New Testimonial Rules

Do you use testimonials to market your small business? (You should – they’re great credibility-builders. But, I digress…)

The FTC changed the rules about what your testimonials can say back in October of 2009. Here’s how it boils down:

1. If your testimonial talks about outstanding results, and these results aren’t those seen by everyone who gets your product, you have to add a disclaimer stating “results not typical”.

2. You have to disclose if you gave payments or free products to the people giving your testimonials. Did you send out free copies of your ebook in exchange for early reviews? Allow people to sit in your teleclass free of charge for a glowing testimonial? Now you have to make that clear.

3. Celebrities have to disclose their relationships with advertisers.

If you already have testimonials, consider reviewing them and making sure that they’re “up to par”.

This information should help you add value to your consulting clients as well, if you’re involved in a role that involves testimonial gathering or marketing with testimonials.

More details via' About Erin Ferree

Erin Ferree is a brand strategist and designer. She works with small businesses to create brands with substance and style that fit their businesses perfectly.
She's designed brands for hundreds of small business all over the world. Her brands help her clients attract their ideal clients, outshine their competition and make them unforgettable. She also works with small business owners to develop complete clarity about their brand positioning and to develop total brand clarity.
Her award-winning design work and her writing on design have been published in many books and periodicals.
Erin lives, cooks and plays tug-of-war with her dog Stanley in San Luis Obispo, California. Her website is


  1. Glad you shared this, as I’m going to be collecting testimonials soon. I like the new rules. Hopefully they’ll add credibility to testimonials.

  2.' Cheryl Chow says

    Erin, I have a question. How do you collect testimonials for health care practitioners? It seems that most of their patients prefer to remain anonymous.

  3. Hi, Cheryl –

    The goal of testimonials is to demonstrate your qualifications and establish credibility. So, to approach this question with the end goals in mind:

    First, ask each client if you can use their name.

    If the answer is no, then ask if you can use their first name, last initial.

    If the answer is still no, list them in some other, more creative way. You can list them demographically: “Mother of 3, ages 2-6” or “40 year old father”. Psychographically: “Stressed-out CEO”. Or by problem: “Diabetes patient”.

    I hope these ideas help.

  4.' Cheryl Chow says

    Hi Erin,

    Thank you very much. I think what you suggest should work.

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