Any time you visit a squeeze page, you will inevitably see lots of testimonials, including lots of video testimonials. Ever wonder how many of those were real though and whether or not they really are effective? Here’s what you need to know:
Most Testimonials Aren’t Spontaneous
The fact is that while we all try to make it seem as if our customers have left a glowing testimonial of their own accord, most testimonials are anything but. They may be testimonials which were offered in exchange for a free product, or even worse, they may be testimonials which were outright paid for.
Go to Fiverr.com for example and you can find dozens of people who will do a testimonial for pretty much any product or site, often without ever having seen the site in question. Now, where these are obvious advertisements (the preacher guy whom I’ve used and recommended in the past for example), there is no harm done. However, when they appear to be a genuine testimonial, you run the risk of losing credibility.
Why Paid Testimonials Are No Good
Look, aside from it being unethical to use paid testimonials on Fiverr which look like real testimonials, you also run the risk of being exposed. These folks on Fiverr need to do a lot of work to make it worth their while to run those testimonials. That means that they may well be doing testimonials for the competition as well as for you and if your customer see the same guy endorsing both products, they’re going to know something is up.
An Ethical Gray Area: Testimonial for Free Product
A better choice, though still an ethical gray area is the testimonial for free product idea. If the testimonial comes from someone who regularly does reviews anyway (i.e. a blogger who reviews products in your industry), it’s perfectly fine because the guy is known for that and likely even trusted. It gets a lot murkier when you use a testimonial from random people you offer free product to.
While you are less likely to get caught than with the paid testimonials, I’d say you still run that risk and that such a thing could damage your credibility.
So What Is Acceptable Then?
By now, you’re probably shaking your head in exasperation and wondering what is acceptable and useful. Obviously, as I stated at the beginning of his piece, most testimonials are not spontaneous. While it would be great to get them from people who simply love your product enough to write about it or do a video, the reality is that these things don’t usually happen.
Offer an Incentive to Paid Customers
However, it is possible to get good quality testimonials from real people. The way you do this is to offer an extra freebie or a discount coupon to paid customers. In other words, if you sell them a word processing program, you might offer a font pack or graphic pack in exchange for their testimonial. Or you could even offer a small rebate for them.
The reason these kinds of testimonials are legit is because these are people who spent money to actually buy your product and are presumably using it. They aren’t just taking a freebie or worse, getting paid to review a product they likely don’t care about at all.
Brand New Products
A final word on testimonials – I know many of you are wondering what you can do about getting testimonials for brand new products, which obviously don’t have paid users yet. In this case, the best advice is to look for top bloggers in your niche and offer them free product in exchange for a review. Just be aware that these people may not always give a flattering review because they are trusted to be honest about products they review (which is why it’s useful to get such testimonials for your products).