Here’s How To Do Testimonials Right – Even if You Don’t Have Any [OMP 005]

Show Notes


Hey, it's Nicolas and welcome to Online Marketing for Profits.

Today, we're going to talk about testimonials and I've been wanting to share these thoughts with you about testimonials since I kind of planned it out in this all podcast because I strongly feel that there's a right way to do them and a very wrong way to do them and unfortunately, most of the time when I stumble upon a website, they do it wrong.

I'm looking forward to sharing that with you and perhaps you know this already but I'm based in Montreal in Canada. Of course, Canada is a huge hockey crowd and these days as I am recording this is the kick-off of the new NHL season, all the training camps are going on and it's really fun to see all the enthusiasm and the reason I'm bringing this up is that Montreal Canadiens which is the hockey team I support from Montreal.

One of the original six teams have just named a new captain and as they named a new captain, you can see the outpouring of support from his teammates, from management, from other people, past captains, past players and it really helps to sell the nomination.

I mean the new captain was voted by his peers in the locker room so obviously, there's full support of his teammates but to hear them publicly, they're kind of basically giving out testimonials on his behalf to support him and that is pretty much what people do, right?

When they do that on our website, they're giving out the impressions of course, hopefully positively about your product, your service and we can… we, as shoppers, we learn a lot from those, we take a lot from those.

Social proof as we like to call it is very, very important in our purchase decision.

The Importance of Social Proof

I'm sure you've heard the story before where if you stand at a corner on a street and you look up to the sky or at the top of the building, there's a lot of people that will start doing that.

Studies have shown that 40 percent of people will actually start staring at the same spot as you are at least, I think it was something like 80 something percent of people that will just at least look up to see what it's all about. That's kind of a social proof also.

If you've read Robert Cialdini's excellent book which I strongly suggest you read, influence.

Some researchers found that in those comedy shows and sitcoms where they use canned laughter, automatic laughter at every jokes and all of that, they found that most of us really don't like canned laughter, but the use of canned laughter in the sitcoms and comedy shows actually increases the laughter of the audience. So even though if you're to survey each individual, they'll probably say, “I hate it”.

As a whole, it makes us laugh more, makes us laugh longer and obviously leads to a funnier more enjoyable experience.

That's the power of social proof.

In the same way, you should be trying your very best to include social proof on your website at pretty much every corner.

It's one thing to say that you have a terrific product and that it's the best that ever was and it's good because this and that, and this, it will do that or this to your audience, it will solve their problems and all that but it's really something else when someone else does it for you.

It has a much deeper impact.


How To Gather Good Testimonials

So, how do you go on and gather good testimonials?

Now, if you're just starting out, at the end of this show, I'm going to tell you a little trick you can use to kind of swipe and legally leverage huge brands to showcase some testimonials on their website.

Perhaps you already have some or maybe you're looking to gather some because you're just starting out. In the meantime, I’m going to show you a great trick to publish them on your website right away but let's say now that you want to gather good testimonials, well how do you go at it?

Well, there's some easy ways, you can use Google reviews, websites like Trustpilot that have some kind of a reputation so you can go that way. Some of these tools are paid and some of them are free.

I've really found that the best way to find testimonials is to use surveys, in-house surveys.

So, how does that happen is that you'll send your customers a survey after they've made a purchase and you gave them enough time to actually go through your product or service and have an opinion on it and ask them questions.

That's something you want to do anyway even though, even if you're not looking to gather good testimonials.

You should be surveying your customer base to find out what made them purchase, what do they like about the product, what's maybe missing so that you can improve that and all that but for the sole reason of gathering good testimonials, there's some pretty basic questions you can ask.

Most of the time, you want to ask open-ended questions.

Meaning, don't ask a yes or no questions.

Don't ask a question that has three or four options.

You want to ask a question and then have basically a blank field where people can enter whatever they want.

So, you can use tools like Survey Monkey, Hotjar has a survey tool, tools like that that will allow you to send the survey to your customers and ask them questions.

So, some of the questions you can ask to gather good testimonials that I've found are things like, if you were to describe us to a friend, what would you say?

So that basically will help the person think about how the product has helped you and they're probably say it in a way that's very friendly and when you're talking to your friend, you're going to use probably some very typical words that you use them on your everyday life and this is what you're looking for. You don't want to have a testimonial that has corporate mumbo jumbo. You want just someone to describe in a friendly way what they think about your product.

And other question you can ask is describe the entire process of finding a solution to whatever problem you're trying to solve and how that lead you to use us.

So, they'll probably say, “I had back pain, I've been having back pain for the past 15 years, I tried everything on the market, tried this and that and tried this, nothing worked and then I found you guys and this is what happened.

Now I can play golf with my buddies and whatever, right?

So that kind of helps them sum up what was the entire process from their pain point before they found you to kind of the end result, the solution that you solve, the problem that you solved with your solution.

Another question you can ask is what concerns did you have prior to purchase that you don't have anymore and why. Again, this goes to thinking about what was their, what where they concerned about, what was maybe their anxiety level, what problem are they trying to solve and that you've solved that they don't have anymore and why.

So those are the kinds of questions that you can ask and then you want to go through the entire responses and pick the ones that are the best.

Now, how do you do that?

And this is where most people fail.

By the way, if you're using Trustpilot, Google reviews, things like that, you'll get some pretty good responses in there too.

The advantage of using those tools is that you can leverage those brands to add a little bit of trust to the whole process meaning that if people know that review comes from Trustpilot or Google or whatever.

Amazon, for example, is a good example if you're selling your services or products on Amazon and you have Amazon reviews in there and you leverage the Amazon brand can go very far as far as adding a lot of trust and credibility to your testimonials.

People know now that you're probably not making this up, right?

Some actual person has actually posted this on Amazon.

You might be re-purposing it on your website but it's more likely to be legit.

So, that's kind of the two ways to do it.

But you have to make sure that the testimonial is good and will accomplish what you needed to accomplish is get you more sales.

So how do you do that?

Avoid Generic “Boring” Claims

Well, the first thing is you really want to avoid generic testimonials that say, great site, great service, good product, love it, and things like that.

At the end of the day, we can all claim we have a great site, we have a great service, a good product, and someone's going to love it.

Everybody says that.

Who cares?

[bctt tweet=”On testimonials: At the end of the day, we can all claim we have a great site, great customer service, a good product, and someone's going to love it. Who cares?”]

You can define service a million ways by different statistics, response rate, total likability, whatever it is and I'm sure every company out there can find a way to say that their service is great and that their product is good.

So, really avoid those generic, bland, boring and overused testimonials.

The Secret Sauce…

What you really want to do, that's where the secret is, is to match your testimonials to objections and top customer likes that maybe you have uncovered in your surveys.

So remember when I said, yes you can send surveys to gather good testimonials to your customers but you should probably also ask them other questions like, what made you hesitate before buying from us, what are the top three things you like about our service, how has this changed your life, and things like that.

Then what you do is you rank all of this up and you try to find testimonials that are linked to this. So, if one of the top objection is will this work, I wasn’t sure if this is going to work and you'll find this is a known common objection that people have often times with products.

They’re not sure if it’s going to work or not or will they work for them.

Find testimonials that show it works.

The testimonials said, I wasn't sure when I bought the product, I was unconvinced it was really going to do the job but after using it for six months, it has totally changed my life, it really works even better than what I have thought of and blah, blah, blah.

That's the kind of testimonials that increases conversions.

Now, you're using this specific testimonial because you've uncovered in your research that will it work is one of the top concerns of your visitor base before they purchase.

Perhaps, they'll say that the thing that they liked the most is this feature that the fact that it's very easy to use or whatever it is. It saves me time for example.

It saves me a lot of time.

That's one of the things that people like the most about your product or service.

It saves me a lot time.

So, you've ranked all of these and you find out that this one is the biggest benefit of your product or service.

Okay, that's fine.

So, let's find a testimonial that matches that.

And then you find one from Bob in Kentucky and he's saying, “It saves me 16 hours work per month,” terrific, that's the testimonial that you want.

You're not picking it out of a hat, it's not random, it's certainly not boring like great site, great service, good product, love it, it totally is in line with your product, and it matches one of the top likes of your customers meaning that it saves them time.

That's the secret sauce.

It has to match your visitor likes or concerns or customer likes after they made the purchase.

So many people don't do that and when I've had wins in the past, testing only testimonials, it has been two ingredients.

The first one is matching those objections or customer likes.

The second is kind of the template I like to use for testimonials.

So, I’ll show you exactly how to structure your testimonials so they have maximum impact which means growing your conversions, growing your business.

After we take a break for the offline ignition minute, we will talk about your body languages and entrepreneur so I will talk to you then.

My 4-Point Testimonial Template

All right, I’m back and now, we’re going to talk about my four-point testimonial template.

A template I’ve used with a lot of clients getting a lot of wins with because it really summarizes.

In one fell swoop, it really does the trick of highlighting what you want to highlight in a good testimonial.

So what’s this template all about?

Well, first if you go to Online Marketing for Profits, you’ll see I’m using that same template.

If you look at the testimonials I have in there, you’ll see that they’re using the same template.

The first thing you want to do when you…

Strong Headline

Doing a testimonial the right way is add a short headline to the testimonial.

Don't just throw a big wall of text that everybody, you know will feel you know that they just don't want to read it.


No one's going to read a big wall of text.

No. Make it easier for them.

Add a testimonial just as you would in any kind of paragraph or anything on your blog or any bit of copy you would be writing and that headline needs to have, you know that countering the objection and highlighting the customer likes that we've talked about before.

That's where the money is.

It needs to nail those objections or highlight a huge customer like.

You want to put that short headline in quotes so that people understand what it is, right from the start and the main reason you're having this headline is mostly that a lot of people are scanners.

They don't read everything.

They'll just go through your page zigzagging and having that testimonial at least make sure that it, you know it's more likely they'll actually see it and if it's your best part, the best part of the testimonial is highlighted in a headline, they're much more likely to see it.

Again if it's tied to a customer objection or a customer like, has much more impact on your conversions.

Short Text

Then you want to display the second part of the template as you want to display the actual testimonial.

Now again, you don't want to display a huge wall of text. Four or five lines max.

That's it. Pick the best part and cut out the rest.


You can, you know you can join some parts so that it makes even better impact but you don't want to have a 10, 15 line testimonial.

No one likes to read that.

Most people won't and try to again match the customer likes and objections and try to give again, not some generic things like, I, you know I really like this, or best service ever and things like that.

Try to think about those lines too.

You know, it's much better to say, Martin from customer service was awesome with me.

I reached out to him late at night, you know on a Friday night and within 34 minutes he has responded to me and that solved my problem.

I will be highly grateful to…you know something like that.

That's much more specific.

It tells a story, tells a believable story, much much better than, customer service is great.

But basically tells the same thing but in a much more meaningful manner.

Next, what you want to have as the third part of a template, so first part is the headline, second part is then your copy, oh by the way, and their copy.

You want, after you've selected your four or five lines you want to bold the best parts.

Bold some keywords in there, that have the highest impact or maybe you know some three or four words put together that has you know, that have the biggest impact.

So bold the best parts.

Again for scanners, people will see the headline, they might see what's bold in the text and much likely they make a bigger impact.

Picture or Alternatives

The third part of the template is to add a picture. Pretty obvious right?

But pictures, people were drawn to pictures. We look at pictures a lot more than text and it makes the whole thing a lot more trustworthy. It adds empathy, personality to the testimonial.

You know, much more likely than it's actually someone else, I mean a real person and that you're not just making this up and if you know if you can, the best way really is use a real person but use their real picture. Even if the quality is you know atrocious.

You don't want to start using like stock images and things like that. Even if the quality of the picture is average, it makes it more real.

Your design team, your designer maybe you aesthetically won't maybe like it as much, I get that, but it makes the testimonial more real and that's really what you're trying to do here.

If you don't have a picture, what can you do?

Well I found that it's better to have a generic blank avatar than nothing. So when you don't have a picture, at least put something there, like an avatar of a man or woman.

That's much better than just to have, it feels like, at that point it feels like maybe you just didn't upload the picture. Right?

Or you had one but there's none now and it makes it more real again. A good way to also help with that is if you don't have the picture and you're using the blank avatar, add the country, a country flag of where that person is from. You know next to the avatar.

So you have like a shadow of a woman for because the testimonial is from a woman and then you'll have in the, when the corners maybe you'll have the you know the US flag, UK flag, Canadian flag there. Whatever country that person is from. Again, it makes it more likely that that person exist.

That's something you know, countries and things like that, people where the person is from is probably something you have on hand with that testimonial because when it, you know when it comes down to pictures and displaying someone's name, you probably want to have that person's permission first right?

So if you're using a review or a testimonial from Amazon, from a public source then you know it's pretty much self explanatory that it's going to be published to everyone so you might not need to ask permission or if you're using it from a survey that you had in house and sent to your customers, you probably want to ask permission you can just ask nicely and people will usually say yes if you will want to go the extra mile you can give them like a voucher for $25 somewhere or something and that works well.

You know ask for their picture. If they don't want to give it to you, you can go with the blank avatar with country flag.

Name + Personal Info

Then of obviously, the fourth part of this template is you want to display the full name, occupation or website, place of origin with city, country, you know state, so that there's more information there than none.

It makes more real again and if you look on my website, onlinemarketingforprofits. You'll see some testimonials like this.

You have headlines about four or five lines with bolded text, picture, name, website, occupation, city, things like that. Just makes it more likely that's if they're going to be trusted because it makes more information you would display like that is the more you, you know it makes it that it's legit and think about if you start, once you've come up with that template for your site, ask yourself how better that is than if you were just using you know quote and quote, love it, or best service, or something like that.

Now this is much much better and I've had a lot of wins on client sites using this template.

Extra Tips on Great Testimonials

Avoid Carousels

Now some extra tips as we back us up before I tell you how to get some testimonials and use huge brands. If you don't have testimonials at this time, as a general rule cause it's just something you see all the time and specially in WordPress templates and themes.

You want to avoid carousels for testimonials.

You'll see them a lot and you know it's kind of a way to display, to have test a 10 testimonials when you're only displaying like two or three or four or whatever. You know two great testimonials are better than 10 average ones. So pick your two best, don't rotate them, don't have a carousel and just use them. Even better, display all the 10 testimonials but not in a carousel. Just on top of each other. That's much much better.

I know someone, somewhere is going to think that it looks bad but tested out, trust me this much more likely that it's much more likely that give you a boost in conversion than if you just used carousels and basically hit your hiding. You know 8 testimonials out of 10.

Go Nuts & Add Them Everywhere

Sprinkle your testimonials all around. Pretty much wherever you have space for them.

That means in the header, on your sidebars, throughout your copy, on your check out funnel that's really important and if you're doing then on the check out funnel, now the mindset changes a little bit.

Then not necessarily worried about, you know if you're on the credit card page, you know they're not necessarily worried anymore about buying the product. It might be some extent but they might be a lot more, your research might tell you that there's a lot more friction about, is this process secure, how fast am I going to get the product, things like that. So, maybe that's the point where you're introducing for delivery or something like that. So maybe you want to have testimonials at the test of that on that specific page. You know someone that says, I've been using them for years, process is great, easy, never had a problem with security something like that. Love it, love the free shipping. Got my package in three days.

Above the Fold is Where The Money Is

Like everything else, above the fold is where you need to place your best testimonials. So on your homepage, product page just check out anywhere really. Your best testimonials should be above the fold.

If you can, video is obviously a bit better than picture or just text than picture for a testimonial but not everyone will take the time to listen to the video. So you have to carefully select them and perhaps provide either a transcript or a small blur of text next to the video. So that if people don't want to go through the hoop of actually playing the video and not wasting but taking the time to do it, they can at least get you know good grasp of what you're trying to, what the testimonial is all about.

So basically how I like to do it is to take my four point testimonial template with a headline a bit of text, the name and all that the picture and display that and next to it a video. So that way, they can get the extra, it adds a lot of credibility and trust because there's a video there if you want to listen, to watch it that's fine but if they don't, they get the best parts and standard testimonial template.

Individual + Brand Celebrities

Celebrities are better than unknowns. That's pretty obvious. But so you know if you have a testimonial for someone that's really well known, then obviously it's probably it will carry more weight than if it's someone that no one knows. But don't forget also brand celebrity. So if someone from you know the New York Times gives you testimonial, it's much more likely to convey weight even if we don't know the specific person you can display you know the Times logo and their name and all that if you're allowed to do that. Then obviously that will carry a lot more weight than if we don't know that person or if we don't know the brand.

Another way to add credibility is to link the name, the testimonial or somewhere in there to display maybe a logo of a social profile or maybe a linking page. So next to the name, you can have a linking logo and people click on it and get to the linking page of that person.

That adds credibility.

Makes it more real that that person is, you know exist and that you're going to make this up.

Compelling Headline To Wrap Them All In

Then last tip is when you're displaying your testimonials, say you have like three in a row or six, you know three and then other three and two lines basically. Add a testimonial headline. I mean a headline for the entire section. Don't call it testimonial or praises or reviews.

Give them benefit.

Something like, here is how my product has basically benefited these customers. Right? So not just testimonials and praises and reviews. Here is how, your might supplement has gotten rid of you know back problems for these customers. It's much better than just reviews.

How To Display Powerful Testimonials If You Don't Have Any

So how do you get testimonials on your website today if you don't have any. This is a terrific way to do it. It will take a bit of research but once you find something, you know it can go a long way. So say perhaps, you have a service your consultant or you have a new [inaudible] sa service or new product, new software for SEO right? How to analyze your back links for SEO? I'm just making this up. How could you get this one?

You're just starting out, you have zero customers, you can't survey anyone and so how would you go at it to display social proof on your website? Here's how you do it. You can even do that even if you do have testimonials by the way so it goes for everyone really. What you do and you do some research on SEO and perhaps the importance of back links and how they can help you and all that and you try to find sources that are very brand recognizable or celebrities.

For example if you find somewhere on mashable, and article that says that back links are the key to SEO in 2015. What you do is take a quick quote of that article and then you can quote, you know use the mashable logo, a person, the name of the person who actually said it in the article and you have yourself a very good quote to display on your site. So, obviously it's not a quote, it's not a testimonial, it's about how your product can help.

But it's a testimonial about how you know building back links is a good idea. So you're kind of, instead of focusing the testimonial on you which is, with the testimonial should be in the first place, because you're just starting out. Now you want to focus maybe on the problem you're trying to solve and how solving that problem is really really important.

So again, search for some outside sources, celebrities, people known in the market that have maybe twitted something at some point. Someone that has written something on a very you know, it needs to be a huge brand that someone will bill to Canada instantly recognize the logo and basically you can leverage that as a testimonial on your website. So, what you're really doing is your borrowing credibility from these huge brands, these celebrities to heighten the trust on your own new brand. So it's pretty easy to do and I'd even argue that even if you have good testimonials on you, you could probably do it that way too, right?

So even if you have testimonials that say that your product is great, it certainly doesn't hurt to have testimonials to say, you know getting more back links is a good idea. Cause now you have kind of the two sides of the coin which is people will see, hey, these huge brands is mashable in New York Times and in Amazon or whatever the brand is telling me that I need to build back links and these guys here with this brand, you know they have good testimonials saying, their service or product is great.

So you're really hitting it from all sides and I'd be very surprised if it didn't did you a bigger conversion rate. So that's the trick really. Try to leverage those big brands or celebrities and get them on your side by using their logo recognition and all that and please use that template to do testimonials the right way.

Don't fall into all of the boring and ugly testimonials that probably don't make a difference whatsoever in anyone's conversion rate that you see out there. Do it the right way and focus on the objections and all the customer likes and I'm sure it will grow your conversions.

So, that's it for the show today. If you want to show notes, the links, the slide, the transcript of this show, go to and what I want you to do is leave me your comment or rating on iTunes.

Go to iTunes, leave me a comment. If you have any questions to something I should be hitting on next topic for an episode and give me a rating, an honest rating of how you feel about the show. I'll really appreciate it.

On our next episode, I'm very excited. I will have my first guest on this show and I'll be joined by David Darmanin and who's the founder of Hotjar. He is a good friend and he is, you know I'm very excited to have him on the show as a first guest and I'm going to pick his brand cause Hotjar is only been available for about a year now and you know they've really taken the online marketing world by storm. It has really become in a very short amount of time pretty much a household name for anyone that wants to pick the brain of their visitors understand what they're going through when they're on their websites and you know I use everyday.

I highly recommend it, looking forward to discussing the tool with David and mostly you know what were the you know tricks that they use to really grow that business in a terrific way in under a year or so. So I'm looking forward to discussing all of that with him. In the meantime I'll see you on and I'll talk to you next time.

Nicolas: In this offline ignition minute, we’re going to talk about my PEERS formula again to making a terrific first impression and how important that is in your everyday lives when you meet someone for the first time online or offline. So, if you missed the past two episodes, we talked about the first P which is posture and how to have a good posture, some good tips to run yourself, make sure that you stand tall and people will find you’re most trustworthy and confident because of that.

In the last episode, we talked about the first E which is the eyebrow flash which is one of the most positive nonverbal cue you can ever display so I urge you really to listen to that one. It’s waiting goal alone in this entire formula.

So, the second E is for eye contact. So, I’m sure you’ve heard about how important it is to look people in the eye especially when you’re meeting them because you only have that first couple of seconds to really impress them and impress on them that you’re the person they’re looking for to solve their problems, to help them out to no matter what the situation is, people want to trust to so you need to look them in the eye and this is not something that was easy for me. I know growing up — it wasn’t something intentional — I wasn’t like I’m avoiding eye contact.

I know perhaps some people have trouble with that.

It wasn’t the case for me which is I guess as I don’t know as a geek somewhat, I just wasn’t very good at this stuff and I’ve learned to become very good at it and one of the key that I think key things that my wife now, girlfriend then when I met her, was saying to me, you don’t look at me. We were having a conversation at a restaurant and she would say, “Where are you looking at?”

I don’t know.

Good eye contact.
Good eye contact.

It feels like I was speaking to her and someone and I was looking elsewhere and not that I was really looking elsewhere, I was just kind of not looking at her, right? I was totally engaged in the conversation but just not staring at her and so, it took me a while to get better at this but if you noticed you have the same [inaudible] problem, it can certainly be improved on very easily and I’m going to give you a quick tip.

When you’re meeting someone for the first time, try to notice their eye color. Not that it’s not going to matter at the end of the day but if you try to notice their eye color, you’re automatically looking them in the eye making eye contact. So when you combine those, combine that two, having a good posture, doing the eyebrow flash as we saw in previous episodes, it’s one added kind of trick to create a good first impression and good first rapport.

It also has a secondary benefit.

That if you’re looking someone straight in the eye, you’re not looking down obviously which means it keeps you from having a bad posture, right? You’re looking down, you start hunching your shoulders and that’s when your posture isn’t right. If you’re looking someone in the face, looking them in the eye, trying to notice their eye color, you’re obviously standing taller and have a better posture so it kind of it is a two in one here.

All right, so try to notice the eye color of anyone you meet, you’ll be well on way to making better eye contact and having better first impressions and I’ll see you next time when we talk about the R in my PEERS formula. I’m looking forward to it.




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