While it isn't likely that a visit to your site will trigger a full-blown panic attack, people usually experience some level of anxiety when contacting an attorney or a doctor. They come to you because they need help or have sensitive questions, and they’re often worried that they won't make the right decisions.
If your website and marketing do nothing to soothe this anxiety, nervous visitors will quickly leave your site in search of someone who CAN assure them that they’re making a safe choice.
To calm clients’ fears, I suggest utilizing the best “anti-anxiety pill” for websites that I know of: testimonials. When incorporated into your design and used strategically, testimonials from your past clients and partners have the power to effectively soothe any anxiety clients, patients, and referral sources might feel when they visit you online.
However, while you might appreciate every positive testimonial you receive, not all testimonials are created equal. The truth of the matter is that some of your testimonials are more powerful “trust signals” than others. But how do you figure out what your best testimonials are?
7 Qualities to Look for in a Great Client Testimonial
When deciding which client testimonials to feature on your site, look for the ones that hit all the right notes:
- Specificity. Look for client testimonials that address the specific practice areas and services you offer. These kinds of testimonials can create a stronger connection with potential clients because they more clearly show that you have resolved specific problems for past clients—the kinds of specific problems that your potential clients are actively concerned about.
How to use it: Sort your testimonials into categories, just like you do with your blogs and other content. (This is super easy to do in DSS!) Once they’ve been sorted into the right categories, it’s quick and easy to apply them to the most relevant pages on your website.
- Length. Shorter testimonials aren’t necessarily “bad,” but the more details that are provided, the better. A few one-sentence statements won’t hurt you at all, but you may want to look for more in-depth testimonials to feature on your website. Look for the ones that tell a story and really get into the client’s experience with your practice.
How to use it: When most of the testimonials you feature on your site are short and generic, it looks a little fake. Use a mix of short and long testimonials, with a preference for the testimonials that tell the most compelling stories.
- Objections. Here’s a little advice from marketing master Dave Frees: get testimonials that address objections. Ask clients what they were worried about before they saw you, and what the main sources of their anxiety were about choosing you. These kinds of testimonials assure potential clients that they’re making a good choice—and that your services or goods are worth the cost.
How to use it: Use testimonials that address objections on the pages with your most important calls to action, where they’ll have the most relevant impact.
- Proximity. Look again at the advice above because it leads into something really smart and effective. Where you use your testimonials on your website can be as important as which testimonials you choose to feature. To adequately assuage anxiety, potential clients and visitors should see relevant testimonials at every stage of their “customer journey.”
How to use it: Like we said above, a “cost-justification” testimonial should be positioned on your contact page. Doing so says, "Don't worry about the cost, this attorney/doctor/service is worth every penny!" However, don’t forget to place similarly relevant and assuring testimonials on other pages, too. Visitors should see them on your homepage, on your landing pages, and even in your email campaigns and other marketing materials. You want to start building a relationship with the potential client by featuring the most relevant trust signals at every critical step of their “customer journey”—from visitor to client.
- Intensity. You need to decide just how intense anxiety about purchasing your services really is. If this is a high-stress decision for many of your clients or contacts, you need to take care that the intensity of the testimonial matches the intensity of the page.
How to use it: Are your testimonials powerful enough to over-correct for anxiety and address the substance and perception of potential clients’ fears? Does the tone of the testimonial match the tone of the page it's featured on? For example, a light-hearted testimonial might be totally appropriate on some pages, but it could be jarring on a serious page about brain injury or wrongful death. Likewise, a very serious or emotional testimonial might distract from the main point or message on a less intense page.
- Authority. Any testimonials you include should carry a certain amount of authority. While all well-written—or well-spoken—testimonials are good, a review from a recognizable name is even better.
How to use it: A testimonial from a local celebrity or government figure can carry a lot of weight, especially when it’s someone that your perfect clients would recognize. However, you don’t have to get a celebrity to sing your praises. You can increase the authority of your testimonials by using clients’ names or initials (with their permission, of course!) or adding a location. For example, your testimonial might look like this: “Smith Law Firm solved all my problems!”—Bob S., Atlanta, Georgia. This can humanize your testimonials and make them more convincing.
- Video. If your client or another testimonial source is comfortable doing so, a video testimonial can be extremely powerful. Video gives a personal feel and conveys emotions that a written testimonial cannot.
How to use it: Make sure your website supports video, and make sure that it’s easy to add and categorize them. Testimonial videos are a powerful feature on homepages and practice-area landing pages, and they’re compelling when you pepper them throughout your blog content and social media posts. These can be the highlight of your website design or just a little more supporting “oomph.”
Keep in mind, of course, that state bar associations have different rules and regulations regarding client testimonials on law firm websites, and websites for medical practices always need to be sensitive to patient privacy regulations. The good news is that most lawyers and doctors are allowed to use testimonials on their websites, as long as they are truthful. NEVER buy testimonials or reviews, and make sure you look into the requirements in your state to see if you need to add appropriate disclaimers or take another action to adhere to best practices.
We’re happy to work with you to identify limitations and incorporate testimonials ethically on your website. While we’re not experts in every state’s rules and regulations for every type of business, we do have a lot of experience with other law firms and medical practices around the nation. If you have a question, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll either have the answer or know where to start looking.
Build More Trust Into Your Website Design
You may have a degree from Harvard and an impressive professional background, but those things don’t matter to most potential clients. Instead, people want to know that you’re good at what you do and that you can help them solve their problems. They also want to know that they’ll have a good experience working with you and your team.
So, let your testimonials from past clients and partners explain how great you are. It is far more powerful, and it shows potential clients that you’re someone they can trust. Even just a handful of sincere testimonials from satisfied clients will go a long toward putting the visitors to your website at ease.
Need to add more “trust” to your brand message and website design? Contact us at 888.886.0939, or start talking with our award-winning team about your ideas in a website design consultation.