Do Testimonials Work?


One of the most common questions I get asked is, "Do Testimonials Really Work?!" These questions are common because on the internet we know how easy it is to fake a testimonial. 

The answer of course is a RESOUNDING YES!!! 

Sure, testimonials that have obvious trust issues, or don't share real insight, are probably worthless, but legit testimonials work wonders. In fact, since so few companies do testimonials properly online, they present a HUGE opportunity to differentiate yourself as a trusted vendor. 

I recently came across an example a Testimonials that I absolutely believed without blinking an eye. It is a brilliant example of testimonials done right. 

Let's first understand though the function that a testimonials is supposed to serve so we can figure out what type actually works. 

When a customer is ready to buy, they have an immediate fear of being made to look like a fool. What this means is that a Testimonial is not so much meant to make people trust you but more to…

The Function of a Testimonial is to Assure People They Won't Look Like A Fool By Trusting You. 

There is a subtle but fundamental difference between this Assurance, and actually proving you are trustworthy. 

The simple reality is that until after the fact, they can NEVER KNOW FORESURE if they got a good deal or not, or if they should have trusted you. In fact, this is a risk most people are willing to take, because…

Your Prospects Really Truly Want to Believe You, Because You Promise To Solve Their Problem. They Want to Trust You… But, They Can Never Truly Know Until After They Take The Plunge… 

So, They aren't looking to trust you, but rather to DEFEND THEIR DECISION TO TRUST YOU!!! 

In other words, as long as you can assure them they won't look like a fool, they will force themselves to trust you. 

So, Now that we understand what they are looking for, and the function of a testimonial, we understand that a Testimonial should be a tool for a prospect to defend his decision to buy from you. 

If anyone can look at your testimonial and say that its possible its fake, they will not trust it. But, if its most likely real, even if they know you might only showcase the best testimonials, they will feel assured they can fall back on your testimonial to defend their decision. 

The first element to a trustworthy testimonial is something that can be attributed to a REAL PERSON. This can be with a name and position at a company. Like a linkedin recommendation, since the testimonial is from a real person, it is something to fall back on. Another example would a testimonial withe specifics. For example, instead of it saying, "Great Job!" It should say, "I Hired David, and he not only made himself available to me for hours at a time whenever I needed him, but he also increased my rankings on 17 head keywords, translating into a 175% increase in profits. After wasting thousands with shady SEO's, I finally found a vendor that worked really hard every day to make my money work for me. Thanks to David, my company is netting a solid tenfold return on our investment in his search engine optimization services." This of course would be even better if it had examples of what I did for them, like created a killer infographic that generated dozens of high quality links to our site. You get the idea. The most information, the more specific, THE MORE RELATABLE, the more likely people will connect with it, believe it, and buy from you knowing they can always defend their decision based on the Real Looking Testimonial, you are in great shape. 

The Relatable word is key here since the prospect is looking to support an emotional decision, if they can put themselves in the shoes of your testimonial writer, and can fantasize the same results, especially if they can related to the same problem mentioned. 

So, the simple answer is that Testimonials work amazingly well when they are done right. Like everything else though, when you fake it, people will see right through it. Anything you can do to add credibility to it like getting reviews on third party sites or doing what this brilliant company did… 

This moving company actually posted on their website reall, handwritten testimonials from customers. Check out how great of a job they did. In fact, such a good job that I am probably hiring them for my move to Colorado next month. 


Here is what it looks like when you click on one of those images. 



About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.


  1. Good info David. And a “reminder” for all of us who realize the effectiveness of good testimonials yet we cant find the time to get it done. now is the time…it is as you brought out, a great differentiater!

  2. Marianna Elizabeth Beavis says

    Customers are without a doubt the driving force behind any business, no matter what they’re selling and how they’re doing it. No matter the marketing, it’s how a customer actually responds to your product or service that will ensure your business longevity or downward spiral, unless your McDonalds. Despite how truly awful they can be, they’re still going and people still keep buying. But in the general sense of most businesses, I believe this rings true. In this vein, I completely agree with you. There is no doubt in my mind that testimonials work and I’ve heard people question it, but there really should be no questions. They’re are incredibly important to reassure future customers and continue to draw new ones in, as well as to actually reassure you that you’re doing the right thing by your customers in the first place. They’re a benefit to the business as much as who buys from them.

  3. Really good points. Too many testimonials are obviously from the friends and probably the Mom of the business owner. But using the specific details, I can see, would be very powerful. Photos of hand-written testimonials = brilliant.


  1. […] Testimonials do work. That’s why they are used over and over again in marketing. Entrepreneur outlined that testimonials work for reasons varying from building trust to overcoming skepticism. We find them on the inside of book covers, and especially diet related book covers. But if the Dieticians Association of Australia were to release a book about healthy eating, this major marketing strategy would be absent. […]

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