by Nick Gromicko, CMI® and Kate Tarasenko
The verdict is split on written testimonials. Some consumers rely on them, but perhaps with not enough healthy skepticism. Some consumers think they’re outright fakes. Some people believe that a business that posts only their positive reviews probably has negative reviews worth reading, too. Google Reviews is one method that unmasks anonymous reviewers. So, the question for any small business owner – including home inspectors – is whether written testimonials are actually worth gathering from clients and posting on their websites. Watch a heat map of a home inspector’s homepage, and the verdict is less promising. How can Google even find such valuable praise for your services so that you can convert it into the next paid inspection?
Here’s what you should do: At the end of each inspection where your client accompanies you, have them fill out InterNACHI’s Client Satisfaction Survey. There are many important reasons why you should do this (so be sure to click on the link to read them). Then, read your client’s completed survey on-site. If your client was happy with you, ask them to say a few words on camera for a brief video testimonial. Capture the video with your iPhone. Give your clients some keywords and phrases to say, including your company name and the city or town you work in.
Here’s an example: "ABC Home Inspections of Toledo, Ohio, did a great inspection for us and helped us feel confident about our new home purchase," etc. Then, upload that video to your website using a link to it on YouTube.
Remember that many consumers prefer to watch videos rather than read text. And they like to watch videos even more when they know they’re going to be short. So, under each video testimonial, insert a caption that says, "Watch this 45-second testimonial." That helps with conversions.
But how do video testimonials help with SEO? Google gives much more weight to video than to text, as it should. Anyone can type text quickly, but a video takes more effort to put on your website. And while Google can't “hear” the audio on your video, it now uses voice-recognition software to convert what your client says in the video into text, and then it uses that text to boost your search ranking. That's why it’s important to prompt your client to use certain phrases on camera. It works. Another important reason video testimonials work is because Google owns YouTube.
Client testimonials can be an important tool to topple the fence-sitters who visit your website. Make it even easier by video-recording your next happy client by using InterNACHI’s Client Satisfaction Survey. It’s a great roadmap for your client, who might need help articulating what to say on camera, and it will lead you straight to your next booked appointment.