Copy Talk Episode 4: How to Write and Use Testimonials That Actually Work

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that social proof (a la testimonials) is major for copywriting success. You know testimonials are necessary. But do you know that they can – and should – help:

  • Boost your credibility in general
  • Highlight the types of people buying your product
  • Showcase the various locations of people using your solution
  • Give a personal face to an otherwise faceless business
  • Borrow the authority or street cred of the testimonial provider
  • Reinforce delighters & reasons to believe in your company
  • Stomp down objections
  • Add an emotional layer to your sales strategy
  • Trigger ‘herd behavior’ (i.e., “if all these people are doing it, maybe I should, too”)

Do your testimonials do any of the above?

If they don’t, what are they doing on the page?

(Remember that every letter of copy on your page is taking up valuable real estate… so it needs to prove its worth or high-tail it home. That means your testimonials need to support your argument… or you need to scrap them.)

In this edition of Copy Talk, I address the above points and also talk about 9 ways to get more out of your testimonials.

I know it can be really hard to be critical of your testimonials.

But the cold, hard truth is that, if you want your testimonials to be more effective than simply showing that you have a handful of satisfied users, you should start getting critical with them.

Know what you want from a testimonial, and ask your customers for them.


If your customers give you testimonials that don’t meet the objectives above, go back to them with revisions or requests for them to make a tweak or two. Remind them that you’re a small business and that their testimonial can do amazing things for your business, and they’ll not only be more likely to give you one – but they’ll also feel really good about doing so.

Happy writing,


About the author

Joanna Wiebe

Joanna Wiebe - Copywriter and author of "Copy Hackers"

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  • Amy

    Hi Joanna. Thanks so much for the awesome video! I hadn’t thought of using “summary headers” til I saw it on your site, and I like your explanation in the video as well.

    I have a question I didn’t see addressed here.

    For small businesses that maybe are working with 10 or fewer testimonials- should we be repeating them? Like putting them all on one testimonials page, then scattering the same ones throughout the site? Or should each testimonial only have one “home”?

    Thanks so much!

    • Joanna

      A great deal of businesses actually have 10 or fewer testimonials… but they do exactly as you say: they strategically place and repeat them around the site. It’s a great approach. Most people will touch ~3 pages on your site, at most, and they’ll pay very little attention to the words/messages that don’t match what they were looking for or otherwise catch their eye. So it’s unlikely that your visitors will scour your site, read each testimonial, remember each and then feel strange when they see the same testimonial again.

      That said, the more memorable a testimonial is, the more likely people are to remember it (says Captain Obvious). 🙂 That means that if you have a testimonial that reads “I save $175,600 with Company X! I spent all those savings on gold-laced BRAS!” people will probably recall that the next time they see it. 🙂 And it may not be a good moment of recollection. So I aim to use the really memorable ones prominently once — like around the home page headline — and then not much elsewhere. Hope that helps, Amy!

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