November 16, 2019

How to Harness the Power of Testimonial Advertising in 3 Steps


You’re thinking… is testimonial advertising effective? Do people care about what others have to say about my product/service?


Every time you ask a client for a testimonial, you’re afraid that you’re wasting your time in collecting and displaying testimonials that no one looks at.

I assure you, you can get past that fear once your truly understand the marketing science behind testimonial advertising.

What is the purpose of a testimonial?

Testimonials exist to help you convert people from visitors/viewers to buying customers. They can also be the determining factor for someone who is sitting on the fence of buying your product/service.

Of course, relying only on testimonials while selling a crappy product will not work. Testimonials are complementary.

When all else is optimized – what you sell brings value to your customers and you offer a smooth user experience – then testimonial advertising becomes powerful.

And this is where a big problem lies in. Entrepreneurs think that testimonials don’t convert when most of times it’s their product or their website that look shitty.

Why do advertisers use testimonials?

Advertisers know that you can’t convince people to buy by saying that my product is awesome.

When advertisers only showcase the features of a product/service, then buyers can’t easily trust them.

A strong social aspect affects our purchasing decisions. So, we want to know what other people, who are just like us, have to say about the product we consider buying.

Benefits of testimonial advertising

The ‘I’m just like you’ principle is real. A buyer trusts what other buyers think of a product. A consumer always reads the reviews of other consumers before purchasing.

Testimonials are the online equivalent of the offline word of mouth. Word of mouth has been proven successful throughout the years, but it works slowly.

Online testimonials on the other hand can do magic when you have a website that gets high traffic every day.

The face of Ron Kaufman

“Testimonials describe what has been and are a promise of what is to come.”

Ron Kaufman

How you can apply testimonial advertising on your website

You can use testimonial advertising organically or as a paying method (by displaying, for example, clients' feedback inside Facebook Ads).

In this article we're only looking at how you can organically capture and display testimonials on your website. 

To have testimonials on your website you need to follow a 3-step process.

First you need to ask your current or past clients to give you a testimonial.

Second you need to have a system where you can manage (i.e. edit, group together and update) what you’ve captured on step 1.

Finally, you need to be able to easily display these testimonials on your website, so as potential clients can see them.

Below I show you how you can use testimonials on a WordPress website. However, even if you don’t use WordPress you can still find benefit from the general principles and apply everything on the platform you’re using. So, read on.

Step 1: Capture Testimonials

The first step is always the toughest one. You’re wondering… How do I ask a customer to give me a testimonial? Do I send them an email? What should I write?

Sending an email is a great way to go about this. However, you need to be careful on what you write on this email.

The classic mistake everyone does is sending an email that simply asks customers to give their opinion/feedback by replying to the email.

What’s wrong with this?

Well, 2 things are wrong with this:

  1. You’re making it tough for your clients to give you a testimonial; they need to think about what to say about you. Then they need to start typing the testimonial and after that they need to reply to your email.
  2. You leave everything under their control. You risk, in other words, that they give you a short and poor testimonial that just says: 'Your service has been great. I highly recommend it'.

So, how do we tackle these 2 issues?

You need to make it as easy as possible for your audience to give you a testimonial. So, instead of simply asking for their feedback, send them 2-3 questions that they need to answer.

Email template to ask for testimonials

An email template you can send to your clients to ask for a testimonial the right way.

Ideally email them a link that goes to a form that you created (through Google forms or any other tool) where they can reply to the questions, click ‘submit’ and boom! Easy peasy!

You can look at an example of a testimonials capture form I’ve created by clicking here. I’ve built this form using a WordPress testimonial plugin called Thrive Ovation.

Step 2: Manage Testimonials

The way you manage testimonials is directly related to the way you capture testimonials. Let me explain…

In case you forgot here's how most people ask for testimonials…

They send an email asking their clients to send their testimonials as an email reply. But this is wrong and managing your testimonials like this can easily become a mess.

This way, every time you need to use a testimonial you’ll need to go through emails and documents trying to find the one you need.

If you only have few testimonials, it’s a small issue. However, imagine having to go through your files and emails when you have 100+ testimonials…

The way I manage my testimonials is again through Thrive Ovation from inside my WordPress dashboard. Here’s how it looks like:

A Dashboard on WordPress for managing testimonials

The Thrive Ovation Dashboard on WordPress for managing your testimonials in one central place.

Through Thrive Ovation I can manage the testimonials I captured through the form on step 1. I can also automatically capture testimonials from comments on social media and I can manually import testimonials.

I can also tag testimonials into groups, approve them and edit them, so as I can easily display them when needed.

Step 3: Display Testimonials

I can hear your question coming: Where should I display testimonials on my website?

Short answer: wherever you’re trying to convince your website’s visitors to take an action: This can be your home page, about page and your product/services pages.

I can hear your 2nd question already (yes, I have psychic powers): What if I’m starting up now? How can I display testimonials to attract clients if I have no clients?

If you don’t have any clients yet you can offer your product or service for free to some people in exchange for a testimonial.

This way you’ll have captured your first testimonials (which are the toughest to get) and you’ll have tested your product/service before you start charging for it.

The way I display testimonials on my website is (yes, you guessed it right) through Thrive Ovation, which lets me dynamically display testimonials based on tags I assigned to them on step 2.

In the video below I walk you through the entire 3-step process of adding testimonials on your WordPress website:

Are testimonials effective?

Written testimonials are effective. Video testimonials are super effective, but they are harder to get.

Once again, it’s a matter of how you ask someone for a video testimonial. Let’s looks at 2 scenarios:

  1. You send an email to someone asking them to film a video of themselves talking about how your business helped them solve their problem.
  2. You schedule an online video call with your client, asking them the same questions that you would put into the online form of written testimonials. Then you ask them whether you can record the session. After that you edit the recording and your video testimonial is ready.

Which of the 2 methods you think is more effective?

Clearly the 2nd one, because less effort is involved for your customer.

In case you’re not convinced yet, let’s look at some stats that prove how effective testimonials are:

A pie chart that shows the importance of testimonial advertising

Source: Yes Marketing, The Retail Shopper’s Journey to Loyalty: The 2019 Customer Lifecycle Report

On the graph above you can see that after some obvious things (product information, services relevancy and price) testimonials are the 4th most important factor that affects our buying decisions.

So, don’t exclude testimonials advertising from your marketing strategy. Build a stunning product, offer an excellent service, find the right pricing and then make sure you capture testimonials from your clients.

It will have a compounding effect for your business. Because the more testimonials you have the more clients you’ll attract.

Are you using testimonials as part of your marketing strategy? Have they worked out for you? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Until next time.

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About the author 

Manos Syngarefs

I am a child of God, that loves gardening, growing my own food and trying to live as natural a life as possible. When I feel like I have something to say then I will write an article. I hope you enjoyed this one :)

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