Testimonials are a wonderful sales tool. They provide the social proof of good products or service that can help close a new sale. Every testimonial you receive should be posted to your website for everyone to see.
Customers are more likely to believe what other people say about you than what you say about yourself. Online directory sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Google+ all provide methods of leaving online reviews. These reviews are good at helping to attract organic website visitors, but they don't always help to close the final sale.
Retail jewelers still receive handwritten thank you and testimonials letters, and many jewelers have stockpiles of those letters dating back since before the internet existed. All of those letters would be a great addition to the website to convince new customers you shop with you. These testimonials would also help with your Google ranking when they are posted correctly to the website.
The internet has no shortage of smarmy businesses, and you don't want to appear as one of them. Any business owner could write bogus testimonials and slap a random first name on it. For example:
"Perosi Jewelers is the best jewelry store around. Matthew explained the 4C's of diamonds to me and helped me find a really good diamond within my price range. The engagement ring setting he custom designed is perfect too!"
- John S.
A savvy reader would look at that example and question its legitimacy. With a name like "John S." there's no way to prove that it's not a random name like "John Smith."
When posting testimonials to your website you should always use the person's full name, town name, and even the company they work for if the testimonial is in reference to a service you provided to a business.
Take a look at this screen grab from one jeweler's website:
Two of the above testimonials have full names and town names, but one simple says "Julia." People who write testimonials usually understand that their note will be seen by other people. If they are signing their full name, then you should include it on your website. The full name and city helps to verify the validity of the testimonial.
If they wanted, a potential customer could spend a few minutes searching Google to verify the existence of the person in that town, but they probably won't. Customers will rarely search for the proof that a testimonial is real, but they like knowing that they could if they wanted to.
I googled the names "Ray & Melanie Jimenez, Coral Springs, FL" shown in the above example and quickly found that they are a real couple. As far as I'm concerned the testimonial from "Julia" is worthless, and I wouldn't even bother reading it.
I find this next example to be a bit absurd, take a look:
Both of the above testimonials are not signed by real names, but what look like internet account names, perhaps even Twitter handles. The first one says "karzbi" and the second says "lookitsandy." After a quick Google search I could not tell if "karzbi" was a real social network account, but there are plenty of references to accounts for "lookitsandy."
Showing names like this is doesn't provide any level of trust. Is the store owner hiding the person's real name or is the person hiding behind their social media account handle? On the other hand, simply adding @ to the beginning of lookitsandy would create a completely different situation...
Identifying a username as @lookitsandy suddenly transforms a testimonial from potentially bogus to really important. Savvy internet users will realize that "@lookitsandy" is either a Twitter name or an Instagram name, but most likely Twitter. Not only is that name easy to look up real fast, but it invites people to directly contact that person to validate the testimonial.
What a world of difference that little "@" symbol makes. By including their Twitter name in the testimonial, the writer is inviting people to contact them for verification. If nothing else, verifying the existence of a person through Twitter is much easier than a Google search for a name.
Whenever possible, a big boost in the testimonial credibility would happen if you include a photo with the written testimonial. Wedding couples who send photos of themselves along with a thank you card would be a great example of this. Every jeweler is sure to have a shoebox of these cards lying around.
The last point I want to cover is how these testimonials appear on your website. My preference is to post a single testimonial on a page. That means you'd have an entire section of your website dedicated to individual testimonials. I prefer this method because Google will read each page and associate the keyword phrases from the testimonial to the town name of the person who wrote it.
These testimonial pages are probably going to be very short, perhaps less than 100 words. There's a benefit to this because Google can more easily match up a few keyword phrases to a single town name. This strategy really helps with local search optimization.
Many retail jewelers will simply post many testimonials on one, very long page. This long page has many different town names and dozens of different keyword phrases. Google doesn't seem to process these pages very easily, which results in a pretty useless page for your website.
Therefore, if you're going to spend the time to post testimonials to your site, you should post them to individual pages.