What is an effective testimonials page? The afterthought of so many websites. Formulaic quotes that may or may not be authentic, but do say little to close to nothing about the kind of work that’s done and how effective it really is. All of them organized neatly on a sterile page that looks as though it was last updated several years ago.
No piece of your site, of course, should ever look like it’s not touched weekly, at least, or even more often, ideally. It’s responsible for the first impression you’ll make, in most cases, on your target audience (and potential customers), and we all know the deal with first impressions. And while those visitors may arrive there curious, they’re probably also a little cynical. They’re looking for something to latch onto, something that reassures them that you’re more than capable and trustworthy. A stale testimonials page conveys the opposite of that.
An effective testimonial tells a short but personal story that will resonate with your audience and nudge them from curious to motivated. And a couple of them can be far more powerful than a laundry list of generic pats on the back. Outside of that very simple foundation, there are lots of ways to build your testimonials page, so keep it true to your brand. For a little inspiration, here are a few approaches that are worth copying.
The power of video
Video testimonials are not only a great opportunity to turn a spotlight on some real people (no actors, please) describing actual challenges you helped them overcome, they’re also a great way to work in some footage of your products or team at work.
And you don’t necessarily need to spend thousands on production. The most critical component of the testimonial, remember, is the story. And that’s especially true with video testimonials. So keep the narrative tight and the editing tighter. Nothing over two to three minutes. And spare us the DIY special effects. Proper lighting and clear sound are enough to worry about.
An option to go deeper
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the conventional quote format as long as they’re poignant and refreshed every few months. In fact, if they’re done right, they’ll leave your visitors wanting more. An increasingly popular format makes available an extended Q-and-A-style testimonial when you click on the featured quote.
The Q-and-A is a great vehicle for a longer testimonial. You control the narrative, turning the attention to the aspects of the story that you’re proudest of, but it’s still largely told through the client. Plus, the format itself is very reader-friendly. That said, keep it as an option rather than the main attraction. A testimonials page chockful of copy is more likely to be a turnoff at first glance.
Whether you were aware of it before now or not, many of your customers, current and potential alike, are conducting their own informal background checks on you, Googling and sifting through your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook histories. So beat them to it.
Keep a close watch on your feeds for tweets and posts that brag about your brand and embed them on your site. Unsolicited support is the best kind. And it shows that your testimonials page is constantly evolving—which is a sure sign of a company that pays meticulous attention to every detail.