Your Guide To The Nine Types Of Testimonials (w/Examples)

How successful companies and entrepreneurs use their existing customers and fans to sell to new ones

Bonus Material: Testimonials eBook


A couple of weeks ago we walked you through the 13 different ways you could use social proof on your website to increase conversions.

These all work like gangbusters, but we realized through that article that there is one type of social proof that we had a lot to say about…

Testimonials can increase conversion on your sales pages by 34%, but there are many different types of testimonials, and they all improve trust and conversions in their own way.

To make sure you take full advantage of them, I’ve scoured the internet to find every testimonial option available for you to use to increase conversions and improve your marketing.

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE TESTIMONIALS EBOOK

In this article I’ll go over the 9 different types of testimonials you can use in your business and on your website. Then at the end, I'll give you some tips on getting started and go over why it's important to test and combine them whenever possible.

Ready? Here are the 9 types I'm going to cover:

  1. Quote Testimonials
  2. Peer Testimonials
  3. Social Testimonials
  4. Influencer Testimonials
  5. Video Testimonials
  6. Success Story Testimonials
  7. Interview Testimonials
  8. Longform Testimonials
  9. Mashup Testimonials

1. Quote Testimonials

The quote testimonial is the granddaddy of all testimonials, and likely the first example you thought of. It’s been used for as long as testimonials have been alive and remains the most common type of testimonial today.

We can go all the way back to 1919 and find advertisements like this one, which includes a quote testimonial from a happy customer who has used the product.

Old testimonial example


Image credit


In case you can’t read the testimonial, it says:

*"If you had seen me, before I began to take Cardul, you would not think I was the same person" writes Mrs. Mamie Towe of 102 W. Main Street, Knoxville, Tenn. “Six doctors failed to do me any good and my friends thought I would die. I could hardly get out of bed, or walk a step. At last, an old lady advised me to take Cardul, and since taking it, I can go anywhere”. *

Quote testimonials remain effective for increasing conversions, and it’s the type of testimonial you most often see on sales pages, like the sales page for the Simple Green Smoothies’ 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge:

Smoothie rawkstars testimonial

They feature images of the alumni "Challenge Rawkstars" and a quote about their experiences with the challenge.

You might recognize this snackable form of testimonial from our homepage, too:

SumoMe testimonial

The quote testimonial is brief and succinct, so is easy to weave in sales copy, over images, and within content.

But it's not limited to text. For example, some hosts read out quote testimonials at the beginning of their podcast episodes, both to provide social proof and encourage others to leave a review.

Tips for Quote Testimonials:

  • Spread them around. Incorporate them into your sales pages, landing pages and content.
  • Choose transformative testimonials. Use testimonials that demonstrate a transformation rather than just kind words about your services.
  • Include photos. These OGs of testimonials are still effective, which is why they are still widely used. But to boost their effectiveness even further by adding a photo of the client leaving the testimonials.
  • Don’t limit these to just text. Read off testimonials in your YouTube videos or at the beginning of your podcast or sales videos to jumpstart that social proof.

2. Peer Testimonials

Peer testimonials are one of the most effective types of testimonials you can have on your website because of Implicit Egotism.

Sounds fancy, right? But it's a simple idea.

Implicit Egotism is a term for the human tendency to gravitate towards and trust people who resemble ourselves.

You may not have noticed, but you are more likely to buy a product if the person in the advertisement is like you. You’re also more likely to trust a testimonial if the testimonial is provided by somebody who resembles your own traits and demographics.

That’s why peer testimonials are so effective. So long as they’re not necessarily coming from your peers (as the seller), but are instead coming from your site's "avatar," or those who you want to sell to.

For example, on the homepage of The Art of Charm (life coaching for men), you can see peer testimonials from people who resemble AoC’s target market:

Art of Charm testimonials

Seems fitting that their peer testimonials would be from young men, right?

If your business is targeted toward young American mothers, your testimonials should be from people who fit the bill. If your testimonials are from middle-aged Canadian single men, good luck convincing those mothers on your legitimacy.

Tips for Peer Testimonials:

  • Drill down on your avatar. Who are you specifically trying to reach? Make sure it's crystal clear so you know who to ask for testimonials.
  • Ask for testimonials from people within your target market. These people make up the peers of your avatar (or maybe they even fit the bill of your avatar) and will attract more people like them because of Implicit Egotism.
  • Use identifiers. Have the client or customer include personal details about themselves that will allow the reader of the testimonial to identify with them.

3. Social Testimonials

What is better than to observe testimonials that happened in their natural habitat?

A social testimonial can take various forms:

  • Tweets about your products and services
  • Screenshots of your work posted on Instagram
  • Videos published on YouTube
  • Facebook posts on your page, the client’s page or within a group backing your business

Having natural conversations unfold around your work on social media is authentic and adds another layer of credibility to your business. The biggest difference between these and the other types of testimonials is that you usually ask for the other types, whereas social testimonials happen organically.

The Foundr homepage boasts several of this type of testimonial for their magazine and podcast:

foundr testimonials

If somebody loves a company enough to use their personal social media accounts to shout it out, it’s hard to ignore it’s credibility.

Ash Ambirge, the founder of The Middle Finger Project features a social testimonial on the homepage of her website as well:

Testimonials

It acts as both a testimonial for the work she does within her newsletter as well as social proof to let readers know that other people are diggin’ what she’s saying.

Tips for Social Testimonials:

  • Publicize social testimonials. If you don’t feature the testimonial on your website, "like" it, repost it, or otherwise get it in front of your audience and target market on the social media platform.
  • Take a screenshot or save the direct link. You will want to use social testimonials later and you don’t want to it get buried under thousands of Tweets or posts.

4. Influencer Testimonials

One testimonial type that works like gangbusters is the influencer testimonial.

This is different from the celebrity endorsement type of social proof we mentioned in the last article, in that influencers are simply highly trusted authorities in your industry or field.

They aren’t typically well-known celebrities outside of their industries, but they hold a high level of influence within. Social Media Examiner pairs influencer testimonials with a video testimonial for their about page:

Social media examinar testimonials

The reason testimonials from influencers are so effective is because their names are highly trusted and recognized. When you have a testimonial from an influencer, it shows your audience that you too are trustworthy. After all, somebody that they recognize and admire is endorsing your product, service, or work. If it’s good enough for them, it will be good enough for me, right?

For example, Lewis Howes is an authority in the online business space. If somebody landed on his page without knowing who he is, they’d be convinced right off the bat. He has incorporated a rolling testimonial slider beside his opt-in form from various influencers in the space:

Lewis Howes testimonials

Lewis gets bonus points because he uses SumoMe as well.

Tips for Influencer Testimonials:

  • Choose well-known influencers. Request testimonials from influencers you know who will be widely recognized in your space
  • Feature more than one. Using more than one influencer testimonial, like Lewis does, increases your chances of hitting on at least one influencer that each visitor will know.

5. Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are one of the most trustworthy forms of testimonial because it’s difficult to fake one that looks authentic.

It’s easy to fake a text testimonial by just writing something up and stealing somebody’s Facebook photo you knew in college, but to get somebody to sit down in front of a camera and sing your praises? That’s credible.

ReadyforZero is a company that helps their users pay down their debts through planning and software tools. They use video testimonials of their clients who have paid down massive debts to build trust and credibility:

Testimonials

To turn up the heat on the effectiveness of video testimonials, you can combine this method with the influencer testimonial method like Jaime Tardy, founder of Eventual Millionaire, has done for her coaching services. She has video testimonials from people like John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire for an extra boost of credibility:

Testimonials

Tips for Video Testimonials:

  • Make it professional. Any video testimonial is better than no video testimonial but professional testimonials are always more credible. Jaime’s testimonials are set in professional settings; ReadyForZero’s video testimonials are professionally shot.
  • Combine testimonials. If you use a peer, success story, or influencer testimonial in the form of a video, this becomes testimonial gold. We relate to others much better through video so don’t be afraid to combine testimonial types with video.

6. Success Story Testimonials

There are few things more powerful than demonstrating quantifiable and clear obvious results.

That’s what the success story testimonial does. Success stories walk the potential buyer step-by-step through a specific transformation another client has made with the product or service.

Instead of quoting the client saying nice things about your product or service, actually walk through the success they’ve had with it instead, like Steve Kamb, the owner of Nerd Fitness does on the sales page for his flagship course, Nerd Fitness Academy.

The Nerd Fitness Academy is an online course and community focused on building habits and nutrition, fitness, and mindset, and the success story testimonial makes the sales page so much stronger:

Nerd fitness testimonials

The before and after photos act as a photo testimonial and Steve promises more great transformations later so people don’t think these are just anomalies:

Nerd Fitness testimonials

As you can see, he uses the peer testimonial concept as well to incorporate different types of people. He captured busy mothers, people who went from obese to fit, both weight loss and muscle gain, men and women, different ages, and different motivations.

Success story testimonials don’t just work in the health and fitness industry. Huge companies use success story testimonials as well. Have you ever seen a Match.com commercial? They use them in the commercial footage and include it on their website:

Match testimonials

These are used for good reason: they’re magnetic for readers as they begin to see themselves in the success story. It shows that what you do actually works - and there are results to prove it.

Tips for Success Story Testimonials

  • The proof is in the pudding. Show images, screenshots, and visuals of results whenever you can. That might be just a screenshot of the amount of money you saved your client, or a before and after photo of a web design you completed.
  • Explicitly state results. If your client is comfortable with it, use quantifiable results. Steve uses pounds lost and muscle gained. Match.com often shows how long it took for users to find their partners.

7. Interview Testimonials

One effective way to combine both the client testimonial, a video or audio testimonial, and a success story testimonial is to interview your clients or customers about their experience working with you or using your product.

AWeber posted interviews on their blog with notable people who use their service. In the example below, they did a series of interviews with Chris Guillebeau about email marketing.

AWeber testimonials

Often, the consumers of interview testimonials won’t even realize they are testimonials. The best interview testimonials play out just like an interview and let the results speak for themselves.

Tips for Interview Testimonials

  • Do a video or audio interview. This will set you apart from text interviews and add another layer of credibility.
  • Let your client know ahead of time if you have any talking points. Your client will probably want to know before the interview if you want to talk about specific results (pounds lost, money earned or saved, etc) or you want them to address anything in the interview. Prep them!
  • Don’t ask leading questions. A leading question is when you ask a question in a way that you will elicit the response you want; this is what the evil lawyers do in the movies. Trust that your client will be open, honest, and complimentary.

8. Longform Testimonials

You’ve probably heard that longform sales letters work, right? It’s true.

Longform sales copy triggers something in our brains that makes us believe that if there’s so much to say about the product or service, there *must *be a ton of value in it.

As the saying goes, "the more you tell, the more you sell," and testimonials are no exception. Longform testimonials pack more than just a few sentences or paragraphs into the testimonial so it reads more like a story, and stories turn out to be highly persuasive because people are persuaded better through being "transported into a narrative world" than through logic.

We saw above that ReadyForZero uses video testimonials, but they also use longform testimonials in the form of blog posts to prove that their service works.

Testimonials

Tips for Longform Testimonials

  • Don’t bore your reader. Just like with articles and sales copy, only make your testimonial as long as it needs to be - not a word longer. The purpose of a longform testimonial is to pack in more value and proof, not to make it as long as possible and bore your reader to death.
  • Don’t make the entire story about your company. Weave quotes and results into the story but focus on the transformation the client went through. This feels more authentic to readers.

9. Mashup Testimonials

One type of testimonial that a lot of people have been using recently is the mashup testimonial, where several individual quote testimonials are strung together into an audio snippet or video.

You’ve probably heard these as social proof on the radio: a number of people saying nice things about the station before a song starts or when the hosts are being introduced.

This is particularly effective with podcasts, and many people have used these types of testimonials as anniversary specials or product launch specials.

Not only was our Social Media Examiner example above (link tk) a mashup testimonial (in the form of a video) to celebrate their 5th anniversary, but you can see an example of this done for the Internet Business Mastery 10th anniversary special podcast episode:

Podcast testimonials

If you listen to the episode, you’ll hear their students leave audio testimonials for their Academy and the lessons they’ve learned listening to their podcast over the past 10 years.

To hear so many people sing the praises of a podcast, website, or product proves that it must be good.

Tips for Mashup Testimonials

  • Use audio or video. Text mashups just look like gigantic blocks of quoted text that nobody wants to read. Audio can provide the smoothest transitions.
  • Make sure each testimonial is short. The mashup is a longer string of snippets making up a body of testimonials, so keep listeners or viewers interested by constantly transitioning to a new testimonial.
  • Have the client/customer record the testimonial. The purpose of these testimonials is not to have you read them outloud into a mic or camera, it’s to get the testimonial from the horse's mouth.
  • Have a theme. Jeremy and Jason from the Internet Business Mastery podcast presented a theme to their listeners and academy members to speak on. Social Media Examiner used their 5 year anniversary as the talking point. Without a central theme, the testimonials will seem disjointed and confusing.

Get Started, and Don’t Use Just One Type of Testimonial

It’s easy to find a resource like this article, try out one or two of the methods and move along with your life, happy for the results you’ve already achieved.

But testimonials are such an important method of social proof that you’ll be wasting a lot of potential if you take that route.

Instead, do this:

  1. Bookmark or clip this article so you can refer back to it later.
  2. Then, do a small test on each of these types of testimonials to see what your market responds best to.
  3. See how you can combine the most effective types into stronger overall social proof on your page.
  4. Keep mixing and matching to get closer to your goal!

Then, report back. Which type of testimonial is new to you? Which brought your business the best results? Was there another type that helped that we didn't cover?

Let us know in the comments!

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE TESTIMONIALS EBOOK

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