Skip to content

Why your testimonials suck and how to get good ones

Sometimes I’m amazed at how bad some testimonials can be.

Happens in ecommerce especially, where most customers just basically mention how great the service was and how fast shipping has been.

What about the actual product you bought??

In SaaS you see bad ones too. Where users mostly mention how great support is. Again, what about the product?

Why does this happen?

The main reason is a lack of structure in asking for testimonials. That’s right, it’s not your customers’ fault, it’s your fault.

Put yourself in your customers shoes and imagine having to submit a review. You’re in the middle of a super busy day, maybe at work. You would either forget, or write two quick lines with the first and easiest (read, least polarizing) thing that comes to mind… how great the “service” was.

These testimonials won’t cut it. They won’t help you convert people because they don’t address any objections or doubts. Hence your prospects end up being skeptical and overlooking them.

We have to make them work a bit more to get you great testimonials.

The first time I heard about the concept of “constructing” testimonials was in a super short, but powerful book, “The brain audit” by Sean D’Souza.

He’s a great storyteller (recommend his podcasts) and marketer.

He sold me an $800 pdf!. Yes a pdf.

Anyway, back to The brain audit. Here’s what it says about testimonials:

“It’s the seeming lack of reality in a testimonial that makes us doubt its genuineness. So the way to pump back the reality is to give a testimonial a before/after effect. And voilà, we get the ‘reverse testimonial.”

Think about the before and after photos that personal trainers use. They have to add some “reality”, they can’t just throw out a photo of a huge, lean dude and claim it’s the result of their training program.

They need to construct their credibility.

How you do it? You ask customers questions not only about the “after” buying your product, but also about the “before”. For example: “What were you expecting before you bought/signed up for XYZ?” or “What was the obstacle that nearly prevented you from buying?” etc.

This information will help you inject your testimonials with an element of credibility that will enter and stay in the minds of your prospects the whole way to buying from you.

Reason why reviews on G2 Crowd or Capterra are really good most of the times. It’s because they are pre-formatted to ask specific questions about value, anxieties and motivations.

And don’t worry, these extra questions won’t be “too much” to handle for people.

Do you want to see how this works in real time?

Let’s do an experiment: click here to leave a quick 30 second review of this newsletter (and see how I’ve constructed my questions!).

brain dump?

Every day (yes!) I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.