People are notorious for following the leader. Doing what other people do is one of the easiest decisions to make, especially if those people are leaders or respected figures. As a company, you should always have some focus on getting people to follow the leader when it comes to buying your products. One of best ways to do this is by effective use of testimonials and references.
Most successful Internet businesses have testimonials of some sort. 37 signals has taken this to the next level by incorporating testimonials on every homepage in addition to their testimonial pages. The second you find their product, you get those testimonials about what others think. No need to check around, call, or research further. Just figure out what others are saying and start using the product.
Blinksale is another example of a company with great use of testimonials. At the top of the page you see: “Blinksale rocks – Paypal developer network”. Also, down near the bottom and below the fold they have eleven additional testimonials.
After seeing these testimonials you might wonder how you can go ahead and get testimonials when your product is barely out there. Keep in mind that these days with all the blogging and buzz, it can be pretty easy. If you look at some of the testimonial examples above you might not recognize all of the sources, but they still have an impact.
Testimonials can accomplish a ton. Not only do they give credibility to your product, they actually remove some of the decision making process and make it easier for your customers to say yes. This can especially be true if your testimonials are from reputable sources. General Mills was one of the first companies to jump on this when they started using sports endorsements for the Wheaties brand. They saw the value in having heroes endorse a product that was difficult to differentiate in the crowded cereal market. People thought, “If Babe Ruth is eating Wheaties then maybe I should too”. The same exact thing holds true with your product/service. Some people will buy just because others did or because a famous/big/popular company gave a testimonial. Make sure that your product or service is the next “breakfast of champions” by getting the best possible testimonials on your site. Also, get these testimonials in front of people as early/fast as possible. For some buyers, knowing that Babe Ruth loves your website is all they need to know.