Web hosting involves creating web pages, to persuade people to buy into a service, or a product. Adding customer review sections and testimonial sections will increase customer buy-in, when they are constructed to address specific customer anxieties. Website hosts must not forget to include these and other credibility indicators, when designing sites for their own business.
Customers view reviews and testimonials as transparent techniques. Customers surveyed about parts of a website rank customer reviews as the most truthful, closely followed by video testimonials. Hosts may also make use of written testimonials, as long as the customer provides validating information, like a photo, name, company name, or title. For customer comments to have genuine impact, they must be authoritative, powerful, and specific.
Any testimonial must address customer anxiety with specificity. Customers are most often anxious about reliability, quality, price, and credit card security, when purchasing online. Therefore, any testimonial should be tailored to discuss the reliability and quality of the product. When commenting on price, a testimonial must address the competitiveness of the price, and must indicate that the price paid justified the benefit gained from the product. An effective testimonial has close proximity to an anxiety source. For example, when websites use “call to action” buttons, inviting users to make purchases, then price testimonials placed close to the button will help to relieve customer anxiety. Or, where customers type in credit card information, a testimonial should be placed, validating the secure nature of all transactions.
Any testimonial must be intense enough to override customer anxiety. The intensity of the testimonial should overcome both substantive fears, and fears that are more perceptual. For example, a customer who fears that a newly designed web page will crash within a week, has anxiety rooted in substance. On the other hand, a customer who fears that, when a site crashes, the host won’t care, has an anxiety rooted in perception.
An effective testimonial exudes authority. On the business page for a website hosting service, the testimonial from the most credible source should lead off the testimonial section. For example, a person with a title, or with an award behind their name, will be more credible than a customer with no credentials. In order to persuade customers, testimonial providers must be credible to the target audience. Web hosts may consider adding other credibility indicators. For example, a logo from the Better Business Bureau would be a powerful tool to persuade customers to sign on with a web host. Any credibility indicator must fit into the offer, the ordering process, and the context of the site, and all indicators should be tested and retested, from time to time.
Webhosting must be treated like a business, and marketing is an important part of business strategy. Hosts may design beautiful sites, but if hosts aren’t consistently bringing in new customers, then they won’t be designing beautiful sites for long. To trumpet the quality of their website hosting service, hosts must make both reviews and testimonials a crucial component of their own sites.