You’re surely familiar with testimonials. In fact, you’ve probably read many when considering a product—that’s because they’re incredibly effective. According to the ecommerce powerhouse BigCommerce, they produce some impressive results:
What you may not know is that testimonials are a form of social proof.
What is social proof?
Social proof is public evidence that your product or service is legitimate. In other words, social proof occurs when people or companies outside your business vouch for your service. Examples include endorsements or certifications from partners and affiliates, the size of your social media following and your number of article shares.
For instance, a million Likes of your Facebook page is like a million people saying, “Hey, I approve of this company.” Each Like is similar to a mini-testimonial and public declaration that your business is good; social proof, essentially. The same goes for partner endorsements and social shares. They show that society approves of your product or service.
But testimonials also affect prospects on a primal level, influencing a very old part of the human brain that’s been active since our caveman days.
Testimonials and the psychology of storytelling
Storytelling is a hot topic these days. It’s sexy. Marketing companies love to rave about their storytelling skills. And there’s good reason. Stories sell.
They do so because, just like visuals, they’re more easily remembered than words: a well-told story creates a visual in your mind, a mental movie that’s practically unforgettable. This is why our ancestors often told their tribes stories to help them remember critical lessons about safe foods to eat, trails to take and even personal history.
An effective storytelling technique most people have never heard of is called mirror characters. What’s that?
Mirror characters are a key ingredient in testimonials. They reveal a potential future that can happen if the story’s hero continues down a path. To illustrate this point, allow me to share 3 examples:
So what do these examples have to do with testimonials?
The person giving the testimonial is the mirror character. They show a potential future for your prospects if they buy your product or service. In other words, prospects see themselves (or at least what they wish to see) in your testimonials. They wish to get the same result as your reviewer. This is why testimonials are so powerful.
Action step—do this today
Write down the names and contact info of three past or present clients. Then get to work. Email them today and ask for a testimonial.
What specifically should you ask for?
If you’ve read my book Instant Credibility Online, you already know the three most powerful elements of a credible testimonial: the endorser’s name and company, her position (CEO, Managing Director, etc.) and a headshot of her to post alongside the testimonial.
Don’t ask for the picture in your initial message. Instead, your first email should ask one question: Could you provide me a testimonial?
Once you get a “yes,” then follow up about the headshot. Or better yet, find a professional image of her on LinkedIn and ask to use that in the testimonial. By finding a picture for your endorser, you save her time and are more likely to get a “yes.”
Testimonials are an easy way to boost conversions
So what are you waiting for?
If your business is online, testimonials offer a powerful form of social proof that can tip a prospect’s buying decision in your favor.
If you have none, take the above action step today and go get a few.
If you have some, more will only increase your credibility further.
Easier conversions are possible. And testimonials are a quick way to do just that—leading to more sales, customers and business growth.