Why are Testimonials Important on a bookkeeper website?
Riddle me this: what does the Watergate scandal have to do with your business?
Trust. The Watergate scandal undermined the American public’s trust in their government. Now people are skeptical of just about everything. That includes businesses and, yes, even bookkeepers! Gone are the days of readily trusting a company’s claims about itself (and gone are the days where a scandal could be reported without having “-gate” slapped onto the end of it).
Building trust with testimonials
These days, you have to earn trust. If you don’t, your business might end up embroiled in a, er, fail-gate. This is especially true of bookkeepers, who handle a lot of sensitive information and have important duties. But establishing trust can be a challenge. One study found that 75% of people believe that companies don’t tell the truth in their advertising and another found that a mere 14% of people trust advertising. Potential clients won’t believe that your bookkeeping services are great just because you say so. But they might if somebody else says it. And that is why you should use customer testimonials.
Claire Owen-Jones of Loud and Clear Accounting, and an ICB member, says, “I don't network so I generate all of my business online so my website really has to work." Part of making your website “work” is using testimonials effectively. It’s essentially harnessing and giving a platform for positive word-of-mouth, which is so crucial in generating business for bookkeepers.
Marketing Experiments conducted an experiment where they made two different versions of an online customer registration process—one version with testimonials; one version without. They found that written testimonials increased customer conversion by 25%. And when they used video testimonials, conversion rates increased by a whopping 201%! (See “Choosing the Format” below for further discussion about the pros and cons of using written and video testimonials.) Testimonials can work wonders.
These days, nobody believes the hype. People want to know what your services are really like. Anything that smacks of corporate spin will backfire will instantly lose credibility. The effectiveness of your testimonials is tied to how authentic users believe them to be. That means that you need:
- Real testimonials. Users will be able to sniff out phony testimonials. It’s okay to ask your customer for a testimonial. You can even coach them a little bit. But don’t start dictating exactly what they say. Don’t force them into raving about the quality of your product if it’s actually just your prices they love. The person gushing about your business really needs to believe the gush! So getting the right person to provide the testimonial is half the battle. If they really are a big fan, they’ll give you a glowing testimonial that’s still completely trustworthy.
- Real people. Obvious, I know, but if you’re not careful, users might think that you’ve just written a few testimonials yourself and slapped some made-up initials, “K.G.,” onto them. You need to show your users that these testimonials are from bona fide customers. Including the person’s full name, title, company and photo will give the testimonial a credibility-boost.
Ever spent an hour in a shop umming and ahhing over whether or not to buy that pair of shoes? When you’re thinking about parting with your money, anxiety kicks in. Are they any good? Can I trust them?? Are they worth the money??? Testimonials alleviate that anxiety.
The key is identifying what may worry potential customers and include testimonials that address those concerns. Here’s two things that Marketing Experiments found helps allay people’s fears about buying a product:
- Specificity. Hazy, generic-sounding testimonials (“This service is so good. These guys are great. Yay!”) are nowhere near as effective as specific ones (“The other quotes we got were out of our budget but this business’s prices were much more affordable for us”). Try to ensure that your testimonials are specific, focused on quality, reliability, service, cost etc.
- Proximity. Marketing Experiments recommend placing your testimonials strategically throughout your website (though you may also wish to have a “Testimonials” page which groups them all together in one spot). If a customer is on your “Contact” page, hesitating to pick up the phone, a testimonial there about how friendly you are could really help alleviate that momentary phone-phobia. Kim Parks of Parks Bookkeeping Services uses this integrated approach and includes testimonials as a section on her About Us page.
One strategy is to have your testimonial start with a possible pain point and then show how your business or product overcame it. Something like, “I’ve always found finances a bit confusing, but the staff were so good at explaining things clearly and simply. Now I know exactly what’s happening with my money!”
Choosing the format
As noted above, Market Experiments found that written and video testimonials boosted conversion by 25% and 201% respectively. So video testimonials can be extremely effective. But before you rush off and accost your favourite client with your iPhone camera, remember that sometimes written testimonials are the better choice.
For starters, written testimonials are easier to obtain—just a quick email exchange and you’re done. And of course they’re much cheaper. Filming a testimonial will take some time and money. But written testimonials are also a lot easier for users to take in. A video requires that the user click “play,” wait for it to buffer (!), and then sit through a full spiel. A quick quotation, on the other hand, can be absorbed at a glance.
Regardless of the format, make them easy to digest with short quotes and short clips. Our advice: use video, but do so sparingly.
Re-Cap: Testimonials matter
Let’s review the ground we’ve covered:
- Testimonials help build trust.
- Authenticity is key, so use real testimonials from real people.
- Alleviate anxiety by being specific and placing testimonials strategically.
- Written and video testimonials both have their place. Videos can be even more effective, but should be used sparingly.
Need an example? Check out the testimonials about Rocketspark given to us by Bookkeepers. This should give you a good idea of what website testimonials should look like.
Testimonials are all about getting external validation. When used well, customer testimonials can build trust in your services, boost your clientele and keep your bookkeeping company from being another fail-gate.
If you’d like to create your own bookkeeper website with Rocketspark you can start a 30 day free trial of our website builder and sample our bookkeeper templates which provide an excellent starting point for creating a highly effective bookkeeper website.