How Important Are Testimonials?

40 replies
I have recently launched a new website after miserably failing on a similar product in the past. I feel that I have learned a lot from my first project, and used an ebook that advised me step by step on how to make a successful sales page.

End result is very poor results... Again...

The biggest thing I can think of is that I don't have testimonials since my product is new, and don't really know how to get them before launching a product. Are testimonials so important that they can be the 'make or break' aspect of a sales page?

Any thoughts? Also, its very possible that my copy still isn't good enough but I know it's better than it was for my first project.

Any crotique would be welcomed as well.

Randall
#important #testimonials
  • Profile picture of the author Flareman
    Well, you could offer it to us warriors for review?
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  • Profile picture of the author Lokki08
    Originally Posted by RandallKowalenko View Post

    I have recently launched a new website after miserably failing on a similar product in the past. I feel that I have learned a lot from my first project, and used an ebook that advised me step by step on how to make a successful sales page.

    End result is very poor results... Again...

    The biggest thing I can think of is that I don't have testimonials since my product is new, and don't really know how to get them before launching a product. Are testimonials so important that they can be the 'make or break' aspect of a sales page?

    Any thoughts? Also, its very possible that my copy still isn't good enough but I know it's better than it was for my first project.

    Any crotique would be welcomed as well.

    Randall

    Hi Randall

    I think testimonials play an important role in sales page, because they are real feedback that people have gave. This will also show the value of the product. I highly recommend to give few copies to be reviewed for warriors here.

    Pick up some good warriors who have good reptutation here and are willing to make review of your copy. After you have received all testimonials from WarriorForum, put them or post them into your site. This will definitely give your product more value because it shows that people are satisfied with it.

    Especially if you will get some known internet marketers or reviewers of their testimonials they will help you up. What I mean with this is following, for example if Donald Trump get a copy review of my product and he will give testimonial it is much more valuable than some unkown person (with no offense towards anybody), because DT is more known to people and he is very good in business.
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  • Profile picture of the author jedz
    Banned
    I think so...

    Testimonials are important so you could have a reference to other clients who will be interested to your services.
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    • Profile picture of the author markpocock
      Testimonials are just one proof element.

      Send me an email and I'll send you a
      list of proof elements you can include to
      make your copy more believable.

      cheers

      Mark
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      Get a FREE 20 minute consultation on your sales letter. Contact me today
      And have the secrets A-List Copywriters - David Garfinkel & Parris Lampropoulos
      use in their multimillion dollar promotions
      www.markpocock.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Sanchez
    Randall, I don't mean to pry...

    But if you are talking about the website that is in your signature

    Then the reason that your site is failing miserably is because:

    (And I don't say this to be mean)

    The sales page is terrible.

    The look, design and even the actual copy of the site (not simply the words but the format) are terrible.

    Looks ancient.

    You just need to re-think things...

    Do you even know what the competition for this market is?

    Is it a viable market to even be getting into?

    And even if you create a product for that market, how are you going to position it so that it stands out?

    How are you getting traffic to your site?

    I don't think it's just a sales page that's the problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    If you're referring to the sales page in your sig, you have far bigger issues than testimonials. You've based your entire argument on a fluffy, non-issue problem and even the newest of newbies can see it.

    You start by saying that list-building is the holy grail of Internet Marketing. So far, so good. But it gets cheesy from there. Right away you start with stuff like this:

    "The problem, however, is that while many people are interested in setting up their web presence there seems to be a significant void in the amount of quality training available on how it's done."

    You're specifically referring to list-building and autoresponders. The truth is, there's a MASSIVE amount of quality info out there and a lot of it is free. Cruise over to YouTube and take a look.

    From there you say, "There seems to be an awful lot of 'snake oil' out there these days..."

    "...products claiming to show you the ropes only seem to actually give you tiny bits&pieces about how to setup an online presence..."

    It goes on an on. While some of that is true, you need to get much more specific in identifying these issues if you're going to use this as your hook.

    If you want to stay with this approach (I wouldn't), without naming a product or products specifically, you need to go into detail in how you've spent good money on courses only to be let down. Outline specifically what was promised and how the actual course(s) fell short. In other words, develop the problem in detail with stuff your readers will relate to and then introduce your solution.

    But your weak approach is just one of a bunch of issues. Get a professional proofreader to go through the copy. Get rid of that stupid pop in that attacks the visitor within the first second and sits right in front of the headline.

    Also, did you realize that when you click to buy you get a stupid message on why the visitor shouldn't be leaving the page? Am I missing something here? When someone clicks to buy and they get that, you've just inturrupted the buying process.

    This page is amateur city all the way. One last thing, in reference to your original question, I think sincere testimonials would help. Especially with a product in the $67 price range. Good luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Years ago, I was working with a Client on a new product and there were no testimonials.

      I insisted we needed testimonials before we launched to be able to hit it out of the park.

      His reply? "WE DON'T NEED TESTIMONIALS! Write the G** D*** copy!"

      This to me is kinda like fighting with one arm tied behind your back. But I did it.

      And it worked. But the way I made it work was to engineer into the piece WHY we don't have testimonials.

      For instance, at my personal site, I don't have testimonials, I don't have copy samples and I still get a stream of requests. Could I get more if I had testimonials? Absolutely.

      But that's unfortunately not in the cards.

      But you can do other things to establish trust, believability and goodwill.

      In other words, testimonials are only one form of proof. You have to get a bit creative, but it's very doable.

      - Rick Duris

      PS: I'd take Mark up on his offer.


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  • Profile picture of the author RealExpert
    I'm not a copywriting expert but from what I have read and seen, here are my two cents:

    If the product is new and you don't have any existing customers, you could borrow from market research. an example would be "According to Forrester Research, 12.9% of small businesses spend $500 or more on their marketing and don't get more than 4% ROI", you get the idea, something on those lines. You could also quote news sources. According to USA Today, a lot more Americans will need health insurance in their 50s than in their 20s. These are of course all made up numbers and statistics. Hope that helps
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
    Originally Posted by RandallKowalenko View Post

    Are testimonials so important that they can be the 'make or break' aspect of a sales page?
    Anytime anyone asks this question I always point them to this issue of Gary Halbert's letter:

    The Gary Halbert Letter

    This Internet sales letter generated over $20,000,000.00 in sales without using a single testimonial.

    Save the letter (and newsletter) to your computer, print it out and put it into a 3-ring binder. Read it from time-to-time to kick start your writing juices.

    Here's the entire newsletter/sales letter in PDF format:

    http://www.marketingbrainfarts.com/forexletter.zip
    Signature

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    • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
      Originally Posted by Mr. Subtle View Post

      Anytime anyone asks this question I always point them to this issue of Gary Halbert's letter:

      The Gary Halbert Letter

      This Internet sales letter generated over $20,000,000.00 in sales without using a single testimonial.

      Save the letter (and newsletter) to your computer, print it out and put it into a 3-ring binder. Read it from time-to-time to kick start your writing juices.

      Here's the entire newsletter/sales letter in PDF format:

      http://www.marketingbrainfarts.com/forexletter.zip
      I read somewhere (can't remember where) the guy himself said the copy is much better than the product.
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  • Profile picture of the author 2oursuccess
    You have to make the testimonials very crediable as with the persons picture and imformation as well as thier website make some kind of offer to people to get them to give you testimonials say discount or even free on your product or service
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  • Profile picture of the author Iconik
    Hi Randall,

    Glad to see you made an attempt at writing
    copy.

    As others have said the testimonials are not
    the biggest issue. Even with some great
    testimonials to use I don't think your copy
    would convert well.

    Before putting testimonials on the page you
    need to fix your copy. Prospects will never
    read you testimonials if you fail to draw their
    interest at the beginning of your letter.

    Here are some areas to work on...

    1. The Offer - Your offer has no legs.
    What can I get from you that I can't
    get for free or cheaper elsewhere?
    Improve your offer, here are some ideas...

    a. Add a premium or bonus
    b. Limited Time Offer
    c. Introductory Pricing
    d. Discounts on Future Products

    2. The Headline - Your headline needs
    to sell the ultimate benefit derived from
    your course. Lets take a look at your
    headline:

    Follow This Step By Step Workshop And You Will
    Have Your Own Website, Autoresponder &
    Marketing Newsletter Setup
    GUARANTEED!

    If I where selling a course on how to paint
    your house and I used the same technique
    it would look like this:

    Read This Simple Course and You Will
    Have Your House Painted
    GUARANTEED!

    You can quickly see how this offers no
    benefit or reason to buy. Now compare
    it to a headline that offers more than
    just the information but appeals to the
    prospects desires and you get a much
    more effective headline:

    Secrets Professional Painters Use to
    Paint More House in Less Time
    with Just a Brush and Bucket of Paint

    This headline has a direct benefit (Save Time)
    and assures the reader that they will not
    have to purchase any extra equipment.

    3. The Post-Head - In your post-headline
    you also try to sell the fact that your
    product includes a 102 page course manual
    and six hours of video.

    While the size of your material can
    be used as a selling point this is usually
    done with high ticket items (often a
    physical package) to increase perceived
    value and is only used after proof of
    quality has already been established.

    When you use this tactic as a lead in, it
    has a negative effect because it tells your
    prospect that they will have to do work in
    order to dig out all the info.

    4. Bullet Points - Or in your case, the list
    of videos. When listing the videos your
    letter only points out what the video is
    about. Instead you should use this space
    to sell the benefits of each individual
    video.

    Let's go back to our painting example.

    Instead of naming my video as...

    Painting Technique #1

    I would be better off naming it...

    A method of holding your brush that will let you cover 4 times more area in the same amount of time.

    or

    How to get an even coat every time by simply changing the way you apply paint to your brush!

    These are much more potent ways
    to present your videos than by simply
    stating the facts that appear in your
    videos. Facts only sell when tied to a
    benefit.

    Last, I just want to point out that your
    second video is about setting up a free
    email account, yet, you ask your reader
    to sign up for your newsletter with his
    email address?

    Maybe you don't need to include that
    video in an already oversimplified course.

    Here's to increasing your sales,
    Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author Jag82
    Testimonials are there to add credibility. To back up the
    sales letter. The 3rd party voice is "always" objective.

    But it has to be believable and have as many
    specific details as possible.

    Not all testimonials are good though.

    Vague and obviously fake testimonials can
    have the opposite effect of hurting sales.

    - Jag
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Enthusiastic
    Randall, this is awesome advice for you from Marc:

    Originally Posted by Marc Rodill View Post

    If you are not seeing the response you would like, scrap what you have and begin again. You have nothing to lose. Do an A/B split test, take the winner, and begin yet again.
    What have you done to make sure that you are fishing in an ocean full of hungry fish? (That is, to confirm that there's an eager marketplace where people have money for your solution?)

    What have you done to find out what kind of bait most appeals to these fish?

    What have you done to make sure your offer is uniquely valuable?

    Let's talk a bit about those things, if you like, as inspiration for a brand new sales letter. Discard everything that's been proven to not work. Start over from the top. New batter to the plate. etc.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author FiverrGuru
    testimonials are only a part of the problem here, make sure you're giving your customers what they're looking for, on a basic level, and go from there.
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  • Profile picture of the author laaronblase
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      But the way I made it work was to engineer into the piece WHY we don't have testimonials.
      Rick,

      Could you say more about this? I am wondering about what you could say that would make it be more credible not having testimonials.

      I have a specialized service where it is very hard to get testimonials because 80% of the clients have us under non-disclosure agreements and they're working in stealth mode that seems to go on forever. When I tell people verbally that that's the reason we have only a few testimonials, it doesn't seem to help at all.

      Thanks,
      Marcia Yudkin
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      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

        Rick,

        Could you say more about this? I am wondering about what you could say that would make it be more credible not having testimonials.
        Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post



        I have a specialized service where it is very hard to get testimonials because 80% of the clients have us under non-disclosure agreements and they're working in stealth mode that seems to go on forever. When I tell people verbally that that's the reason we have only a few testimonials, it doesn't seem to help at all.


        Thanks,

        Marcia Yudkin



        Hi Marcia,

        Look at Copyranger. I'm still building it out, but there's enough to convey the point.

        I am offering to prove I have the goods, when someone picks up the phone or Skype. Not only that, whatever I say it will benefit them directly. No hallucinating based upon other people's experience.

        Then they can judge for themselves.

        The second thing is, yours, mine, all our reputations precede us. On the Warrior Forum for instance, I gift people my best work.

        I really want them to succeed. People acknowledge, and I can do that all day long, without sharing the intimate details of my Clients and Partners. And because I've built up the reservoir of value, it's like "oh, I understand now."

        Not to brag, but only to illustrate, at some point, competency becomes apparent.

        You can do this too. How can you demonstrate your gifts and talents without divulging strategic relationships?

        - Rick Duris



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  • Profile picture of the author darthdeus
    Testimonials can be important, but only if they seem trustworthy.

    Many online marketers tend to "fake them" and people learned to ignore them.

    If your site looks trustworthy, they will help you, but if it looks like every other commercial junk, it people will just ignore them.
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  • Profile picture of the author yianni
    testimonials are very important

    otherwise i do not know what you are saying on a website is true or not
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  • Profile picture of the author yianni
    sorry forgot to add

    offer a certain number as review copies in exchange for testimonials

    and away you go....
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  • Profile picture of the author Hans Klein
    I agree with what's been said. Just to add something... a good case study.... or a really strong specific and results oriented testimonial can be VERY powerful. Sure, you might figure out how to get away without them. However, it's still a good idea to put in the effort to collect and get them. A really good one can make you a lot of money. Even if you don't use them in your main salespage... you might build a follow-up promotion around your testimonial or case-study. In this follow-up, you basically just show the results you or others are enjoying and that the product really can work for the prospect. It gives you a strong reason to mail the prospect and get him/her to take another look at what you have to offer.

    In addition, if you don't have a testimonials... you can engineer your own case-studies. Put your advice into action for yourself (or a prospect) and document the results. So, in essence, my key point is that you may launch without testimonials if you really have to (or have a strong reason to)... but, in most cases, you probably still want to put in the effort to get them.

    The easiest ways to get them once you launch is to ask your customers for feedback to improve your product and help you spread the word about your great product... in exchange for responding you might give a bonus that adds value to what your main product whether the feedback is good, bad, or neutral.
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    • Hell There,

      Hmmm! In my opinion testimonials are important. As these "testimonials" helps the present clients to verify and configure out, how good you were in your previous work.

      Cheers,
      CCL
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      • Profile picture of the author cjp231
        Although I believe that you can sell millions without any testimonials, I know that I have bought products based only on the testimonials...I am the guy who researches everything on places like amazon before I go and buy it. I want other people to buy the bad products and the good products so they can tell me what worked and what didn't. I just want to buy the products that work great. I believe this mentality is one of the reasons testimonials work.

        Testimonials can also provide social proof and peer pressure. If a bunch of successful people are buying this product then I must buy this product successful...

        However, I believe that most testimonials on the internet are given on a "You scratch my back, I'll scratch Yours" basis. Almost all of these big Gurus are connected with each other and they all promote each others products site unseen. They are still effective but I am beginning to put less faith in testimonials for internet products.
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  • Profile picture of the author tswartz
    Testimonials are important. The question is whether you can write them in a believable way...if not, they aren't important because they'll hurt you instead. Customers can tell.

    Try giving review copies out and get REAL testimonials...much better.
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    • Profile picture of the author ActionToCash
      Thank You For Your Feedback Fellow Warriors,

      I appreciate everyone's thoughts, insight and time. It looks like I have some homework to do and decide my next step.

      Regardless, your reviews offered some really great cross examination for me to absorb.

      Kind regards again!

      Randall
      Signature

      Happy Marketing!!!

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      • Profile picture of the author ActionToCash
        Oh, yeah, one other thing concerning offering free copies for other Warriors to review - Isn't it a requirement for testimonials that the product is purchased at full price instead of given away?

        I may be missing something, but for some reason thought that might be part of the new rules dealing with testimonials by the FTC?

        Otherwise I would definitely be open to offering copies to people in exchange for honest testimonials & feedback, however, just unsure if this is a legit way to obtain them.

        Anyway, again, thank you for everything,

        Randall
        Signature

        Happy Marketing!!!

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  • Profile picture of the author lacraiger
    i think it would depend on the product. but testimonials are probably the most important in a sales page after the headline, features and benefits.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zentech
    I agree with many here. I've had a brief look at the sales page, and testimonials aren't even what you need to be looking at right now. They are important and may be a valuable addition to your winning pitch - but first you need a winning pitch. You simply don't have one right now.

    Rather than worrying about testimonials, you need to get a solid sales letter in place first. Happily, you're on the right forum for that. There are many talented copywriters here, some of whom might even offer you a Warrior discount (I would). You need to revamp your whole sales letter, and then think about what role testimonials need to play.
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  • Profile picture of the author MillionDollarCopy
    First and foremost, you want kicka$$ copy. If you don't pull the reader in, they aren't going to make it to the testimonials in the first place, right?

    Once you have that in place (and really make sure you do. Don't cut corners with the copy and design!), then you can add the testimonials.

    Do they help? Yes, if they're genuine.

    Do you absolutely need them? Not if your copy has legs strong enough to stand on.
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  • Profile picture of the author K.serrattan
    Hey Randal,

    Everything in a project has to come together and at least be on par if you want to see any success.

    For example, your salescopy may be expertly done, but your preselling may be needed to insure that sale too. So your framework setup around lead generation may need some work.

    An example further would be. Are you dumping your leads right onto your salespage? (BAD) Or are you preselling (soft selling whatever you wanna call it) them in an email message first? Are you giving them a lead-in product to build credibility?

    Think about how you are generating that lead and how you are nurturing that relationship before you decide to dump them into your sales copy.

    What you are having difficulty with is probably conversion. And conversion is something that is improved with the BIG-PICTURE not just your sales copy.

    Now for your most immediate question about testimonials:

    Testimonials satify the fear in trying something new. That something new, is your product. And that fear for the customer is "is this guy legit?"

    Now you do not need loads of testimonials in your sales copy. However, you need to deal with that aspect of erasing the fear within the customer. That is what will make them click your buy button. (given that you have a good basic sales copy, which it seems like you do)

    Other ways to erase that fear is:

    - Preselling, email marketing, giving good quality stuff for free as a lead-in, developing that personal relationship with the customer.

    - Having credibility icons on your website (credit cards accepted, Security symbols like McAffee, BBB, ETC, a picture of you, video with you speaking.)

    - Having a Solid Guarantee like 2 months no hassle no questions asked, 110% money refunded. I've seen 200% money refunded if you don't like the product. I can MAKE MONEY if I don't like the product. That is SO effective it is not even funny!

    HOWEVER. Testimonials are an easy copy and paste no brainer solution that will add to "eliminating the fear" in the customer.

    Just submit your product to a couple users on the website and let them give you their testimonials. I would suggest giving it for free to a couple users with a lot of posts and "thanks" on their profile.

    You can even go as far as to ask for a plug from them or set up a sort of deal to split profits or a favor down the road. Pretty much anyone from here with over 2-5 thousand posts have the ability to give you a significant push on your launch.

    But, my advice would be to check out some of the WSO's on here to get an idea of how to launch the right way. Particularly from some of the Warriors with 2-5k in posts and thousands of "thanks".

    Your in a great place to grow.

    Use it to the best of your ability.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidO
    Testimonials are one of those things you have to use correctly to get value out of it. Poor testimonials do more harm than good and I see a lot of this.

    I made a block of testimonials a highlight of my site. But using Clicktale I discovered that nobody was reading them. Now I prefer to scatter them around the site at strategic points.

    It's also important that they look genuine. When I see a bunch of OTT testimonials with too many capitals and exclamation marks I skip right past them. That stinks of hype.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Iannotti
    I think testimonials are important, but aren't deal breakers. Believability does more justice.
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  • Profile picture of the author gareth
    I saw a sales page by Kevin Riley the other day & it was 90% testimonials

    Basically an intro, a buy section and a bunch of testimonials.

    Interesting.

    As for ways to get them --> Jv's and reviews spring to mind - what else ?

    (I need them too)
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  • Profile picture of the author link8
    Banned
    Hi,

    The testimonials will only play a role if the visitors or potential customers get a chance to read them or opt to read them.. Check your bounce rate, people may leave your site without even getting past your headline.
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  • Profile picture of the author GerryMedia
    I don't know but maybe I have become desensitized to testimonials for info products... I tend to skip them. It's like you're so used to them that you no longer give them a serious look, much like banner ads.

    Unless of course the testimonial is coming from somebody I know or whose name/face is familiar, then I will read it. As in the real world, we trust people we know.
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  • Profile picture of the author C.J Rodriguez
    Testimonials are very important.It shows ordinary people giving a good review to another ordinary person.And it drives the conception of the mind into thinking if it works for him it should work for me.And also give the product or service credibility.Something you can trust and be confident about.
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  • Profile picture of the author activetrader
    Testimonials don't hurt of course, but from my experience lack of testimonials does not equal zero sales. Every time I release a new product I do not have testimonials; I add them when I get them, so no for me personally lack of testimonials did not mean no sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author CouchPatatas
    A great testimonial is part of the equation to have a successful sales letter. It will add credibility to your products. Buyers will trust you more.
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