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Reviews vs Testimonials: What’s the Difference?

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Reviews and testimonials have a lot in common and can be used in different ways to help businesses and customers.

The difference between reviews and testimonials is that reviews are collected by third-party sites and testimonials are collected by businesses themselves from customers who want to share their positive experiences.

A testimonial by its nature is someone saying something good, ideally in writing, about a business, its products/services. A review can be either positive or negative. If positive, by default, it’s also a testimonial; it’s simply may or may not be placed directly on a company’s website. All testimonials are reviews, but not all reviews are testimonials.

Reviews

Reviews are most often snippets of information left on third-party sites by customers about their experiences with businesses. Some popular places to leave reviews are Amazon, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc. In fact, there are hundreds of review sites where customers can and do talk about your business.

Customers that leave reviews on these sites can leave negative or positive reviews depending on their experiences. Anyone else on these sites can see the reviews others post. Reviews can be a determining factor for other potential customers to make a purchase.

One important thought: People can and do talk about your business. Do you know where and what they are saying?

Testimonials

Testimonials are usually collected by companies themselves from customers. They are more likely to be positive and highlight a customer’s experience with a business. Many companies will display these in advertisements or on the business’s website as a way to “show off” others’ experiences.

Testimonials can also be requested by companies as a way to have something written that they want to use. Often a customer will write something positive about a business on social media that the company would like to have on their website. As long as the post is public, companies can take those testimonials and use them to promote their business.

You may have seen testimonials on a company’s website. An example would be a quote from a customer displayed on the front page praising the company and explaining in detail what the company’s services or products did for them.

How To Use Reviews

Reviews, both positive and negative, can be used to your advantage. You may think only positive reviews can get you results, but negative reviews are just as important.

Before you can use reviews, you have to get them first. Customers are the ones who decide to leave reviews, but you can always encourage them to. After a purchase has been made on your website, for example, you can set up a pop-up to ask customers how their experience was and if they’d like to give your business a review. You can also do this by sending emails to customers who complete purchases.

Once reviews have been made, you can then use them to promote your business. Positive reviews often speak for themselves. It’s important to have positive reviews, but it’s also important to have negative ones. A business with only positive reviews will look suspicious to potential customers and they might think those reviews are illegitimate. Negative reviews reflect the accuracy of buying products and services online in that you can’t please everyone.

Having negative reviews alone won’t help your business, though. But, if you respond to them quickly and respectfully, you are showing your customers that you care about any problems they may have. If you learn how to respond to negative reviews, you can boost business.

How To Use Testimonials

Since testimonials are collected by the company or business itself, testimonials you collect can be used in many ways. 

  • The most obvious way to use a testimonial is to use it as advertising. You might have seen quotes on business websites from people who are supportive of the product or service. This is one way they can be used. 
  • Creating a customer testimonial page on your website and sharing testimonials on social media are other ways that they can be used. Customers will want to know more about your product or service, and they will trust fellow customers’ opinions over anything your business says about itself.

Posting testimonials on social media can be highly beneficial, considering the digital age we’re in. If people see that others are satisfied with your business, they will be more likely to buy from you. If you find that customers are leaving their own testimonials, you can share those to your page as well.

How Reviews And Testimonials Can Impact Purchasing Decisions

Which is better for the business?

Testimonials are usually better for businesses because they can showcase a customer’s genuine response to their product or service. Whether they’re used on a business’s website or included in an advertisement, testimonials can draw in customers that think favorably of the business because of social proof. Think about it, if lots of people are talking positively about a business, aren’t you more likely to want to do business with them?

Which is better for the customer?

Reviews are usually better for customers because they can be used to help customers make purchasing decisions. The best way for customers to get a gauge on if the product or service will be beneficial to them or not is to read reviews from others. After all, 91% of people read reviews before they make purchasing decisions.

Summary of Reviews and Testimonials

FactorReviewTestimonial
SourceHappy and upset Customers/ClientsHappy Customers/Clients
Intended AudienceOther shoppersOther potential customers
PlatformOnline review sitesWebsite, Print, and Video
PurposeReal-time view of customersMarketing tool for the business
Desired IntentTo credit the business for a job well done or to give a heads up of a bad experience to other potential buyersTo build a good reputation and to increase the credibility of the business

Learn More

To learn more, read our article on reviews and how to use them to convert prospects, contact us, or call us at (205) 451-1945.

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