Testimonials, Recommendations, Reviews, and Social Proof

What I’m referring to here is how you can tap into people that know, like, and trust you to help grow your business and generate leads.

There’s a saying that goes something like “when you say it about yourself your bragging, when others say it, it’s the truth”.

Research out recently shows how effective third party recommendations are. It was found that 72% of people trust online reviews from other people (people that they don’t even know). This was second only to in person recommendations from friends and family etc. And beat out editorial newspaper articles, your own website, and numerous other sources of where people can get recommendations.

So why is this important? Well this technique can be used in both your online and traditional marketing.

We’ve found it has a multiplier effect on your marketing spend. If you’ve got lots of great 5 Star reviews about you online, this multiplies the effectiveness of your other marketing efforts.

However, the reverse is also true. If you have bad reviews online, or no online reputation, then this reduces down the effectiveness of your other marketing efforts.

Think about how you already do this yourself. Chances are that when you last went looking for a hotel to stay at or a restaurant to eat at, you did some online research to check out reviews others had left.

I can tell you I did when booking a hotel in Fiji to stay in. I looked at several who I thought would be great, however, when reading reviews was put off.

Perhaps you think this stuff doesn’t apply to you. Well Google recently began making big changes to how it shows review information. Often it now shows up as a link to reviews about you under your website in the search results. This makes it much easier for people to find out about your reputation.

And although it’s mostly noticeable in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industries for the moment, it is spreading quickly.

So how do you combat this and beat out your competitors before they realise what’s happening?

One way is to get more online reviews and recommendations. These can be on your website, business directories and review sites, and on your Google+ Local listing (what was previously known as Google Places).

At Web Gurus we have what we call our 4W Testimonial method, which is great for video testimonials and can be used for text ones too.

  1. Who – start with the person saying their name
  2. Where – then they say where they are from. If its a business to business recommendation, then have them say their business name (a bit of free publicity for them too). If its a consumer recommendation, then have them say what suburb and city they are from.
  3. What – in 1 sentence, what was it about the business that got them excited
  4. Why – another sentence to say why they would recommend the business to other people

In a video testimonial, the 4W method results in a 30 second video. Any longer and people begin to tune out and miss the message.

The great thing is that you don’t need fancy video cameras and video editing software. You can use your iPhone, or other phone that does HD recording. Remember to record it in landscape rather than portrait. Then upload it to your YouTube account and embed it on your website.

So the next time someone gives you a compliment, tells you they’ve been recommending you, or is excited to use your products or services, ask if you can record them doing a quick video testimonial.

Do the recording 3 or 4 times to help get them relaxed and one of them will be a great testimonial.

Remember to educate them on the 4W method, otherwise you’ll end up with several minutes of waffle rather than a powerful 30 second testimonial.