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How to use customer testimonials to boost your e-learning business

Customer testimonials and reviews are a part of any successful website. People trust peer recommendations more than ads. With customer decisions taking increasingly longer to make, it’s essential to have that extra something on your landing pages to convert.

There are two types of reviews, and they are both valuable. The first is the unsolicited testimonial — when a person posts about your e-learning products or services on their social media pages, blogs, or other popular venues. The second comes as a response to your asking them to leave a review or spread the word — this is most often done through contests or giveaways.

Read more: 6 Awesome tips to get more customer reviews for your online course [INFOGRAPHIC]

The power or customer testimonials

The reasons why customer reviews are so important lies in basic consumer psychology. People don’t feel comfortable spending their money on something that others have not tested. They don’t trust the business and feel it’s risky to be the first to try it. Of course, there is a small percentage of early adopters that simply thrive on innovation. However, they are not nearly enough to make your business successful.

The second reason why customer testimonials are effective is that they activate that one dark horse of marketing – FOMO (fear of missing out). When potential clients see that others have had their lives enriched by what you are selling, they'll want in on the action as well.

Read more: 5 FOMO marketing tips and tricks for online course creators

Who should testify

With so much at stake, you might feel tempted to hire professionals to shoot wonderfully looking, flawlessly sounding testimonials. I’d advise against it. If you can hire those people, so can other businesses, and eventually, the word will get out.

It's like the same commercial actor doing a lot of stuff at the same time – you have a guy being the caring dad, the carefree (single) one drinking beer with friends, and the face of sleeping pills all in the span of the five minutes ad break. It’s hilarious, but it also makes for low credibility.

And if you do it as an entrepreneur while pretending it’s the real thing, your reputation will possibly never recover. Testimonials should be genuine. It’s fine to give something in return for testimonials but not to influence the actual content.

Where should you post testimonials?

This very much depends on the audience and the type of business. If you are active in the e-learning industry, you probably have several points of online presence, from your main website to different sales pages, contact pages, social media pages and a blog, a podcast, or a vlog.

These must be easy to access but refrain from using pop-up ads, sound and all, as that can be very invasive. People will immediately close the window rather than watch it. It’s also a good idea to have more than one because you want people to find someone they can relate to.

The key is in knowing your strengths

You need to put your testimonials where you get the most traffic. That means knowing exactly where that is, and to do so, you should use a tool that collects that data for you.

Specifically, you should find the tool that works best for you in drawing your site’s heatmap. Website heatmaps show you the hottest (most visualized) and the coldest (unpopular) spots on your website. By aggregating information gathered about user behavior, heatmaps give a comprehensive image of how the audience interacts with a certain webpage: the clicks, the scrolls, and the overlooked parts. This is pure gold when your goal is to optimize sales funnels and get better engagement.

Read more: 4 Basic steps on how to set up a sales funnel for your online course

How many customer testimonials should you post?

There isn't a specific number, but obviously, you need more than one. As long as you don’t make them overly invasive (popping up, as I’ve talked about above), you can gather as many as you can, use the most compelling quotes on your main page, and have a link to a distinct customer testimonial page. This way, people can browse at their own pace and see as few or as many as they need to be convinced to buy.

If you want to prioritize the more effective ones, post them at the top of the list. Look for testimonials that focus on specific details – “It was a great experience, I highly recommend” does not say much. As a result, it doesn’t really sell either. If you can, try to have several formats too – written reviews, pictures or infographics, and videos.

Closing thoughts

People trust other people like themselves more than any ad. Customer testimonials are a very convincing marketing tool, whether you ask for them and post them on your pages or satisfied learners share them as user-generated content on social media.

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