User testimonials can be a tricky business. Do they help sell a product or service? Do they hurt? Do they make a difference at all? Opinions on social proof/user testimonials can vary widely depending on who you ask, but the fact is: they work well when done right. We love the feedback we’ve gotten from our users, and display select ones on our own Ninja Forms front page (scroll midway down the page). Over the next few minutes I’ll show you some powerful supporting statistics for user testimonials, how to do them right, and then how to collect your own with Ninja Forms. Let’s take a look!
Do User Testimonials Work?
Short answer: yes. Marketing research consistently shows that consumers look to and are influenced by user reviews. Consider the findings of this 2016 survey by marketing and SEO firm BrightLocal:
- 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews
- More people are reading reviews on a regular basis (50% vs. 33% in 2015)
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- Only 5% said they don’t pay attention to reviews (vs 11% in 2015)
That’s pretty powerful stuff, and it’s reinforced over and over by study after study. Now here’s the catch: they have to be done right. Let’s look at that next.
What Makes an Effective User Testimonial?
This is where user testimonials can become a tricky business. There are a few different evidence-based factors that make them effective:
- They have to be clearly genuine- real people, real quotes.
- They should be specific, detailed, and audience-centric.
- Pictures are a must-have.
- Better known users make for more authoritative testimonials
Ideally your user testimonials should speak to your target audience with specific, focused ways that your product or service will benefit them. If you have someone well-known and respected in your product or services’ community or ecosystem that will speak for it, all the better. If not though that’s fine, the important thing is to keep it real. The more authentic and straight-from-the-user your testimonial appears, the more they will be trusted. Pictures of each user is a huge boon in that department- it gives the reader a human element behind the words to connect with.
Collecting User Testimonials with Ninja Forms
Ninja Forms gives you the perfect platform for collecting authentic user testimonials directly from your users, right from your website. How much more genuine does it get than literally straight from the user? You can even have them upload a picture of themselves to go with it. And of course, you have full moderation control over what is displayed and what isn’t. Let’s look at how to pull this off!
What You’ll Need
Front-End Posting is how we’ll collect the testimonials themselves and post them to a page. It does allow for moderation of user submitted content, so you’ll be able to control which reviews display. File Uploads will allow reviewers to upload a photo of themselves along with the review.
Setting Up Front End-Posting
First we need to create a form and add our fields. Yours can differ as you see fit, but I’m adding a Name field, a Paragraph Text field, a File Upload field, and of course a Submit button. As so:
Now we want to add our Create Post action that Front-End Posting enables, so hit up the Emails & Actions tab next. If you’ve not added an action before, just click the little blue circular + sign in the bottom right and select Create Post from the slide-out menu. It should be near the top. Once added, click the action name to open its settings window.
Here you’ll want to set Post Types to Posts and then, using the merge tag icon to the right of the Post Title and Post Content fields, add the fields you want mapped to these attributes. Like so in my case:
Next, expand the Terms and Taxonomies options. How you want to ultimately display your user testimonials is up to you. There are a range of possibilities, from finding a plugin suited for the task to creating a custom post type to setting up a page just for posts tagged as a testimonial. We’ll go with the latter for this one, so under Tags here I’m going to create the ‘terms list field’ Testimonial under Term Field Mapping and enable it. Now all the posts submitted in this fashion will be tagged Testimonial and can be collected on a single archive page for the Testimonial tag.
Finally, expand the Advanced tab. There are two things here you definitely want to adjust, maybe 3. First, the Post Status. If you want to approve user testimonials submitted in this manner before they display publicly, you need to change the Post Status to Draft or Pending Review. At the very bottom under Featured Image, set this to File Uploads so the user’s uploaded image will be included with the post. Finally, you may want to change the Post Format from Standard to another format you prefer for this.
You should be set now. Just pop this form onto a page wherever you want and start collecting user testimonials! Unless you’re using another plugin that places these in a widget or other pre-formatted manner, you may want to tweak the styling of these posts to match what you have in your head. We have a series over on wpninjas.com right now that delves into styling. If you’re not sure about your styling chops, you can do it. It’s not as hard as you think. Good luck and have fun! 🙂Want user testimonials on your site but not sure how? Make it easy with Ninja Forms!Click To Tweet