10 Authoritative Observations on Testimonials

  • “Testimonials from celebrities get high recall scores, but I have stopped using them because readers remember the celebrity and forget the product.”

    —David Ogilvy

  • “No matter how poorly worded, the real words of real people are always more believable than anything a writer can come up with.”

    —Susan K. Hutcheson

  • “Use the full name in endorsements and testimonials when an individual is doing the endorsing. Initials such as ‘G.B.H., Boston’ often have very little impact.”

    —Gil Effron

  • The three most common misuses of endorsements are: testimonials that are so general as to be meaningless…that promise so much that they strain believability…that are not germane or relevant to the product or service being offered.

    —Ed Burnett

  • “Glowing statements by satisfied customers help reassure prospects that your product is a good one and that your company can be trusted. If you don’t have any testimonials, solicit them…most customers will be glad to give you a good testimonial, often better than you would dare write yourself.”

    —Thomas B. Brady

  • “Testimonials and endorsements should be used only if they are: authorized by the person quoted…genuine and related to the experience of the person giving them…and not taken out of context so as to distort the endorser’s opinion or experience with the product.”

    —Martin Baier

  • “As a rule, a testimonial belongs on the flier or brochure in support of the claimed benefits…if a testimonial is well targeted to the readership, a longer quote is more effective than a shorter one.”

    —Nat G. Bodian

  • “To include lots of endorsements, you can use one-line testimonials or pull quotes… It can be equally as effective as an entire testimonial.”

    —Gil Effron

  • “Turn a particularly good testimonial into a lift letter.”

    —Susan K. Hutcheson

  • “Not only must endorsements reflect the experience of ‘actual consumers’ but there must be disclosure of any material connections between the endorser and the seller that might affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement.”

    —Martin Baier on Federal Trade Commission guidelines on testimonials

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