Entries Tagged 'online marketing' ↓

How Testimonials Can Hurt Your Business


You can’t sell without it.

Customers only buy from companies they trust and like and one of the best ways to promote trust is by including testimonials on your website or landing page.

But sometimes, that can do more harm than good.

Why? Surely testimonials are the best form of social proof there is.

Normally I would agree with that, but there are some companies out there using testimonials that harm their business.

Harmful testimonies

How many times have you come across a website or landing page that lists testimonials but doesn’t attribute them to a person, or just show “Mrs B from Scotland”?

Would you trust their authenticity?

I wouldn’t.

How to make the most of your testimonials

If you’re going to put testimonials on your website they must, as a minimum, be attributed to a real person showing their full name, position and if possible a photo.

It’s also a good idea to have them address specific concerns, for example, ease of use, great customer service etc. After all, if that was something that stood out for them, the chances are it’s a concern for others too.

Getting testimonials and endorsements from celebrities or prominent people in your industry would be great, but not everyone is in a position to do that. So the other option is to use testimonials your customers can relate to. An example would be that if you sold waterproof cameras, a testimonial from a scuba diver would carry more weight than a wedding photographer.

Another thing you can do is to include video testimonials.

Don’t always concentrate on the positive

I know, an odd thing to say, but if your testimonials and reviews give a balanced picture, potential customers are more likely to believe them.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m considering buying a product and all the testimonials are glowing, I will head off to do a bit of independent research. The danger with that is (apart from finding someone who slates your product) I may come across a better deal elsewhere. So give your potential customers a balanced view and prevent them from leaving your website.

All in all, testimonials are a valuable tool for online marketers. They give a real life view of your products and service that should allay many of the fears potential customers may have.

But if you’re going to use them, make sure you follow the tips above and build that all important trust.

Author: Sally Ormond, copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd who cycled 300 miles in 24 hours last year.

2 of The Biggest Headaches Web Designers Face

First off, I’m not a web designer so if you are and you disagree with me, please feel free to leave a comment and tell me (and everyone else who will be reading this post) what it is that really bugs you. web designer headaches

As a copywriter, I work with a lot of web designers.

It seems to me that there are still a lot of people out there who firmly believe that:

a)    Their website comes fully loaded with copy

b)    Once it’s published, visitors will flock to their site

If you think like that, you’re wrong on both counts.

Just because you’ve hired someone to build you a fantastic website does not mean people will be beating down your door to take a look at it.

These days, if you want a successful website you’ve got to do some work – well, quite a lot of work and that means having a budget.

‘Budget’ – the word sends shivers down your spine, doesn’t it?

Your outlay doesn’t just begin and end with the design and build of your website. This brings us back to the first misconception listed above.

Your website comes fully loaded with copy

No, it doesn’t.

Your designer will create you a fantastic website, but he or she won’t be filling it with content for you – that’s your job, or if you prefer, the job of the copywriter you’re going to hire.

Yes, hiring a writer means more money, but it will be money very well spent.

Once you have people flocking to your website, it’s the words that will keep them there and draw them in, convincing them to buy or contact you. If you have the wrong words, they’ll keep on browsing until they find a website that gives them what they want. I won’t bore you with the details about how to write website copy here, because there you can read out that in my earlier post ‘How to Create Engaging Website Copy’.

But of course, before your copy can engage them, you have to get them there.

Traffic will just come to you

Err, no it won’t.

This is the other misconception.

Once your website goes live, if you just sit back and wait for visitors you could be waiting a very long time.

No one is going to know you’re there unless you tell them. That means:

  • Getting busy on social media
  • Writing blogs and articles
  • Building links

Yes, in other words, you’ve got to do some work. Again, you can either get on with this yourself, or you can find the budget to pay someone else to do it for you.

Getting a website online is only the start of your online journey. If you don’t have the time, patience or knowhow to do it yourself, the cold hard fact is that you’ll have to find the budget you need to get someone else to do it for you. But just make sure you find someone reputable with a proven track record. Cutting corners by paying peanuts will leave you frustrated with a website full of dire copy and rolling tumbleweed where you should have traffic.

Author: Sally Ormond

Boost Your Website Conversions With These 3 Optimisation Tips

Getting people to visit your website is just the first step. Once you get them there, your website has to convert them – i.e. convince them to take an action (sign up for a newsletter, buy, register for an event, download a report etc.).

Boost conversions

There are some simple checks you can perform on your website to make sure you have the best possible chance of pulling off a conversion.

1. Title tags and META descriptions

Title tags and META descriptions are important because they are the first impression a searcher will get of your website. Not only that, but the title tag is the piece of code that lets the search engines know what your website is about to make sure it appears in the relevant search results.

When a search term is typed into the search engine and your website is listed, these must tell the searcher that your website is the one they’re looking for. That’s why its imperative these are keyword rich and use words that will make the searcher click on your link.

Every page of your website must have unique title tags and META descriptions and, as emphasis is placed on the first words, make sure that’s where your primary keywords are.

They should also be short – title tags no more than 65 characters and the META description no more than about 150. But above all, it’s important to remember both of these must appeal to a real person.

2. Headlines

Once the searcher has clicked on your listing the next thing that comes into play is your page headline.

Think about what the reader wants to know and make sure all your headlines and sub headings are useful to the reader, give a sense of urgency, convey benefits and are very specific. On top of all that, they should also include the primary keyword for your page, but again, make sure it’s written in a proper sentence that makes sense to the reader.

As soon as they arrive in your web page, the headline should tell them exactly what that page is about.

3. Call to action

A web page is useless without a call to action.

This is a button, link or sentence that tells the reader what you want them to do next:

  • Buy now
  • Download the report
  • Register for the event
  • Call us now

Each of these pushes your visitor further into your sales process. If your call to action involves them completing a form make sure it is easy to complete, the last thing you want to do is lose them at the last hurdle because your form or sign up process is unclear or overly complicated.

These 3 very simple tips will help you boost your conversion rates.

Take a look at every page of your website and see if they tick all the boxes. If not, you’ve got some work to do.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter, Twitter, Google+

There Are Still Businesses Out There Without a Website

No, it’s not 1st April and this is no joke – there really are businesses out there that don’t have a website.

And we’re not just talking about one or two. According to the Office of National Statistics 21% of small firms don’t have a website. In todays’ digital age I find that astonishing.

So who are they?

Well, they are the type of businesses you use, plumbers, florists, decorators, small retailers etc. They rely on word of mouth for their business. But times are pretty tough these days and that just isn’t going to cut it.

But surely if they have enough business coming in there’s no need to change. Is there?

According to research conducted by O2, from a poll of 2000 people a quarter of all respondents said they wouldn’t use a small business if they didn’t have a website.

If that surprises you let me ask you this, what is the first thing you do when you want to find out about a local business you are thinking of using? Probably check them out online. If you discover they don’t have a website would you still be so keen to use them?

Barriers to having a website

Money is probably the main one here. These businesses are generally very small and may not have the money to invest in a website. But then again, websites don’t have to cost the earth; so considering the benefits they can bring it’s quite short sighted not to invest in one.

Many of these businesses also only work within a small area, so they believe a website would be a waste of time. Ever heard of local search? Hmmm?

They may also argue that they only need a small client base. But what happens if a few of their regulars move away or no longer need them? Where do they get new clients?

Why you should have a website

If you are a small business and have used one or more of those excuses, think again. A website isn’t an optional extra anymore. If you want to be taken seriously it is a must.

Here’s why:

  • No one uses Yellow Pages anymore, now they Google
  • Even word of mouth has moved online
  • Your website will sell for you 24/7
  • Your competitors have websites that show testimonials from their clients so others can see how great they are. How will they know if you’re any good if you don’t have a website?
  • If someone searches for you online and doesn’t find you they’ll go elsewhere
  • If you don’t have a website you could be viewed as being a bit dodgy, unprofessional or at the very least behind the times

My advice is find a good web designer and copywriter and get a website. It will boost your reputation and widen your customer base.

If you don’t you’ll get left behind.

How Online Retailers Can Sell More

Online retailers have it tough.

Their High Street counterparts have the benefit of being able to display their wares for all to see and a small army of sales staff to encourage people to buy and to answer any questions.

All the online retailer has is a website, a few pictures and some persuasive words.

One of the key elements in the sales process is trust.

Again the High Street retailer has the advantage of face-to-face contact, the products being available to see (try and touch) and the ability to talk to the customer to allay any buying objections they may have.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the online shop because there are several things they can do to garner trust.

1. Useful

If you can’t talk directly to your customers it’s essential you offer them as much information as possible to help them make their buying decision.

Offering ratings, reviews, detailed product descriptions and daily deals will help develop a trusting relationship.

A great example of this in action is Amazon.

2. Secure

Security (or rather lack of) is one of the key factors that will put people off buying on line, which is why you must show your potential customers that your website’s security is second to none.

If possible use an https:// domain and only offer reputable payment methods such as PayPal, MasterCard etc.

Also a no quibble money back guarantee is also a deal winner.

3. Privacy

No one wants their details passed on to a third party so make sure you put potential customers’ minds at rest by publicly showing:

  • Your cookies policy
  • That you won’t pass their details onto a third party
  • You only ask a minimum number of questions to complete a purchase

4. Customise

This one won’t always be possible, but if you can customise your service to suit your customer’s needs. Not everyone is going to have the same needs, so being as flexible as possible will show you as a company that puts its customers first.

5. Reputation

Trust also comes from having a good reputation. Using your social media channels as a way of promoting your great customer service is the perfect way to show you are a company to be trusted.

Also make sure you make it easy for people to get in touch with an email address, phone number and postal address clearly shown on your website.

As you can see, there are a number of ways the online retailer can enhance its reputation.


Sally Ormond – Copywriter, MD at Briar Copywriting and avid online shopper