Photography

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” That is probably truer than you think when it comes to web design and content. You see an image, you get your own visual context, and you evaluate it. But, what if your picture projects the wrong words? Uh-oh!

What do you mean, how can a picture have the wrong words? Consider this, you have a website for a jewelry store with many fine rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces for sale. But all the photos are slightly out of focus and at poor angles. Ouch, who’s going to buy that ring or necklace?

The importance of photography in web design relates to the expression of core values and the emotional connection of your site visitors. It focuses on your professionalism, credibility, and attention to detail. So, it is essential that your web photography is speaking the right words. How do you achieve this?

There are three basic resources of great photography which need to meet the three defining criteria for your business and website.

Resources:

Professional Photographers – The best choice, if you can afford it because you will get a professional image that takes into account lighting, staging, color balance, and perspective. Plus, it is a unique and exclusive image, and you own it! The down-side is the cost and the time it will take to schedule the shoot, along with all the other intangibles involved (weather, availability, etc.).

Do-It-Yourself Photography – A more affordable solution, but unless you have some photography background, you may not get the “money” shot you were hoping for. Here is a nice video tutorial for product photography DIY Product Photography and for general business photos, check out this resource: DIY Business Photos. Take your time and pay attention to the detail for a low-cost solution to your photographic needs.

Purchase Stock Photography – The last, but certainly not least favorite solution is to purchase stock photography to fulfill your needs. Advantages: Plenty of resources, generally good quality, numerous shots and styles to choose from. Disadvantages: Too many choices, Very generic content, others using the same photo. Work with your web designer if this is your source for photography, they’ll have a good idea of what to look for.

Defining Criteria:

Quality – “The perceived value of a product is related directly to the quality of the photography.” One great photo might have more value than a number of similar shots, so choose wisely. It goes without saying that photos must be in focus, high resolution, color balanced and properly exposed. Avoid sloppy prep, inconsistency, poor backgrounds, annoying reflections, poor contrast, and inconsistent cropping and sizing.

Relevance – Your visitors must identify with your products through your photography. Having people using or describing your product is more effective than static photos, if appropriate. Try to avoid the cliched “stock” photos of business people and landscapes, they may hurt more than help. Consider the surroundings and environment that the products are shown in to illustrate how they fit in the real world.

Format – Having your images formatted for the web space where they will be used is as important as the photo itself. Don’t try to use a narrow portrait photo in a banner or header photograph. Use the “Rule of 3’s” and allow for resizing and cropping in the post processing phase when you frame each shot. Keep in mind, for any web image, the final format will be a 72 dpi image, ideally at 100% scale and in either .jpg or .png format.

If you can follow these guidelines and add your own custom style, your images will be speaking volumes about you, your business and your products.

Still confused? Call (941-999-4655) or write to Seed Internet Solutions and we’ll be happy to assist you.