Testimonials: The Ultimate Social Proof

social proofYour email marketing relies on that one decisive moment when someone cruising around the internet ends up on your landing page and signs up for email updates from your company.

Once visitors click around and develop interest in your product, it’s natural for there to be some hesitation. People are very protective of their inboxes, but one surefire way to combat that tension is to use testimonials.

It’s a tactic that stems from the logic of social proof. As Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, explains, “we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.”

Let’s explore how you can use testimonials to encourage interested individuals to complete their requests for information and help you close sales with your email campaign.

Tactic #1: Influence at Sign Up

On their web form, Unique Fitness Group includes two testimonials from satisfied customers that are meant to positively influence website visitors who are on the fence about signing up.

Testimonial sign up form

The specific social proof that these women achieved real results with their product is a testament to their service and quells concerns from wary, but interested, visitors.

Regardless of what type of business you own, using a stats-driven testimonial will validate your product and show prospects tangible results that they can aspire to.

But when you’re collecting testimonials, avoid generalization and vague praise. Your service is stellar and you know that, but if someone simply says, “Hey, you’re the best!” that won’t be enough to inspire people to immediately sign up.

Remember that today’s consumers are savvy – they can detect fabricated stories in seconds so your testimonials must be sincere and authentic.

Web Form Testimonial Placement Ideas

  1. In the Header:When a visitor considers signing up for your email list, the header of your web form is the first thing they see prior to forking over their contact information. Using this space to highlight a particularly strong testimonial can be enough to compel an apprehensive person to go through with their request for information.
  2. In the Footer:You could also add a testimonial to the footer of your form as one final good word before the big subscription commitment. This way, the additional praise from an existing subscriber will ease new recruits’ minds and make them feel good about their choice to sign up.
  3. On the Page Next to the Form:If your product lends itself to visible and tangible results, you might not have enough room in your sign up form to do a testimonial justice. Simply use the remaining page space to exhibit pictures, graphs, charts and any other data from happy customers that would convince new visitors that they can also profit from your emails.

Tactic #2: Persuade Via Email

You can also use the social influence of testimonials as a sales tactic with subscribers who are already on your email list, just like Shape FX does with their product.

email testimonial

According to Cialdini, “when people are uncertain, they are more likely to use others’ actions to decide how they themselves should act.” The personal experiences that others have with your service give you credibility and situate your product favorably in the eyes of the subscriber.

Your testimonials have to be relevant and address “what-ifs” and hesitations. If you are selling a specific product, using a customer testimonial about a different product is a big no-no.

And don’t use a testimonial just for the sake of using one. Make sure that the kind words you use about your company really reflect how your service can help prospects.

Think about the questions that potential customers might have, and review your positive customer feedback to see if anyone addresses those issues. Prospects might be wondering what makes you different from your competition, or how your service will really benefit them – your testimonials should help them overcome that initial hesitation.

Where To Try Testimonials in an Email

  1. In the Header:A quick quote from a satisfied consumer makes a great slogan or tag-line for your business. Incorporate a particularly persuasive testimonial in your email header and readers will be compelled to read on.
  2. In the Body:If you are out of ideas for what to include in your emails, highlighting a particular customer’s story and documenting their experience with your product can provide you with relevant and inspiring content to include somewhere in your email before the call to action. The testimonial will build the reader’s confidence and reduce their apprehension before making your request.You can also include a testimonial next to, above or below the call to action. As we mentioned earlier in regard to web forms, some testimonials require more proof than just words. The best way to exhibit that proof in email is to place images, charts and other visuals in close proximity to the quote.
  3. In the Footer:Similarly to the header, you can use testimonials to close out your message. An account of how your company has impacted the life of a real customer will end your message on a strong note and encourage readers to consider your product.

Do You Use Social Proof Tactics?

How have they helped your campaign?

Do you find that they encourage prospects and customers alike? Share your thoughts below!


  1. Jack Liang

    7/19/2010 11:13 am

    Great tip!

    I’m going to try using the testimonial technique on my webform. However, I don’t think I can include more than one.

    I want to make sure that I have my webform on most of my pages, but if it’s too long, it might get cluttered and confusing.

    What do you suggest?

    Once again thanks for the great tip.

  2. How to Collect Testimonials

    8/31/2010 8:12 am

    […] used properly, customer testimonials can help you build a list of engaged email newsletter subscribers and increase […]

  3. David Fright

    8/31/2010 10:02 am

    Still compiling my E Mails that relate to a slimming programme and think the testimonial picture is a real winner. (When I get some testimonials I will have to use some!) I take it I need permission beforehand?

    Many thanks for all the good work.

  4. Julian

    8/31/2010 5:32 pm

    Would be nice if the post addressed the original email headline and topic sent by aweber…

    "How do you collect testimonials and feedback that are worthwhile when you have none to begin with?"

    What is the best way to ask customers to generate testimonies that we can use?

  5. Amanda Gagnon

    9/1/2010 8:09 am

    Julian ~ We’ve got you covered. You can read all about ways to collect testimonials here.

  6. Anthony Sunseri Blog Testimonials and the Web Form

    9/18/2010 10:05 am

    […] hope every one read the AWeber blog e-mail marketing tip on “Testimonials: The Ultimate Social Proof” posted by Rebecca Swayze.

  7. D

    8/30/2011 12:58 pm

    Terrific ideas. I’m going to add some testimonials on the side of my submit form on my contact page later. I use them on most pages of my site, but not the contact page itself, good thinking.