A Web Site Without Testimonials is a Party Without Guests

Eric Keiles,EO Philadelphia
Article by:
Eric Keiles
EO Philadelphia

Hardly anyone I know likes to be the first guest to arrive at a party. It's uncomfortable. You make awkward small talk with the host, feel a little lame for being so early, and wonder whether or not anyone else will show up. There's nothing quite like the sense of relief when someone else finally knocks at the door.

Why is this uncomfortable? It's simple human nature. Most people don't like to be the first to anything, and partygoers are no exception. If it looks like your house is already filled with people when new guests pull into the driveway, they'll feel more comfortable getting out of the car and coming in.

Your business prospects are no different. They need to understand that people have already been to your business … and had a great time while they were there! These days, most potential customers make this call by visiting your Web site. That doesn't mean you should put up some virtual balloons and pump up your virtual stereo. But it does mean that your Web site has to feature some kind of sign that you have plenty of clients who love your party.

Here's the challenge: Most people don't stay on Web sites for long. On average, a prospect will look at your entire site for just a minute or two— sometimes much less. It's possible that your homepage may only get a few seconds worth of precious eyeball time per person. That means your site has to work very quickly to give the impression of a business that's filled to the brim with partying customers. Luckily, there’s a tool that can do exactly that. You might have heard of it. It's called a video.

Not too mind-blowing, true. But when you combine this popular medium with real-life client testimonials, you have something very powerful. It's an easy way for your prospects to a) see that you have clients who are happy enough to talk about you, b) get to know you a little better and c) trust you. One good video can enhance the effect of every other page on your Web site.

So, line up a few happy customers who wouldn't mind a little camera time, sit them down and press record. Just keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use the customer's full name, title and company. There's no value in an anonymous person saying good things about you. After all, that could be anyone (including your buddy or the guy down the street who did it for US$50).

  • Make sure your testimonials are recent. The whole point of the Internet is instant access to the latest information, not old quotes from five years ago.

  • When possible, use testimonials from "celebrity" individuals and companies. This is a bit of a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: People are going to pay more attention to Steve from Apple than Mom from Mom's Computer Shop.

  • The praise should be quick, concrete and obvious. A long, rambling story that has a few hidden nuggets of information is of no interest to anyone. If necessary, put on your interviewer hat and coach your customer.

  • Use at least three testimonials. Your company has more than one fan, right?

Brochures, direct mailings and other marketing tools have their place, but let's be honest— they're often received very skeptically. When it comes to making a powerful impact on your business prospects, there's nothing quite like a well-done video of a real person talking about how great you are. Show your prospects that you know how to party.

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