10 Quick and Simple Ways to Power Up Your Customer Testimonials

10 Quick and Simple Ways to Power Up Your Customer Testimonials

Reader Comments (43)

  1. Most testimonials on websites are BS but the ones that give very specific detail are worth their weight in gold. Also, don’t forget the power of having the testimonial giver post them on the business listing at Google, Yahoo, & MSN Local + Citysearch and any other relevant local review website.

  2. Claire, good point. I never edit testimonials without permission, which effectively makes it their “quote” by agreement. I’m sure Dean does the same thing.

  3. Dean, powerful stuff- rest assured that I will be using the same-profession testimonials and the Bandwagon tool too. How should I format them, in long sidebars like Clayton does?

  4. Good points. Getting testimonials right is key to building trust.

    Number (7) is the one I really try to impress on my clients. Testimonials that are backed up with a full name have the ring of truth about them. Getting this wrong can cause serious damage – if you ascribe a quote just to “J.S., London” or “Dave, New York” they look fake right away.

    Another question I often get asked is about testimonial placement – in the bodycopy, in the left margin, in the right margin, on a separate page, in callout boxes, or a combination? Personally I think it depends on the style of the site and the product on offer, but I’d be interested in folks’ perspectives.

  5. Claire,

    What I meant was that when you get misspelled words or really bad grammar or punctuation, I think it’s okay to correct it. Or if the quote is 10 paragraphs long and you only want a few sentences, you can trim it. The key is to never change the meaning or intent.

    For example, if you get a quote that reads, “I really loove this product.” It would be okay to for you to correct the spelling so that it reads, “I really love this product.”

    Your release for using the testimonials should include permission to use the quote in full or in part or to edit for clarity, grammar, punctuation, etc. I didn’t put that in my previous article on collecting testimonials but should have. Since the testimonials become your property, you should be sure you have full rights to do what you need to do.

    The Direct Marketing Association guidelines on ethical business practice says this about testimonials:

    Testimonials and endorsements should be used only if they are:
    a. Authorized by the person quoted
    b. Genuine and related to the experience of the person giving them both at the time made and at the time of the promotion and
    c. Not taken out of context so as to distort the endorser’s opinion or experience with the product.


  6. Another way to add credibility to a testimonial is to add a picture of the person — and even better, an audio or video file. That way your prospective customers can read it, see it, hear it — and they’ll be more prone to BELIEVE it.

  7. Jonathan Fields suggested to me a long time ago to put testimonials on my site and it was one of the best things I ever did.

    Hey, that sounds like a…

  8. Getting testimonials is the key to building trust? I never thought it was serious, but now, I’l think about it! Great article.

  9. I like the specific testimony bit. Having a customer set such high expectations really makes a big difference. And also hearing the time frame in which it should work draws attention. People want results-fast.

  10. I think those pages with the video testimonials are quite effective. Problem is those are the hardest to get. Most people would agree to write some text, far fewer would agree to be videotaped…

  11. The testimonials are key to sales. And a picture of the person is a great asset. As pointed out above in another comment videos are hard to get and sometimes so are the photos.

  12. There are some websites which try to sell products based only on testimonials.

    So, to many testimonials present on a website and far too less anything else would make me think twice before buying …

    There are some companies who ‘abuse’ in using testimonials. What do you think about that?

  13. Nice. T.E.A.S.E. (in comments) ain’t bad, either.

    Just as testimonials are growing in importance, so is the abuse issue (noted in Pavel’s comment). The UK just passed a law that makes it illegal to abuse the good-faith rules of comments (say, anonymously reviewing your own restaurant or book… or posing as someone else and leaving a negative comment, etc).

    Wrote about it a few weeks ago…

  14. @Lucas:

    With all due respect, you’re not quite right about the Consumer Protection Act. My view is that the legislation isn’t as shocking as it’s being talked up to be, and, in fact, simply applies to British online traders the same standards that the UK’s traditional retailers have always had to adhere to.

    Under the new rules it’s not illegal to anonymously review your own product, or pose as someone else to slate a third party’s product, *unless* the contents of your comments are actively misleading. In other words, if by your actions you seek to defraud customers of money, or competitors of legitimate business, you’re in trouble.

    As far as I understand it, if you wrote fake testimonials for a product (which would be a bad idea in any case – see previous comments) the prosecuting authority would have to prove that those fakes contained statements that were factually inaccurate, and that you could reasonably be expected to know that they were.

    Over here in the UK the Labour government has all but drowned us in repressive laws, but this isn’t really one of them.

  15. I find that most testimonials are short and telling nothing more than “you are the best” or “I am going to use your service more” kind of testimonials. It is less appealing.

  16. I have had great success using audio testimonials with photos. In order to ensure that I get testimonials with “meat,” I ask the testimonial-giver to cover a brief list of subjects. For me, that’s the person’s name, location, practice area (all of my clients are lawyers), the type of project we worked on together, the nature of the legal issues addressed, and then any comments about my performance.

    It takes time to get the testimonials (I record them over the phone), but it’s well worth it.

  17. Amanda:

    Photos add credibility. But you have to be careful. If they’re blurry, dark, or show shifty-looking people or people who don’t look like your average customer, they can do more harm than good.

  18. Wow – I can’t even begin to describe how much this post has helped me.

    I recently hosted a contest last month where 5 people received a copy of my new eBook before it’s launched (not launched yet, but will be soon!). I’m now working on the sales page, and have gotten some pretty good feedback from the people who already read the eBook.

    I’m going to ask them for testimonials to see how it goes. Thanks for walking me through the process. I’m hoping the launch goes smoothly!


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