Last Updated: October 20,2020

Testimonials are considered the Holy Grail of business, right? 

Which is why it blows my mind that savvy business owners and entrepreneurs spend thousands of dollars on branding, photoshoots, and yes, copywriting but when it comes to testimonials… 

… they slap on fuddy-duddy photos of past students and copy that’s either way too rah-rah or horribly vague. 

As a launch copywriter, I make it my business to rewrite testimonials for my clients to ensure that these power-packed, sales-boosting snippets do the job they’re meant to do. 

The truth is… 

Testimonials play a HUGE role in converting the casual browser into a buyer.

That’s right.

According to Robert Cialdini in Influence, “We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.”

But since numbers talk louder than words…

Here are some statistics for you to chew on

85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews before feeling they can trust a business. {source: Search Engine Land}

94% of B2B marketing and sales professionals rated content sourced from real customers (like customer testimonials) as “very effective” or “extremely effective.” {source: TechValidate}

78% of online Americans aged 18-64 agree that online reviews help them decide whether or not to purchase a product. {source: IPSOS Open Thinking Exchange}

So, yes, testimonials are powerful BUT only when done right.

So, I present to you the 5 sales-crushing mistakes that 90% businesses make when featuring testimonials, followed by the strategies you need to deploy if you want your testimonials and social proof to get those Stripe notifications going. 

5 Sales-Crushing Mistakes That 90% Businesses Make When Writing Testimonials

1. Not Featuring a Name, a Real Name

You have no idea how many testimonials I come across that say

“My client X experienced…”

“A. found that working with me…”

“Tina was thrilled to receive…”

What IS this?!!

Who are X, A and Tina? How do I know that they aren’t as imaginary as pigs that can fly?

How do I know they even exist?

Why should I trust you?

Using a full name, a real name, is an instant credibility booster, forming a connection with a browser like nothing else.

“But Prerna, my clients want confidentiality…” 

Okay, I hear you. 

In this case, you need to write a testimonial that has solid specifics, clear outcomes, and a real story. 

PLUS, you could actually turn the confidentiality bit into a benefit by highlighting that you respect your clients’ privacy and are protecting their details. Just as you’ll do for them. 

2. Ignoring the Photo

You know what they say about putting a face to the name? It matters!

That’s right. Being able to “see” a person who’s vouching for your brilliance makes a HUGE impact.

What if you don’t have a client photo? Can you use a business logo instead?

“But Prerna, what if my clients aren’t businesses but they don’t want to share their photos?”

Can you share a photo of what you did for them? 

Let’s say, you’re a graphic designer. Can you share a slideshow of the images you created for them? 

If you’re a copywriter, can you include screenshots? You can always blur out identifying information. 

There is a reason, testimonials and case studies are called social proof. 

You need proof to back up the results or outcomes you’re talking about. 

3. Overlooking the Business Name or Credentials

If you’re a course creator, service provider, or coach who serves the entrepreneur niche, this can be a great way to add additional credibility to your testimonials. 

Let your prospective students see the different business niches or industries you’ve worked with in the past.

4. Going the Unedited Way

Sure, it’s good to keep the original; real, unedited, and uncut. But if your testimonials are rambling, long stories that start from when the client met you, and it includes all the itty-bitty details, then we got a problem, Houston.

How can you avoid this?

Edit the testimonials you receive or when you hire a professional copywriter for your sales page or emails, ask them if they can take the “raw” testimonial and massage it into a testimonial that turns heads and woos wallets.

5. Not Sharing Specifics

“Prerna wrote great emails” is good but “Prerna wrote emails that help us get a sale every day” is BETTER. 

Can you get specifics from your students and clients? 

Help them nail the results that would come from working with you or using your services or products.

 

How to Write a Testimonial that Turns Prospects into Take-My-Money-Now Buyers

1. Highlight Results for Maximum ROI

Results speak the loudest. 

Make sure your testimonials talk about the benefit of working with you or taking your course so prospective clients and students can see what’s possible for them. 

How do you get testimonials that bring the results to the forefront? 

You ask. 💪

For instance, if you have a course that helps people with email marketing, you could ask, “What specific results did you see in your email marketing strategy as a result of what you learned in this course?” 

You can do the same if you’re a service provider. 

For instance, one of the questions, we always ask our copywriting clients is, “What specific results did you see as a result of working with Prerna on your sales and launch copy?” 

And that question gets answers which lead to testimonials like this one 👇🏻

“…Using the new copywriting and sales sequence we had our biggest promotion ever! Almost THREE times more than our previous promotion! 

And now that it is set up on “evergreen”, we hit our sales goal of one course per day — something I’ve been trying to reach for over a year! I would definitely say investing in working with Prerna on our evergreen launch copy was worth it :)”

  • Cassidy Northrup Tuttle, Successfully Growing Succulents

And this one for our Momentum Mise-en-Place program.

Testimonials

 

2. Sell them with Specifics 

Use your testimonials to tell the story of what was happening in your clients’ lives before they hired you. 

Not only does that increase credibility but it also creates relatability. 

Your prospects will see the struggle or pain that your clients were facing before they hired you, and they’ll see how they resolved it with your help. 

To get to specifics, ask “What was going on in your life before you hired ABC to help you with XYZ?” 

When you ask questions, like that, you get answers like these… 

“…Through the years, we’ve invested (wasted!) literally tens of thousands of dollars with alleged “experts” in IT, copywriting, graphic design – lots of promise and no delivery. 

That changed with Prerna. Her on-point input in the way we laid out our package offerings as well as her highly strategic copywriting resulted in the strongest post-workshop sell through we’ve ever had….” – Donna Hoffman, The Interior Design Advocate 

 

3. Remove Resistance and Friction Right Off the Bat

The job of your testimonial is to help prospects overcome objections like, “This is too expensive…” or “I wouldn’t have the time!”

Asking your clients or students about what were their hesitations when joining or signing up and how did they overcome them can give you solid insights to include in your testimonial. 

Like this testimonial for our sales page copywriting service. 

“… Pat Flynn recommended Prerna to write the sales page for our new course.

My only hesitation was price. We are just getting started and do not contract very much of our work out right now. I struggle knowing where to put the few resources we have.

 I loved our very first call…

The sales page you wrote for our course really spoke to my audience and you worked hard to make sure the copy matched my solution.

 It was so descriptive and well thought-out. It would have taken me months to write something half as good!

Our initial launch was successful and we’re looking forward to seeing even more growth through the evergreen funnel you helped us to create.

You’re a brilliant copywriter and I feel so fortunate that Pat introduced us.” – Andrea Davis, Better Screen Time

 

4. Ask the Right Questions

I’ve already given you quite a few questions to include in your testimonial-gathering process. 

Here are a few more to include, depending on whether you’re a course creator or a coach: 

What was the best part or the highlight of our working relationship? 

The answer to this question will add more value to your results and outcomes section. 

What was a refreshing change from your previous courses or coaching engagements? 

The answer to this question will help you further demolish objections like, “How will this be any different?” 

If I had to shine a spotlight on ONE element for future students/clients, which one would you want me to talk about and why? 

The answer gives you the SPECIFICS as nothing else can.

Ideally, you should use a Typeform or jump on a Zoom call to gather all this information. Then, you can distill it and write a testimonial that does full sales-juicing justice to your course or service.

BONUS TIP: Ask clients to record a video testimonial. Get it transcribed and BOOM! You have both a video and a text testimonial. Check out Vanessa Lau’s testimonial for us on our home page

The text version of it is in our Copywriting Carte Du Jour (or menu of services) PDF that goes out to prospective clients and partners. Double the conversion power!

 

5. Style Them for Skimmers 

Finally, and most importantly, style those testimonials so they’re easy to read. 

Use bolded copy to highlight benefits, italics to emphasize specifics, and always include a heading that sums up the key results or outcomes. 

Now that you know HOW to write a testimonial, let’s look at WHERE to use them for impact and 💰. 

 

Riveting Ways to Display a Testimonial for Maximum Impact

 

There’s no point keeping those praise songs hidden away on a sales page only to be pulled out when launch season rolls around. Or relegate them to a testimonials-only page.

 

Sprinkle them on any or even, all of the following pages and places:

 

  1. Home Page: Choose your best testimonials and showcase them on your website’s main page. If you have different services or packages on your home page, choose testimonials that are relevant for each. 

 

  1. Your About page: Yes, why not? Folks usually visit the About page right after the home page, especially if they’re first-time visitors. How about building your relationship with them and establishing credibility by adding a few testimonials to it as well.

 

  1. Opt-in form and/or Email Sign Up Page: Building our email list is a big goal for most entrepreneurs so turbocharge those conversions by adding a testimonial about your email content on the sign-up page. 

 

  1. Services Page: Whether you’re selling coaching or copywriting, graphic design, or VA work, your services page and any sub-pages need testimonials. Word of advice: Instead of flinging every single testimonial on there, use the ones that are the most powerful. 

 

  1. Social Media: Whether you’re using Instagram or LinkedIn for your business, it is essential you share your social proof on social media. Again, you don’t have to plonk everything on it but be selective and use your discretion.  We use Instagram and have a #ClientLove Stories Highlight for the testimonials we get and want to showcase.  The same is true for our Profits on Tap Stories Highlight.

 

6. Sales Pages and Emails: The obvious choice. Whether you’re selling eCourses, coaching, retreats, or anything else under the sun, your sales page and emails NEED testimonials like a fish needs water. Writing a testimonial, from now on, won’t be like you’re flailing around in quicksand. Go forth and conquer those objections and turn hesitant prospects into hungry-for-your-brilliance buyers! 

 

 

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