July 16, 2019

Author Testimonials – How Important Are They?

My Literary Coach doesn’t solicit or post testimonials or endorsements on our website. This practice we list as one of the five practices that distinguish us from similar sounding services. Should we rethink this policy?

Sue Duris might keep things as is. In a recent Marketing Profs posting, she opens with this story:

I recently asked a marketing director about customer testimonials on his company website. He openly said, “The testimonials aren’t real, I made them up. Everybody else does it, so why can’t we?” My second thought … was “Aren’t you in the business of building trust? What does that say about your company?”

Testimonials*, especially when the giver is identified as an expert, are supposed to help potential clients be more reassured about choosing a particular vendor. Yet, as Duris points out, when these are phony–especially when this is freely admitted–don’t they just have the opposite effect?

Source, according to a Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, plays an important role.

Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18 percent since 2007 … Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.

William Arruda, founder of Reach Personal Branding and author of Career Distinction, calls this “crowdsourcing for professionals”–“you’re only as good as the collective opinions of others.” For independent contractors, client feedback has always been important. The increasing ease of requesting and gaining recommendations now make them expected.

Come to think of it, I have some likes on Facebook, one-click recommendations on LinkedIn, and a half-dozen entries in various local listings, each which offers anything from a thumbs up to a five-star (or similar) rating system.

I will link to these from my website. On the one hand, this will offer a truer picture than my selecting excellent reviews and posting them on my website. On the other hand, I will ask my clients to check out these sites before and after our work together.

*Apps and websites have various terms for a similar thing: LinkedIn (the first to have this feature) calls them recommendations. BranchOut and BeKnown call them endorsements. Honestly.com calls them reviews.

Image credit: spectrum7 / 123RF Stock Photo

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