Thursday, August 8, 2013

Where To Put Testimonials On a Website

In our previous posts we have seen how to increase conversion rate using verifiable testimonials on your website. We have also learned what a perfect testimonial looks like. However to realize the full potential of customer testimonials, you will need to learn one more thing about testimonials. That is "where to place testimonials on a website". I keep hearing this question often on various web developer and even marketing forums.

In this blog post, I will try to explore placement of testimonials in depth. We will also look at:
  • Why placement of testimonials is important?
  • Why should you care?
  • Possible options / What others are doing?
  • Action plan for you!

Background

Most of the successful web developers and online business owners understand the importance of testimonials. That is why we see testimonials being featured on almost all of the websites. Every such website allocates a significant portion of their online real estate to display testimonials. These days you here a lot about testimonials. Thanks to the new set of rules governing testimonials by FTC(Federal Trade Commission), there has been a constant increase in demand for better tools, systems and strategies to manage customer testimonials(relevant links can be found at the end of this post).  However, not everyone understands the importance of correct placement of testimonials in a website. There's no hard rule about where to display testimonials. We will explore more below.

Why placement of testimonials is so important?

We all know why we use testimonials. Their purpose is to instill confidence in prospect users and help to improve conversion rate. For this to happen, the prospects should read the testimonials first! This may sound obvious, but improperly placed testimonials are ineffective. Blindly adding testimonials at random places in your website will not guarantee any success! They should be presented to prospects at the right time to persuade a conversion.

Why should you care?

As with any business decision, placement of testimonials should be decided with due care. So, it is advicable for any web developer or website owner to understand this and place testimonials in places where it's more effective.

Possible options

Here are some of the places on website where you can display testimonials.
  • Home Page: Featuring a couple of high-value testimonials on your home page will encourage your new visitors to engage further with your website. If your business depends heavily on testimonials, it's better to have at least one verifiable testimonial on your home page.
    Example:
    Testimonial on home page, testimonial sample
    Testimonial on home page

  • Side Bar: Having testimonials on side bar is recommended for e-commerce sites. Testimonials will be visible while the prospect is browsing or searching for various products on the site. It's much effective when used near "Check out" or "Add to cart" button. Users are more likely place order if they see someone else giving testimonial for a product/service they are about to purchase.
  • Product page: When the testimonial is for a particular product, it makes sense to add it to your product detail page. You can have long and descriptive testimonials here. This is where your prospect is going to spend time to learn more about your product.
    Example:
    Testimonial placement, best position for testimonial, testimonial sample

  • Dedicated page: It's not uncommon to have testimonials on their own page. This is helpful to address casual browsers who are curious to know who your customers are and what they are saying about your product/service/company. Generic testimonials that endorse your business or service can go in this section.

Action plan for you!

Now that we know what are the options we have, it's time to act on using what we learned for our benefit. As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, when it comes to placement of testimonials there's no one-size-fits-all solution. I suggest a combination of above options.

  • One short and powerful testimonial on home page and detailed product specific testimonials on product page.
  • Testimonial on fixed side bar and near call-to-action area(like "Place order" or "Checkout")
  • Any of the above two and a dedicated testimonials page. Testimonials on other pages can link to this.
I encourage you to try different combination on your website and find out what works best for your product/service. Along with placement, you can also try special effects like "slide show", where testimonials change every 4-5 seconds.

Useful Links:
Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road [PDF]
Harnessing The Power Of Customer Testimonials On Websites
How To Increase Conversion Rate
Verifiable Testimonials Explained
Anatomy of a Good Website Testimonial

Do you use testimonials on your website to increase testimonials? Share your experience in comments. You are encouraged to try different approach suggested in this article and share your experience in comments.

Also check out www.wiwitness.com, our awesome systematic reputation management solution that comes with system, tools and strategies to use testimonials to increase conversion rate.
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