Testimonials are Dead

3041954566_a58919a9f7_mTestimonials rely on the concept of “social proof”; the idea that we look to others to help determine how we should behave. For this reason, testimonials are a powerful component of advertising. As with most things, overuse and abuse has diminished the effectiveness of the typical testimonial. Something more authentic is the only way to make a impact.

The idea that a generic, faceless, edited quote about how great you are will make me want to buy your product is absurd. Please stop using them.

I know you’ve handpicked those statements.

If you don’t give me something authentic, I’ll find it elsewhere. I have lots of options for real opinions on a business – Google Local, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, among others.

I want to hear from the people that don’t like you,  not just you’re biggest fans. I want a real view of you, not the filtered version.

I want the testimonial to come directly from the person. I want to see a photo of the author and see the comment linked back to an online profile (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) somewhere so I know its a real person. I want to see what the user typed themselves, not what you edited.

The generic testimonails (i.e. “This is the best thing ever. Everyone should have 3 of your product”) are a waste of space at best, and at worst, an insult to me and the rest of your prospective buyers.

There are better options:

  • Unedited video interviews
  • Unedited audio interviews

And even better options:

If you don’t know how to use one of these above, find out how you can. The old method is a waste of time.

Photo credit: Adrian Clark


Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil

President

Dennis has spent over 19 years using the internet to sell and market new homes. He blogs about internet marketing for home builders here, wrote a book about technology's impact on the sales process, and is a respected speaker on advanced internet marketing and the online sales process.


  • casagogo

    Great post, Dennis! We have filled our website with many glowing testimonials which are important, but I agree that we need unedited video testimonies as well. I'll be uploading some of those this week to our website, so watch out!

  • casagogo

    Great post, Dennis! We have filled our website with many glowing testimonials which are important, but I agree that we need unedited video testimonies as well. I'll be uploading some of those this week to our website, so watch out!

  • http://launchyourlisting.com/ Mark Macdonald

    Unedited video is the best for sure. A problem many people run into when they ask someone for a testimonial is that the person being asked tries to write what they think you want them to write, which comes accross as less authentic.

    Another option is to save positive tweets about you to your Twitter favourites and grab the RSS feed from your favourites to display on your website.

  • http://www.dennisoneil.com Dennis O'Neil

    Marc – That Twitter favorite idea is a great one. Thanks for sharing.

    Cassandra – Glad to hear you're adding video. Nothing says “real” like video.

  • angelabatchelor

    Dennis, I completely agree! I recently started using the review tab on our Facebook Fan Page for REALTORS, prospective buyers and homeowners to comment on their experience of our company and new home community. The only roadblock I run into is, that people (even when prompted) don't always respond to your request for feedback. The more I use it, the more useful it will become!

  • http://www.dennisoneil.com Dennis O'Neil

    Hi Angela – Yes, sometimes getting the feedback you request (good or bad) is a challenge. I think you're making the right choice though. In a short time, you'll have many authentic pieces of feedback for prospects to review. Real feedback they trust.

    And thanks for your feedback!