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How To Ruin Your Business With Disembodied Testimonials

If you look very carefully you will notice the head move.

Testimonials are HUGELY important part of the selling process. They are used everywhere and by all.

Selling in this context is used very loosely. I’m taking the “we are all selling, all the time” type of angle here.

When I was teaching Network Engineering, the company I worked for had letters by past clients hung on walls all over the place. In addition to that, the Trainers were required to hand over their professional degrees so that they can be hung on walls as well.

Letters of gratitude + professional degrees + trainers walking around in person = effective!

As Seen on TV

If you turn-on your TV late at night, you are likely to see paid actors spouting the magnificence of a given product.

Everyone gets a paycheck on those shows, even the overly exuberant audience members. Which is why their testimonials feel fake. Because they ARE fake.

Paid actors + flimsy product + coked out host that’s way too excited to be there = not effective!

There is an X factor here tho. This shit is shown late at night on purpose. We are tired, out of sync with our Circadian Rhythm, giddy and easily persuaded to part with our plastic.

Buy My Shit

Remember when the Internet was mostly anonymous? Well, it’s not anymore.

If you have a product or a service sold online (btw, if you don’t, what the hell, man?) your business can be helped with testimonials. However, they CAN NOT be Disembodied Testimonials.

We’ve all been to a site that’s selling a suspect product with testimonials that all sound oddly similar in “voice” and with names such as Rich Powers, John Smith, and Lisa Armstrong.

These ambiguous, “normal” sounding, “cant-do-a-google-search-because-you’ll-get-million-hits” type of names are clearly made up.

Occasionally they will throw in a “weird” name like Charisa Panzarella or some shit like that. And let’s not forget titles. Your DRs and PhDs. They will pepper it with titles every now and again for variety I suppose.

You’re NOT Fooling Anyone

Social Web has gone real. If I can’t click on the name and see the person’s Twitter account, blog or Facebook profile, then your testimonials are a scam. Or they are viewed as scam. Or at least…they are not reaching their full potential.

How do you like “not reaching their full potential” language? I’ve been practicing my mitigated language skills. It blows.

So how do you make sure your testimonials are hitting the mark?

Make sure the “realness” of the person is verifiable with a click. And by that I mean with a single click. And if a visitor is able to double-verify the “realness”, that’s even better.

This is not that hard actually. A link to the person’s Twitter profile and blog perhaps. Maybe Facebook.

Slight variations will exist depending on your industry. In my world, a Twitter ID is enough to verify the realness of the person. In your world, it might require their LinkedIn profile. Adjust as per the audience.

This is how we do it

Remember that song? This is how we do it…oh, nevermind.

Why am I talking to you about this now?

Dan Cristo impressed the hell out of me when he implemented Triberr’s testimonials.

He pulled the Twitter picture of the person, their blog, and made their picture clickable. So after reading the testimonial you can click on the person’s face and see their Twitter profile or their blog.

That’s double-verification in action.

Note the elegant usage of the homepage real estate. The testimonials are “spinning” so you see many within the same boxed-off area.

Also, note the implied testimonials on the bottom. Those are all pictures of our users and their faces are clickable. If you click on it, the box pops open showing you their Twitter ID, as well as the URL to their blog. See below.

I love the way Dan-O executed this feature. Simple. elegant, and effective.

Your Turn:

  • Do you use testimonials on your site?
  • Are they verifiable, or disembodied?
  • If you’re NOT leveraging the power of testimonials, why not?
  • Did you really think the head was moving? lol