Any spa business owner or employee likes to hear when they’ve made their customers happy. But not every business knows how to use these positive customer responses in a way that matters to other potential customers.
Testimonials can make a key difference in perception and ultimately a buyer’s purchase decision. Consumers today rely on past customer opinions more than ever, especially with large ticket products like hot tubs. Prior to buying, people want to know how others who bought a hot tub feel about their experience–they’re looking for credible, unbiased recommendations.
Whether in text, audio, or video, reviews from satisfied customers can be more powerful than the best sales copy.
Welcome to the world of the Internet. And your website is where the testimonial magic can happen. In fact, sharing customer thoughts about their interaction with your business should be amongst the top priorities of your Internet presence.
And here’s why:
- 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions (Dimensional Research)
- 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. (BrightLocal)
- Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. (Social Fresh)
Whether in text, audio, or video, reviews from satisfied customers can be more powerful than the best sales copy. And by following a few rules, testimonials can easily be used to transform your website into a selling platform (even without the e-commerce).
Effective vs Ineffective Testimonials
Effective testimonials are those that build trust, get attention, and provide assurance (or overcome skepticism). But there are specific components to a testimonial that helps it sell.
First, let’s look at an example of a glowing, but ineffective testimonial.
“I love my hot tub! I can’t get enough! I’m so glad, I’d definitely buy from these guys again!”
This review sounds positive, but what does it really tell your visitors? Does it prove that the product works? Does it explain exactly how your customer benefited from using it? Without enough detail, the testimonial fails to offer any meaningful impact.
Elements of an Effective Testimonial
So what does an effective testimonial look like?
- A good testimonial is filled with benefits. You want the benefits of what you offer to be very clear in every testimonial: “This spa eased my arthritis symptoms in less than a month!” or “Our hot tub has moved our family from the couch to the backyard every evening.”
- A good testimonial substantiates your claims. If you say your product can do something, your testimonials should back up your promises. It should have actual facts and figures. How did it solve their problems or improve their lives?
- A good testimonial is from someone your audience can relate to. Make sure your testimonials come from someone with whom your target market can identify. This may be seniors, athletes, couples, families, or even wellness enthusiasts.
- A good testimonial is credible. Accompany each testimonial with the name and hometown of each reviewer to show that your endorsements come from real people. And it never hurts to ask for photos.
- A good testimonial endorses the key benefits of your product. Your testimonials should always emphasize the key benefits of your product. Having a hot tub in the backyard may look great, but how does it perform?
- A good testimonial is comparative. Have your customers bought spas before? Maybe they’ve made other large purchases that haven’t been as satisfying. Choose testimonials that let people know what makes you different or that sets your product apart from your competition.
There are a few ways to go about collecting customer comments, if you’re not already. One way is to provide a link on your website that gives customers a chance to fill out a form. “How has your spa purchase served you?” or “Let us know how we’re doing!” Have some testimonials next to the link that represents the kind of feedback you’re looking for.
You can also set up an autoresponder email campaign that contacts customers after they purchase a hot tub from your store. This gives you a chance to show your commitment post-sale and ask how they’re enjoying their spa. It also gives them a chance to offer feedback on their experience with your business.
And, of course, any time you receive a great letter or e-mail from a customer, ask them if you can use their comments on your website. If they were motivated enough to let you know, they’re bound to want to spread the word.
How to Use Your Testimonials
Once you’ve got some testimonials to share with your visitors, you need to make sure that you’re putting them to the best possible use on your site. Consider the following:
- Include your best testimonials in a visible place right on your homepage. You could place them in your sidebars. You could even place one in your headline.
- Place some testimonials right in the middle of your homepage sales copy to keep your readers focused on your credibility as you outline the features and benefits of your product.
- Set up a whole page dedicated to your glowing testimonials and include snippets of your customer’s comments throughout your site. Be sure to put a link to your testimonial page next to each of the snippets.
- Include testimonials on each and every page of your website. No matter where your visitors click, you want them to find a positive customer review of your business.
Things to Avoid
Now let’s look at a few mistakes to avoid when using testimonials on your website. Don’t edit your testimonials to exclude a comment or add information you want to hear. If you can’t post a comment “as is” and feel comfortable with it, it shouldn’t be used. If your testimonials are in your “voice” and they all sound the same, no one is going to trust that they are legitimate.
Effective testimonials are those that build trust, get attention, and provide assurance (or overcome skepticism).
Never use a customer testimonial without permission. Never, ever invent testimonials! This is fraud, plain and simple, and lying never results in a positive impact on your business.
If you’re not using testimonials, you are missing out on one of the most powerful, easy-to-use, and inexpensive marketing tools available. Testimonials help create trust in your hot tub products and your business identity. Otherwise the message is coming only from a salesperson trying to convince them that buying a hot tub is the right thing to do!
No matter what stage you are at in building your business, you want to focus on establishing credibility with your potential clients. Once you’ve won their trust, you may have won a loyal customer for life. Use positive, fact-filled testimonials on your website as this is a high impact, simple, way to let your visitors know that you are worthy of their trust…and their business.