Testimonials Decreased Sales by 0.4%

16 replies
Yeah, what the heck?

I added real testimonials to the end of a salesletter. Most of them briefly described their past, what they did with the course, then their future results i.e. what a good testimonial is.

I tested two versions of them (one variation was shorter with testimonials using ellipses to remove possibly unimportant information) and both generated the same number of sales.

The testimonials were added after the johnson box and p.s. statements to the end of the letter with a call-to-action of buying at the bottom of the testimonials (double your dating style).

The control of no testimonials generated 0.4% more sales (96% significance). However, both testimonial factors lead to 0.5% increase (85% significance though) in click-through to the "order page" which is an upsell.

What's some possible explanations for this? My thoughts are the testimonials do not speak directly enough to the market's problems. I might have to test sprinkling testimonials throughout sections of the letter to back up statements.
#04% #decreased #sales #split-testing #testimonials
  • Profile picture of the author Hugh Thyer
    One of two things happened.

    First, your testimonials could have weakened your sales message, so people who would have bought chose not to.

    Second, people found them distracting so they clicked away before ordering.

    Whatever, their presence has cooled down your hot prospect because people were hot to buy after the PS, but less so after the testimonials.

    It could be your use of testimonials though, because it would be better to use them to prove your claims in the body of your sales letter. This would be likely to improve response rather than reduce it.

    I can only assume your sample was big enough to draw a definite conclusion.
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  • Profile picture of the author wcmylife
    Are you pushing people directly to your sales page or are you taking them an auto-responder and then sending them to your sales page. If its the latter, you might want to experiment with adding a testimony into your auto-responder and then testing or simple move the testimonial up the sales letter and test again or change the testimonial and see if you get a better response.
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  • Profile picture of the author Avesel
    0.4% isn't a big percentage. It might just be randomness at work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    0.4% could be huge if he usually converts at 1%... that's a 40% difference.

    Anyway... Josh... I'd say your problem is you whacked 'em all together in a lump.

    Sprinkle them throughout the copy... using them to emphasize a point you just made.

    Ie.

    Some would say $97 is way too much money for an abc like xyz. But as Joe from Montana discovered...

    <in testimonial box> "At first, I thought I was crazy for paying $97 for xyz. But after n days, my problems had completely disappeared. I've paid thousands in the past to try and overcome this problem, and frankly having it gone is priceless. I'd gladly have paid more than ten times the amount for this amazing abc."

    Making sense?

    -Daniel

    P.S. Just to be blindingly obvious, not suggesting for a second you should make up testimonials. This was just an example for illustration purposes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce Wedding
    Let me explain the problem, which nobody has stated directly. If your testimonials lowered conversions, the people don't believe them. That's why we need to see them. To see what you did wrong.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joshua Uebergang
      No testimonials were made up. They were all legitimate stories of real people changing their life.

      And you're right Daniel. 0.4% is huge at 1% conversion.

      Like what Hugh was saying, maybe having them at the bottom stole some sizzle from the call-to-action of ordering so sprinkling them into relevant places will help. I'll test that next.

      See the attachment for the testimonials.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruka
    2 things I notice when I cast my eye over the testimonials, from a customer psychology perspective:

    1. Scanning the red headlines, they seem like hype, like they are not real. People tend to suspect that testimonials are made up and I wonder if that happens here.

    2. People might feel these people are "losers" and not want to join this group of people by purchasing your product.

    HTH
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    • Profile picture of the author Joshua Uebergang
      The red headline part is what I'd say "made up". It's a technique I learned from John Carlton (I think) to precisely summarize the testimonial and add power. But can see what you're saying. Hmm.

      They already feel like losers, but you've given food for thought, thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author amo992
    Have you considered placing a link to testimonials which is placed on a different page?
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    • Profile picture of the author Joshua Uebergang
      I haven't. Something worth testing - just concerned about them getting side-tracked.
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      • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
        Originally Posted by Joshua Uebergang View Post

        I haven't. Something worth testing - just concerned about them getting side-tracked.
        Forget about putting links on a sales page. It's almost never a good idea because people click away and forget to come back.

        Daniel already said it. .4 percent is significant. If you were happy with conversions before just get rid of the testimonials (which I found too small and blurry to read) and go back to what you had.
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  • Profile picture of the author dennisjarrel
    Other people have been nailing it, here are my thoughts:

    1 - Pretend you're a potential customer. You read a sales page and then get to that lump of testimonials and...what are you supposed to do with that? Okay you read then all and by the time you're done you've lost the focus of the message.

    2 - Plus they do seem spammy and made up.

    3 - I take it that these people are supposed to be confidential so you can't add pictures, that's unfortunate.

    4 - As people have said, testimonials are best sprinkled throughout the copy, not dropped in a heap at the end. You're trying to sell a story, not try to slam them in the face with WOM.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    Here's what I believe:

    1. Your testimonials have no context. If your reader can't relate to the person and see that they came from the same situation as they did, then they won't see the significance

    2. Anybody can make up testimonials, and people aren't stupid, they know this happens (not saying yours are made up, but that's what your readers are thinking.)

    3. These blocks of testimonials add length to a page, and length is your first objection when someone lands on your sales page. The longer they perceive the letter, the harder you've got to convince them to stick around and read on.

    For the record, I've been selling a product to cold traffic with zero testimonials or "social proof" at 3% conversion rate. Which may suggest that testimonials aren't all they cracked up to be.

    Do they help? Sure, when the reader sees someone exactly like them, getting the results they want. But you better be able to prove it, or your reader will try and call you out.
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  • Profile picture of the author geegel
    Focus on quality rather than quantity. Pick the two most compelling testimonials and please get rid of the headlines. Test and see how it goes.
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  • Profile picture of the author KevinFranz
    I'm not sure if there was an order button BEFORE the testimonials, but I can tell you that I took one look at the long list and thought nope, not gonna read all that. I would have clicked away, uninterested, before getting to the link at the bottom.

    One way of using testimonials that you may want to test is to take your strongest testimonial and expand it out into a sales story. You can then use it to lead your copy, or weave it in throughout.
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