Testimonials can be an extremely useful sales tool for your website (and your other marketing materials too!). However, they can be just as harmful if you’re not careful. Your testimonials need to be legitimate and sincere, and there are a number of ways to ensure this.
Firstly, who are they? For your testimonials to look legitimate you should at least include their full name (not just their initials), as well as their location. A suburb and state is usually best. If they are representing a business, then include their business name, and you should also provide a way for them to be contacted so that their testimonial can be backed up. So for example, ask them if they mind if you include their website address. If you’re struggling to find enough people to provide testimonials, this can also be a good way to turn your request into an opportunity for them – you are advertising their business and creating a good inbound link for their website (which is good for their Google rankings!). But always remember to ask for permission before publishing their testimonial.
Including a photo is also a great way to improve the credibility of the testimonial (and definitely don’t fake this with a generic stock photo!). Another tip is to choose testimonials that have a specific message in them. For example, a testimonial like “I chose your restaurant for my mum’s birthday, and we couldn’t be happier with the service, the food and the ambience. Your lamb shanks and risotto were to die for!” is far more effective than “You have great service and awesome food”.
Now where on your website is the best place to put all these great testimonials? The home page is a good place to start. Maybe just one or two in the side bar, or a single sentence testimonial in the header. A good idea is to have a few of them “rotating”. This keeps the website interesting, and also allows you to have more than one on the home page without taking up too much room. In addition, you can also have a page dedicated to testimonials, or better still, have your testimonials interspersed throughout your content. For example, if you have just launched a new product, you could include a testimonial about that new product on the product page.