By Rachel Bartee

Even though content marketers and business owners have all this technology and information at their disposal, which is certainly helpful, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to raise awareness about your company. Not only that, but it can also boost user engagement and lead generation, and most importantly, establish your business as a reputable company. However, you will find plenty of marketers relying on fake and useless user testimonials to improve their image, and inevitably crashing, because the audiences have been able to see right through this type of advertising.

But, genuine and detailed user reviews and testimonials on your website are the best social proof that your product actually works as advertised, and one which actually motivates other users to make a purchase. Clients testimonials should contain their actual name, images of your product being used, positive reviews, and ideally, a slightly negative mention of your competitors, such as “Unlike dozens of other products of this type, this one actually delivers on its promise”.

You can take these essential elements and create even more effective testimonials by adopting the following 5 tips:

Create a Story

Sometimes, despite being genuine, user testimonials can come off as bland and generic. However, you can remedy this by having them tell a story. For example, if you are trying to sell a product which solves a very particular issue for the customers, such as illness, you should focus on how it works and how the buyer will benefit from the purchase (quick relief, immunity boost…). In case you are selling a product which doesn’t address a particular pain point, such as office chairs, for example, you can still build a story around it by focusing on the benefit of using it (comfort, ergonomics, adjustability, price…).

Provide a Human Element

Although user testimonials contain that human element by default, they should still come off as real and specific, as opposed to vague. Potential customers will only be able to establish a connection with your brand if it features real people with real problems. According to Tim Buckner, who is the head of marketing for AU Best Essays, testimonials should sound totally natural:

“Customer testimonials should be written using a language that an actual customer would use. This means avoiding fancy words and technical jargon, unless you are selling to a specific group which is familiar with the terminology, such as IT experts or engineers.”

Use Authentic User Images

Instead of relying on stock photos or promotional images which you have used in your marketing campaign, publish images of actual people using your product to go along with the testimonial. However, you should also think about your target audience. For instance, if you are trying to market apps or gadgets, the testimonial should probably feature someone in their 20s or 30s. If you are targeting the Asian market, then the person inside the testimonial should be Asian, as well. You want potential customers to see someone they can identify with.

Use Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are about as genuine as they get, even more so than images, which is why you should aim to feature plenty of those on your official website or blog. Because it’s easier to produce, publish, and/or stream video than ever, it is estimated that video will account for over 80% of all traffic online in the next few years. Your video testimonials should, again, feature real people, not actors. Each client should give a short testimonial that is under 60 seconds long, because users don’t have patience to sit through longer clips.

Get an Influencer to Back You Up

While potential customers are more likely to trust users which have already bought the product, they are even more likely to make a purchase if an influencer they follow has gotten behind your brand or product. You would need to find an influencer which supports the same values as your brand. For instance, if you are selling sports equipment, it would make sense to pursue influencers which are professional athletes. If you are selling beauty products, you can get an influencer from YouTube or Instagram to back you up.

Genuine user testimonials should definitely find its way into your marketing strategy, along with all the other useful content you are providing for your audience. If you have managed to create them using the tips above, you will be able to make your brand popular, inspire trust, and ultimately, boost your sales. Good luck!

Rachel Bartee is a content writer and a marketing consultant. She is content-oriented and knows how to put words into action. She feels passionate about travelling and inspired by her morning yoga. Get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.