So I just relaunched my new, smexy website with the help of my friend Elisha Schnell (one of Australia’s most prolific designers — she doesn’t publish it as far as I can tell, but her client list is basically a who’s who of huge Aussie brands).
However, I had a special request for her:
Don’t do it for me — let me do as much of it as possible.
(I wanted to learn for myself.)
She was happy to oblige, and showed me what to fiddle with.
When I was done, I sent her the website to look over.
She replied in her typical lovely way:
“Hello!!! Looks so much better! Well done!”
(Yes, five exclamation marks in the first 7 words. That is bright, friendly Elisha for you.)
“One little thought – you might want to change to scrolling testimonials!”
(Whereas I’d actually stacked my testimonials one atop the other, in a big list.)
Now, Elisha has been ‘in the trenches’ with me on many a job, for some very big clients.
And her friendly manner conceals an inner ‘beast mode’ when it comes to fixing and coding websites.
So normally, I take her advice on design as something approaching website gospel …
… but not in this case.
Because Elisha — like most people — does not necessarily think like a copywriter.
(She is reading this, so I need to point out that there is nothing wrong with that, and we are still copy-design buddies, Elisha.)
But my simple question is this:
What is the point of having testimonials you don’t want people to read?
If a testimonial furthers your sales pitch, don’t hide it — show it.
And if it doesn’t? Again, don’t hide it — delete it.
Problem is, most people’s testimonials suck, and go something like this (and yes, if your eyes glaze over at the following paragraph, that’s the point):
“Wow! Can I just say that working with Ben Boredom has been such a wonderful experience for my business. He came in and did everything right. I love him so much. The work he did has just brought in so many results. He was so professional. He’s funny. He’s clever. He’s handsome. I wish I could marry my daughter off to him. But I don’t even have any daughters, so I just signed up for a dating website so I can meet someone to bear me a daughter that I could marry off to Ben. I really cannot put into words how fantastic it has been working with him. Short, individual pithy selling points I should put into this testimonial? Don’t know any. I’m just going to keep saying how good he is, and Ben will feature this as his #1 testimonial because it strokes his ego so darn much. I LOVE YOU BEN!”
When you have five of those, of course nobody wants to read them, dipstick.
So, what should you look for in testimonials?
You want ONE GOOD IDEA expressed per testimonial. Anything more is bloat.
If your testimonial is long? Cut it down. 1-2 lines max. And get to the POINT.
Do that, and your testimonials will actually help sell you like ‘bullet points’ on your sales page, rather than being something you need to hide.
That’s a rule of thumb that should get you started if your testimonials suck like the one above.
Now, there are a ton of exceptions to this — and there are ways to practically force your customers to write a long, engaging testimonial that sells you.
But those are not included in today’s free email tip.
The only exception is if you are a client of mine — in which case all my sales page experience is yours for the taking.
If that is a privilege of which you wish to avail yourself, go ye hither:
P.S. If you have a business that needs branding, design or website building (especially if, like me, you want someone to coach you on DIY versus paying to have it all done), hit up Elisha at Rogue Monday. Helping people DIY this stuff is kind of her speciality. And besides, all the cool (and famous) kids use her too …
P.P.S. Elisha checked this email and said I was cool to send it … but she would be preparing a rebuttal from a UX perspective on her own blog. So, I have risked my friendship to send you this tip. You’d better use it.