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Easy Furniture Web Tip 163: Best Practice: Website Testimonials: Believability and Presentation

Furniture World News Desk on 1/21/2013

By Katherine Andes

A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from someone who wanted to engage my services. I asked him why he phoned me and he said, “When I saw Mike R. recommending you, that was good enough for me.” If you’re a local company, you can do the same thing. Incorporating website testimonials with well-know locals can make a huge difference in making sales.

But once you get a testimonial, are you hiding it under a bushel basket? You may be doing just that, if you simply slap it on your website without any real thought regarding presentation.

I see this on many websites. The testimonials are in a small font and I have to squint to read them. Others sprawl across a wide screen. A currently popular technique, and one of the worst, is to have moving testimonials. They either scroll to another testimonial or they fade out and a new one fades in. I guess the point is to pack a lot of testimonials into a small slot. The problem is I start to read one and then it changes before I’ve finished, making me frustrated. Or the movement makes me feel like I have to hurry to read it before the next one pops up. Not good.

Just build a dedicated page for your website testimonials and place them there. You can also sprinkle the best ones throughout your other pages as proofs of your sales message.

But text can look boring. A simple way to help your reader’s eyes not glaze over is to select a snippet from the testimonial and make it a prominent “pull quote.” For example, here is how I would present a typical testimonial …

“She helped us find the perfect furniture for both everyday use and entertaining.”

We loved working with our decorator, Melissa, when we were selecting our new living room furniture. She explained fabrics, woods, colors, and styles. She helped us find the perfect furniture for both everyday use and entertaining. Without her, we would have been lost. Mary Jane Doe, Anytown

You can see there’s nothing fancy here, but the headline pulls the reader into the longer copy. Of course, you should enhance it by snagging a picture from your customer to go with it.

Here is another example from a client’s flooring store site.

You will note that the testimonials on my client’s site include the full names and positions of the people being quoted. Although, any testimonial is better than nothing, a testimonial giver who is fully identified gives prospects more confidence that the testimonial is believable and not phony. The pictures help give the page a more human look. If you can’t get a picture, that’s okay, you can still use the testimonial, but a picture really helps. So beg.

By the way, even if your testimonial is a video, you can draw your visitor in to click on it by including a pull quote above the video. Here’s another example from another flooring store. Also note that for the text testimonials on this page, I decided to bold important items in the body of the text.

There are no hard and fast rules here. Just play around with it.

Easy Furniture Web Tip #163: Make testimonials inviting to read with thoughtful formatting. Think: What would make you read and believe a testimonial?

Katherine Andes specializes in web content development and search engine optimization — including page customization for storefront and franchise web sites. Visit her website www.AndesAndAssociates.com or phone her at 559.589.0379.
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