I Don’t Trust Testimonials… Mostly

Crossed FingersIn my last post Are Customer Testimonials Effective? I spelled out what types of testimonials are good for your sales page and why you should use them. It garnered some interesting comments on how much you can trust the testimonials you read on sales pages. So I thought I’d share my thoughts on the matter.

Personally I tend not to believe most testimonials on sales pages. Quite frankly it’s far to easy for them to be faked by the creator of the sales page themselves. I put in the last post that video testimonials are better and appear more trustworthy. But take a look at fiverr.com and see how many different people are willing to do a video testimonial for you for just $5.

And even if the testimonials are entirely genuine. They hardly represent a balanced view of the product. The marketer will have curated the testimonials so that only the ones that show their product in the best light are reprinted on the sales page. They’re not going to have testimonials that say how terrible their product is! (Although this may be an interesting test. Include a couple of negative comments amongst the positive testimonials. Would this make the positive testimonials seem more genuine?)

There is one exception however. And that is testimonials from other marketers that I know and trust. The know and trust bit is important. There are marketers that will write a testimonial for just about anything. It gets there name and web address out there and that’s what there looking for.

I’ve been on a lot of email lists over the years and I’ve unsubscribed from most of them. There are however a few that I’ve been on for years. For example I’ve been receiving Martin Avis’s Kickstart email newsletter since 2007.  He will only promote a product he has actually gone through and believes to be good. So if I see a testimonial from Martin on a sales page I will actually read it and trust what it says. It helps that I’ve met Martin a couple of times and he comes across exactly as he does in his emails, and that is as honest and genuine.

Also that means that when I read one of Martin’s sales pages I have no doubt that the testimonials are genuine.

Which leads to the point that if you as a marketer conduct yourself honestly and genuinely. More people will trust what you write on your sales page and in turn will believe that your testimonials are genuine.

What are your thoughts on the matter? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

14 Comments

  • Richard G M Taylor

    Reply Reply March 20, 2014

    Hi Matt,

    I endorse everything you say. I also make a reference to Martin Avis in my ‘about’ page http://richardgmtaylor.com/blog/about-richard-g-m-taylor/

    I often wonder why there seems to be so much emphasis on getting testimonials to help promote your products. It is almost unique to the IM world. I hope JT will cover this when we get to the product creation stage of the P2S training.

    Richard
    http://richardgmtaylor.com

  • Gordon Smith

    Reply Reply March 21, 2014

    Hi Matt,

    I tend to believe testimonials, maybe naive, because I have asked for testimonials for a couple of products and while I have received some great testimonials I have also had a couple of people say they didn’t want to give a testimonial and they gave me their reasons, and that’s fair enough.

    The reasons they gave were not because of the product itself, one was because of how the product was delivered and the other was because it was not my voice in the video. So because of these experiences I tend to believe the testimonials, generally, although you will always get those who give a testimonial for reasons other than genuine.

    I think most people are genuine and honest, but if there is a 30 day guarantee or 60day in the case of ClickBank you have the option of asking for a refund if you think the product is not up to scratch, or makes claims that are not justified.

    Thought provoking stuff Matt

    Gordon

  • Barry Friedmann

    Reply Reply March 21, 2014

    Hi Matt,

    This is a very interesting topic that is not discussed often enough. I agree with everything you have said, which is why it is so important to ensure that everything you do online is above board, honest and with the utmost of integrity.

    I have seen testimonials of products that I have bought online that rave about the benefits of using the product, yet after I bought it, I have never been able to achieve anything like what was promised, never mind what the testimonials have said. This has made me lose interest in the marketers that have provided these testimonials, as they have obviously only done so to obtain a back-link to their website or to help a friend to sell more of their product.

    I never give a false testimonial. I have only given a few in my days on the internet – not many, but I have only said what I have found to be the truth. Hopefully, this will stand me in good stead in the future.

    Kind regards,

    Barry Friedmann
    http://barryfriedmann.net

  • Sky Nealon

    Reply Reply March 21, 2014

    Hi Matt,

    Interest topic of discussion here, personally, I tend to glance over testimonials quickly unless the testimonial is made by a marketer who I know, trust or if they have a website link of which I will then visit first before coming back to the sales pages.

    An honest marketer who stands by their testimonial will usually leave a link to the website in the testimonial, so that you can check out their profile, find out more about them before deciding and going back to purchase what has been recommended. Like you said, video testimonials are more credible, but since anyone nowadays who has $5 to spare can buy a testimonial, maybe a video interview about the users experience or those who have tested the system might be better.

    Best regards
    Sky

  • Roman

    Reply Reply March 21, 2014

    Hi Matt,

    I do trust or don’t trust people. If the testimonial comes from honest and reputable marketer – I trust. Otherwise no chance. There is so much scam out there and every scamy product has got a bunch of great testimonials.

    Best wishes,
    Roman

  • Gordon Smith

    Reply Reply March 22, 2014

    “An honest marketer who stands by their testimonial will usually leave a link to the website in the testimonial, so that you can check out their profile,”

    Problem with this Sky, I asked Dave Nicholson to critique a sales page for me and one of the points he made to me was never to have any other links on the page except the buy not button, explaining not to have any distractions that would take your potential customer away from the sales page.

    I had put a link in the sales page to the website of the marketer who was giving my product the testimonial.(I thought of it as a kind of pay back leaving a link to his site) But Dave was very strongly opposed to it.

  • Gordon Smith

    Reply Reply March 22, 2014

    Erm that should be buy now button a buy not button probably wouldn’t be so effective lol 🙂

  • Andrew

    Reply Reply March 24, 2014

    Hi Matt

    I would agree with you that one or two video reviews by a well-known marketer is worth 100 times a bunch of written testimonials by unknown people, or even made up stuff.

    Andrew

  • Dave Thomas

    Reply Reply April 1, 2014

    Hi Matt

    Always dubious when I read testimonials as, like you say, they can be faked or bought. I was amazed about the number of Fiverr ads offering the video kind and in and accent you want!

    I am even dubious when I see an Internet Marketer giving a glowing testimonial as we all know that they are looking to sell the product and get their affiliate fee.

    I look for independent reviews and hope that I have made the right choice when I buy although it is a gut feel in the end and a lot of prayer!

    DaveT

  • igor Griffiths

    Reply Reply April 4, 2014

    Well hello Matt, as a fellow reader of Kickstart by Martin Avis, I can certainly agree Martin tells it how it is. Although now I am on the P2S program I am forcing myself to ignore following his recommendations and focus on only doing pretty much what I am told to do by John.

    Like you if I see a marketer I know personally recommending a product then that is a major tick in the box but of course everyone has an off day so its always worth listening to people who have actually gone through the solution, like Martin.

    igor

  • David Rogers

    Reply Reply April 12, 2014

    I got onto P2S via a recommendation from Martin Avis on Kickstart, and probably more products over the years than I’d care to count! Although he only recommend stuff he has seen and would fit your “know and trust” category, all marketers are there with a vested interest. And testimonials can only go so far – for example an experienced marketer like Martin cannot know how a newbie will take to something like P2S!!

  • Jennifer Saenz

    Reply Reply April 13, 2014

    I agree with you. I am more apt to listen to recommendations from people I know and trust or that I have had aligned opinions with. Sometimes the product owner does reach out on the forums for product reviews, but I think more often than not that the people getting free access feel more inclined to leave a review that is more on the positive side. And then there is the fact that product owners aren’t actually going to post any negative reviews they may receive either!

  • Alonzo Stride

    Reply Reply April 15, 2014

    Matt, I tend to agree with you. In my time spent as an internet marketer, I have seen my share of phoney and exaggerated testimonials.
    Great post Matt! Keep up the good work!
    All the best!

    Alonzo

  • Gaby

    Reply Reply April 17, 2014

    Very true what you say in your post Matt. I mistrust most testimonials as well. Reviews and testimonials can due to their very nature only be a subjective opinion of the writer. I have bought my fair share of IM products even with good reviews from Martin and they didn’t work for me. That doesn’t mean that the review was fake or wrong, I just couldn’t work with the product in the correct way.
    Reading all the comments it looks like hardly anybody trusts testimonials unless they are from one of the gurus. Are they still worth having?

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