The right way to use testimonials

Testimonials Stand Out Sessions

This week’s live Stand Out Session is all about social proof in copywriting. More specifically, it’s about the importance of testimonials and how to use them to overcome objections.


Transcript of Taleist’s copywriting FAQ live

Hello, and welcome to another Taleist standout session. I’m Steven Lewis. Today, we’re going to start by talking about the right way to use testimonials in your website copywriting. And then we’ll go into questions, some of which we held over last week. And you got an opportunity in the comments. If you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube, you can ask in the comments, any question you like. So that’s the format. I give you some tips. But if you’ve got any questions, not just about the tips, but about anything to do with copywriting, digital marketing, websites, I’m happy to answer those questions afterwards. Wherever you’re watching, feel free to hit like, subscribe, connect whatever the medium is that you’ve got there. And as I say, ask your question. Anytime you’re ready. So if you liked the video, give us a thumbs up.

How to use testimonials to counter objections

Today, I wanted to talk to you about the right way to use testimonials. Because I see a lot of websites where people use testimonials, and they’re missing an opportunity because the existence of people who like you is good proof. It’s good social proof that you have clients and customers who are happy with you. But you can get more mileage from a testimonial if you are able to use a testimonial to counter an objection. If you think about your clients or potential clients, there are reasons why they’re hesitant to use you. Or even just to use somebody who does what you do. And one of the great ways to knock out that hesitation is to show that potential client somebody like them who directly addresses that objection. So it’s not you saying, hey, that doesn’t count in my case. Or that’s not something you need to worry about. It’s the client saying it.

So the way that I want to show you this is through some before-and-after testimonials from a website that we’re writing at the moment. And the website that we’re writing at the moment is for a lawyer. If you imagine yourself, you’re thinking about going to court, something’s come up. And you’ve got some objections to, to the idea of engaging a litigator. So that objection might be lawyers take too long, you know, they’re too slow, they don’t move quickly enough. And all of that, of course, is going to cost me money. Lawyers are too expensive. We’ve all heard that before, you absolutely know that that’s going to be an objection, that’s going to stop somebody choosing a lawyer.

Lawyers aren’t commercial. I’ve written a lot of websites for lawyers over the years. I’ve worked in house in a law firm. This is a typical client concern about choosing a lawyer, they they’re not commercial. They’re too involved in the law, and what’s a win at law. But you know, they’re not good at business. Because winning a case, which can take three years might not actually be a win for business. Lawyers will make you feel stupid, common objection, the underdog is screwed anyway. So what’s the point of going finding a lawyer? I’m never gonna win. And a typical objection, particularly for larger companies, is I’m going to walk into the office, I’m going to meet a partner who’s charging me you know, $100,000 a day. But actually, my work is going to be being done by some 25 year old that I’m never going to meet. These are the things that are going through the potential clients head as they work to make a decision.

So what I noticed recently with this client, and I’ve changed the name of the client. These are genuine, genuine testimonials. The client has some recommendations on LinkedIn already. So those recommendations on LinkedIn are testimonials. But I’m going to show you a before and after. So this is the client writing a recommendation on LinkedIn. We’ve recently engaged this lawyer to act on our behalf. That’s a little bit of what you know, you might call throat clearing, but that doesn’t really get to the point. You’re giving a testimonial for a lawyer, we can pretty much assume that it’s your lawyer so you’ve engaged them. Attention to detail and professional advice have been invaluable to finding an agreeable solution which helps settle the dispute without having to resort to litigation.

Those are good points. A lot of people worry that if they go to see a litigation lawyer, they are going to end up in court, even if the matter could have been solved out of court because litigators like to litigate. But attention to detail. Not necessarily certain how high up the list of objections that might be to a lawyer that you think a lawyer might not be detailed or you think they might not be professional. These probably aren’t primary objections to choosing between litigating. We’d be more than happy to recommend Sally’s expertise based on the excellent service she’s provided for us. you know, that’s okay. But again, it’s implicit in your giving a testimonial that you, that has been published by the recipient. Obviously on Google, you can leave a negative review. But when it comes to a testimonial, the recipient of the testimonial is publishing, so we can pretty much assume that you weren’t met, because you’re happy to recommend them.

This is the post interview version. So part of our process is to interview our clients’ clients, because that’s often the secret sauce in writing a website is how does the potential client talk about a service and then when you could reflect that back, you know, then you’ve got a much better chance of persuading somebody. So this is the same person who previously written a LinkedIn recommendation, but then we interviewed them. And then we turned back the into a testimonial.

Even though our matter was involved, and I had to send through a lot of documentation, Sally grasp the whole overview and concept really quickly. So going back to that objection, lawyers take too much time. You send them a letter, and they’ll spend four hours reading it scratching their heads and thinking about it. Well, not in this case. I was surprised by how little we had to explain. Again, this was fast. I send stuff through, she was on top of it quickly. I didn’t have to spend a lot of my time explaining and my time explaining to her was also time that she’s charging me for, didn’t have to.

She gave us a detached professional opinion about whether our case was worth pursuing. As I said, typical objection with litigators is that they’re going to litigate because that’s how they get paid. So there is always that doubt that, that a litigator will give you honest advice and say actually I wouldn’t litigate this if I were you. Because a litigator who persuades you not to litigate, has talked herself out of work. With Sally, it’s not like sitting with lawyers and boardrooms, getting bombarded or feeling like you’re a nuisance, it was actually pleasant. So again, that objection lawyers make you feel stupid, and you don’t enjoy spending time with them. I know these things are objections, because I’ve been doing this a lot. But also specifically in this case, because I’ve interviewed the client. And what this client is telling me are his objections. And he’s matching them to what Sally did that overcame his objection. So this is much more detailed and realistic. And I think much better at knocking out some of those objections than the previous version.

Here’s another LinkedIn version, different clients. Left a recommendation, Sally’s helped us set up an Australian business. That doesn’t say that she’s done it. Well, it just says she’s done it. And it’s probably not an objection in this case if the lawyer wouldn’t be able to do this. She’s also reviewed the relevant commercial IP legislation and helped us draft some contracts. Again, you know, this is stuff that we might expect a lawyer to be able to do. She’s an adept cross-cultural communicator and work well people from diverse backgrounds. This is good, because this is a lawyer who works with people across borders, and therefore that ability to work with people who come at things from different perspectives is actually good. And could be an objection when you’re looking for a lawyer to handle a dispute involving people in different countries. You might think, yeah, are they going to be able to do it?

She’s bright, she listens, well provide seasoned advice with great customer service. She’s a great lawyer and we highly recommend it. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with the second two paragraphs, you know, they’re quite good. But they’re not as good as they could be. As I learned when I interviewed this client, who came in and said she immediately understood. So immediately, it’s a, it’s a great word there because it speaks to that no wasting of time. Understood our problem being treated dismissively by a large company. This isn’t knocking out an objection, but it is building a bond with somebody like this client who’s a smaller player in the market, who’s been bullied. You’re going to immediately feel as that kind of client. Hello, this is great. I’ve got a, you know, I’ve got a lawyer who understands David and Goliath, and who represents David in that equation.

She knew exactly how to defend us and now they know her by name and the home office. So again, we go into this cross-border thing. If you’re the subsidiary of an overseas firm, it’s a great win for you that the lawyer that you’ve chosen in this country is highly regarded in your head office. So there’s an objection. I’m going to choose a lawyer, but head office is not going to think that that’s a good lawyer. Not in this case, because he does. Great lawyer, adept cross cultural communicator. Bright, listens well and provides seasoned advice with great customer service. So I’ve kept that in from the LinkedIn version, because I think that’s strong. I’m not entirely sure about the word bright. And that’s up in the air at the moment, I feel it may have some connotations. But it’s up for discussion.

We appreciate that our work isn’t handed down to a junior associate. So directly addressing an objection. And again, how I know it’s an objection? Because this guy said it to me on the phone. He’s instructed lawyers previously and he does not like the being charged to talk to a partner while knowing that somebody cheaper and less experienced is the one actually doing the work. So he knows that. He said that, and it’s out there. And gives it due consideration and comes back with options that I wouldn’t have thought to come up with myself. Again, another objection is you go into a lawyer and a lawyer doesn’t tell you anything that you don’t already know.

So you’ve taken. Again in these two examples, so okay recommendations. They’re nice, they’re nice recommendations, you’d be pleased to have them. But you’ve turned them into something that is a much more effective weapon at overcoming the objections that the readers of your website might have to choosing you instead of choosing somebody else. Final version. And then you know, please, if you’re enjoying this video, do as I say, click like, subscribe, comment, let us know what you think. If you’re listening to the podcast, this is available as a podcast. So if you’re not listening live, and you’re listening to the recording, welcome. And if you’re interested in finding our recordings, you can find them at We’ve got video recordings, and audio and the links to where the podcast can be found. So do please ask your questions in the comments. If you’re listening live. If you listen to the podcast, you can go to and ask your question in advance. And if you chose additional podcasts, you’ll be able to hear your answer.

So here’s that third testimonial. I found Sally to be very professional and courteous. I mean, courteous. Potentially lawyers making you feel stupid. But again, I am. And I don’t know that courtesy, would be the key objection. And I don’t think professionalism is necessarily a big objection to lawyers. I think lawyers have a reputation for being professional. I’d say their reputation is more for sometimes, I think that professionalism get in the way of being actually useful. But professionalism is not, I think, a big objection. She’s always willing to go above and beyond her role. That’s nice. But what does that mean? And it may be an objection that lawyers insist on swimming in their lane and won’t do anything more. But what’s the more? And recently Sally representatives and litigation due to a diligent hard work, we had a positive outcome I’ve notification recommended Sally, it’s all nice. Again, you’d be happy to get this recommendation. You’d be better off with this recommendation than no recommendation.

But let’s look at what the same person said during an interview, then turn into a testimonial. The way Sally puts things together is exceptional. In the cases she’s handled for us, So there’s cases, plural. That’s quite nice, indicating you’ve gone back. So you, you know, you recommend this person, then you say they’re worth using and you have yourself use them more at once. I’ve noticed we’ve been far better prepared than the other side. That’s very specific. So we’ve heard in the LinkedIn versions that this lawyer is diligent. But what, how do you quantify diligent? What does diligent mean? It means you’ve seen it because she’s better prepared. And in being better prepared, you’ve seen her prevail. So what a great thing for somebody who’s thinking about how, how am I going to know that I’ve got the best possible lawyer? Well, this person is saying, I’ve watched it happen. I know I had the best lawyer and I can tell you it was because.

Some lawyers ruin a negotiation fighting over a point of law. Back to that objection that litigators will litigate. And litigators are like a dog with a bone. The bone is a point of law and a litigator will gnaw at the point of law to the exclusion of what’s going on around them. And what’s going on around them, if you’re a business person, is your business that could be being derailed while lawyers gnaw on the bone at the point of law. And you would just rather they got on to finding a resolution even if it wasn’t a perfect example of justice. Sally gets the commercial element when she’s negotiating. She doesn’t push the legal points at the expense of reaching a deal. That’s because she’s always listening to the client. Again, you’re not made to feel stupid. This is somebody who’s always listening. So same people, two different versions of how they think. One version completely authentic because it was taken from an interview. But by listening during that interview to what objections this client had, and knowing what from research what objections other clients had, we were able to better calibrate those testimonials to deliver on conversions on the website.

Testimonials is probably the best form of social proof that you can have. And social proof is arguably in most cases, the best form of proof you can have on your website. If you’d like to know more about using social proof effectively to increase the conversions on your website. Taleist does have a masterclass on social proof. So if you go to or the link on the screen there. Or just search Taleist social proof and you’ll be bound to find us. And we have a masterclass that’s all about the ways that you can be using the social proof you already have more effectively.

How much should I be paying for a new website?

Now, as I promised, we do answer questions. And we do take questions in advance, which you can ask through the website, Or you can ask live in the comments right now. So we have a question from Sarah, how much should I be paying for a new website? A common question we get asked all the time. And we often get asked it in the sense of it’s more expensive than I thought it was going to be, because my friend got a website from somewhere abroad and it only cost them $80. And you know, why has this web designer told me they want $6,000, just to design the website? And the answer is, it depends. If you want to do eCommerce on your website, then you’re in a whole new level of expense, which is why some people may use Shopify. Depends how much freedom you want to be able to use your website and how much you want your website to be a response to your uniqueness and your specific needs.

So if you want a website that looks quite nice but doesn’t have an enormous amount of flexibility, you can get a Squarespace website. I think they’re a couple hundred bucks a year. Not too expensive, through to, a lot of our small business clients will pay six or $7,000 for the design and build of a website. But they’re getting a website that does what they wanted to do in the way that they want to do it. It’s unique, the person who’s put it together has actually written it in a way that it will load quickly, which is important to Google. You know, some of those cheaper websites that you might go out and get will never rank in SEO, because they’re way too slow to load.

And then in terms of your copywriting, you know, it really depends. Of course, you can find somebody else to write words for your website for hundreds of dollars. Or if you want copywriting that is to go, a response to what people need to hear from you, to be persuaded, to use you versus the competition, then you’ve got to be paying someone who’s going to spend the time with you to understand your business and understand your competition and your customers, and what’s going to persuade them. And then has the skill to turn that into writing. It looks effortless. So the point of copywriting is, it should look effortless. You shouldn’t feel like you’re being sold to, you should feel like you’re in the right place, and you’re getting excited to work with that person. So you know, that can then be thousands of dollars. So it really depends on what you want to get from your website.

But the way that I would encourage you to think about it is how long would you expect to keep a website? You know, probably at least a couple of years? And how much would it be worth for you to get one or two or ten or 100 more clients out of that website over those two years? And then think from that point of view, what would that be worth to you? If somebody said to you, I can get you another ten clients a month, what would that be worth to you? If they said I can get you another 100 clients a month, what would that be worth to you? And then look at that as an investment rather than underinvesting so that you’ve got a website, tick box. But the website doesn’t actually do anything. Because the real cost of a website is always going to be the business that you lose.

You know the, you can, you can save $4,000 on your website. But how many potential clients would you have to lose over the course of two years before that $4,000 became completely irrelevant? And it’s been far more expensive for you to have a website. But a website that doesn’t do anything for there. I hope that answers your question. And we’ve also got blog posts on the site that you can find by Googling how to choose a website copywriter. And we’ve actually got a blog post called why our website’s so expensive. So if you go to, you can find this blog post or you can find it by googling Taleist and why websites are expensive. Or Taleist and how to choose a copywriter.

What’s the difference between a landing page and a homepage?

Next question is from Malik, what’s the difference between a landing page and a homepage? Technically speaking, there’s no difference between a landing page and a homepage. Because landing page simply means it is the page on which a visitor lands on your website. So the page on which people will most commonly land on your website or arrive on your website is going to be your homepage. So your homepage for those people is a landing page. If you search for Taleist, and you get one of our blog posts. You read a blog post, and then you go to our homepage, our homepage is not the landing page, the blog post is the landing page.

Mostly when people talk about landing pages, they mean what you might more accurately called a sales page. And what makes a sales page different from another web page is that a sales page is designed to take the reader from the top to the bottom and making a decision. Or possibly making a decision along the way without going anywhere else. So somebody comes to your homepage and I clicked your About section. They might click your Service, people click around the website. And they, that works in some circumstances that they might get distracted. So if you’re running a Facebook ad saying, hey, do you have this problem, click here to find out about my solution. You want that person to land on one page, and to receive all the information on that page that they need to make a decision to work with you. So that’s the sales page. So its sales, think of a sales page or a landing page in the way that most people use it to mean, a page where the reader does not have to click anywhere else other than on my call to action to be converted from where they are to where I want them to be, which would normally be downloading my PDF, calling me, emailing me, buying something, you know, taking an action that moves them closer to becoming a customer of mine.

Again, if you’ve got a question, feel free to go to and you can ask it in advance. Or you can ask it live right now, if we’re still live. If you’re watching the recording, you cannot ask it live. But still, please leave us a comment, a thumbs up subscribe to the channel so that you know when we’re going live again. You know, we really read every comment every email, and we love to hear from people. So please, if you’re enjoying this, encourage us to keep going by interacting with us. It makes a huge difference.

How can I save money on my website costs?

We had a question from David who asked how can I save money on my website cost, which is a… I suppose depends on where your website costs are coming from. My view would be, giving a clear brief on what you want is going to really help you to save money. Because when you are clear on what you want, then the person that you’re asking, whether it’s a web designer or web developer. The designer is responsible for how your site looks, the developer is responsible for building it. They’re often the same person but not always. You can go to a designer who then goes to a builder and your copywriter.

If you can tell them exactly what you want to achieve and give them a tight brief so they understand where you’re at and where you want to get to, then they can give you a much more accurate quote for the work because they know what’s going to be involved. Where you might find that the quote potentially is higher than it needs to be is if you’re vague about what you want. Because if you’re vague about what you want, then your supplier, whether it’s the copywriter or the web developer, has to build in a certain amount of uncertainty as to what you might want.

So from a copywriting point of view for instance, I’m looking as a copywriter to come in at the, you can tell me what the products or services and who you’re selling it to and what you need this page to do. And my job is to learn enough about the product and service and the person that you’re trying to sell it to, to be able to write convincingly to the person you’re trying to sell it to. But I can also help you if you’re like well, I’m not really sure who the target audience is, and I’m not really sure what makes this special to that target audience. Of course, we can help with that. But that is additional service. So if we suspect in the pitching process that you don’t have the answer to that question, then we’re going to be budgeting for the time it’s gonna take us to work with you to find the answer to that question. So a tight brief is an excellent way to help you save money on your copywriting.

How can I build an email list from scratch using something like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign?

What other questions do we have? Dane asks, how can you build an email list from scratch using something like MailChimp or Active Campaign? I do still see websites where people have a call to action on the website that says, subscribe to our newsletter. To which I’d say in my workshops and presentations, who has a lonely inbox? You know, when you open your email in the morning, do you have no emails and you just think it’s sad, nobody is rude to me. So that when you’re on a website that says subscribe to my newsletter, you think great, I’ll get some emails if I subscribe to this. Of course there is nobody in the world now who doesn’t have a busy inbox absolutely chock full of stuff. So subscribe to my mailing list is like saying please feel free to fill my mailbox with junk outside your house.

You have to make an offer. If you want to build a mailing list, you have to make a great offer to somebody to be on that mailing list. So Taleist for instance, we’ve got, I think it’s something like seven free guides now. So there’s a guide to writing great About Us page. There’s a guide to writing brilliant case studies. There’s various free guides to various things on the site. And you can find them at So if you go there, you’ll see those. That’s what we’re offering the people that say, I’ve got something valuable, you’ve got something that I’d like. I’d like your email address so that we can get to know each other and I can send you useful tips. And yes, from time to time I’m going to ask if you want to buy something. In return just for starters, you’re going to get this PDF full of tips. You know, there’s a landing page checklist. So if you want to know whether your landing page is doing all the things that we think it should do, there’s a checklist that you can work through. There’s seven things that you can do to increase your conversions on your website overnight. You know, these are valuable things to the types of people that I would like to talk to. So I offer value in return for value.

So if you want to build a mailing list, don’t start with the box on your website that says subscribe. Start with the valuable thing that you’re going to offer somebody in exchange for their email address. And think about having more than one. Because what’s value, you know, you probably have three or four types of readers to your website. They’ve got three or four different problems. So have something to answer each of the major problems that has brought somebody to your website. So from our point of view, the person who, some people want to help writing case study. So you know, they’ll download that. But somebody who doesn’t want to write a case study won’t download that and won’t subscribe to the mailing list. But they could want to know how to write a better landing page. So they’ll download that.

So that’s the idea. Have something that matches to the person, you know, and solves their problem. And that builds value. I mean in fact, for a long time on the Taleist website, you couldn’t go directly to the website and just sign up for the mailing list. There was no such box. You just had some downloads you could choose from and that put you on the mailing list. But I ended up in a situation where I had emails from people saying I’ve heard about your mailing list, and I want to join it. And there wasn’t a way to join it. So eventually, I did actually put it on the website so that you can directly join our mailing list, and it works.

Feel free to like, subscribe and comment

So I hope that has answered your question and I love doing the Stand Out sessions. You know, again, I love reading your comments, reading your emails. It’s great to hear from you. If you want to know when the next stand out session is, click like and subscribe and comment. And YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook will be delighted to let you know when we’re coming again. Or you can go to, send us a question or just sign up to be notified. Or if you’d like listening to the recordings and you can go to that URL and sign up for podcasts there. And if you’re listening to the podcast, thank you very much. And you can still leave us a review which will be excellent. So thank you for joining us at another standout session and we look forward to seeing you next time.