When I was getting started with my freelance copywriting business in 2008, one of the first things that my mastermind group told me to do was to put up a website and to make sure that I had a testimonials page.
I listened to what they said but it's not as easy as it sounds to collect and use testimonials. I have to admit that I haven't been maximizing testimonials... until recently, when I discovered a tool that made it a lot easier for me to collect and use them (more on that later).
In this presentation, I go over why client testimonials is important, how to collect them, and how to display them online.
Many of you know that testimonials are important for social proof.
Social proof is proof that other people agree with what you're saying.
In marketing, we claim that our products and services are good. And we promise to deliver some kind of transformation to our clients and our customers.
If you're promoting a product or service, you're expected to say good things about it.
And because it comes from you, then it's not as convincing as when it comes from somebody else, especially someone who has used that product or service.
This is why reviews are so popular. When you're thinking of buying a product, what do you do? You Google the product. You look at the product features and specifications. You probably watch YouTube videos to see how the product works.
And then if the product is being sold on Amazon, you go on Amazon to read through all the reviews. You look at the glowing reviews, you look at the negative reviews, and then you try to make a decision based on all those things.
It's the same thing with your potential clients, whether you're a coach, consultant, or a freelance service provider. Your prospective clients are going to check you out online. They're going to look for social proof that you deliver what you promised you will deliver.
Testimonials are the best form of social proof for those who of us who are freelancers, coaches, or consultants. So that's one reason why you want to use testimonials.
There's another reason to get testimonials and not a lot of people point this out.
Beyond the social proof, you want to get testimonials for your own benefit, especially when you're just getting started or any time that you're moving outside of your comfort zone. For example, when you're offering something new, you want to expand your services and you want to try to offer a new service.
In this situation, it's easy to fall into what's called the Impostor Syndrome, where you feel like an impostor, you feel like a fraud right. You start thinking, "Who am I anyway to go out there and offer ABC?"
But when you have testimonials, they will help you to overcome the Impostor Syndrome, because testimonials are your personal proof that you have been able to deliver on your promises with your previous customers and clients.
And so, testimonials are very important for marketing, yes, but also for your own confidence in putting yourself out there, making promises, and knowing you can deliver on these promises.
Some people say if you're not confident in yourself and in your abilities, then fake it 'til you make it. Or write all these positive affirmations.
If that works for you then go ahead and do it.
I'm not inclined to use either of those. I don't like faking anything, to begin with. I believe in being authentic.
What about affirmations? Well, if I don't believe in the affirmation then saying them out loud is not going to work, is it? If I don't believe that I'm an effective coach or consultant, then saying affirmations that I'm good won't make it true.
Basing your confidence on real results, on real work that you've done is much more effective. Your mind can't sabotage that because it's right there; your clients have said that you helped them, so your subconscious can't undo that.
Testimonials are a more effective source of confidence than "fake it 'til you make it" or affirmations.
A very common question I receive is, "what if I'm new? I'm just getting started. How do I even get testimonials to display when I don't have clients yet?"
First of all, I hear you! I started out as a brand-new freelance copywriter, too, never having had a copywriting client.
If you're new, then get testimonials from people you've worked with and who are familiar with your abilities. In the beginning, the testimonials don't have to be directly relevant to the service or product you're offering. They can be about your other skills or other services you've provided before.
For example, if you've just graduated from university, get testimonials from your university professors and teachers--people who are familiar with your capabilities.
If you've been doing volunteer work, then get testimonials from the people who supervised you there.
And if you've been working for any amount of time, get testimonials from your previous bosses and supervisors (of course, I'm assuming that the people you've been working with have been happy with your performance.
Only approach the people you know will give you a positive testimonial, but you know even if they don't, you don't have to display negative feedback. But you can still use the negative feedback to improve your performance.)
Another question I get is, "Should I provide a free service or discount my rates in exchange for a testimonial?"
A lot of freelancers do this when they're starting out. I never did it and I don't recommend it.
First of all, you're influencing the person's testimonial if you do this. They'll be pressured to say something nice about you even if what if it's not genuine.
I would rather that you go out there and start selling your services and start getting clients. Then ask for testimonials as you go along.
Even if you decide to give your services for free or provide a discount in exchange for testimonials, make it very clear that you only want the testimonials if the clients are genuinely happy with your work.
Make the collection of testimonials systematic. Aways ask your clients and customers for feedback and testimonials.
When I buy from third-party vendors on Amazon, some of them have this system where, shortly after receive my order, they send me an email saying asking me to post a review on Amazon.
That's very good practice. Many of us forget to ask for testimonials, especially when the transaction can't be automated, as in the case of coaching or consulting clients.
You just have to remind yourself to always ask for feedback or testimonials when you complete the project.
Later, I'm going to show you my own system, including the templates and the tools I use for client testimonials.
Another good practice is to make it easy for clients to give you their testimonials.
I have had clients tell to draft the testimonial and then they will just sign off on it.
Another way to make it easier for them is to give them a few guide questions, so they don't have to wrack their brains trying to come up with a testimonial for you. Give them up to three guide questions.
Make it easy for clients to give testimonials. Ask a few guide questions to get specific and detailed testimonials.
Another way to facilitate the process for clients is to send them to a page where they can submit their testimonial. That way, they don't need to go back-and-forth with you on email.
With my coaching and consulting clients, when we have a call either on Skype or on Zoom, I record the call. Oftentimes as we're ending the session, they'll say something, "Oh I really loved this session." Or I ask them what they got out of it. Since I record these calls, I'm able to take their exact words and add it to the testimonial they give me.
You can never have too many testimonials, so don't limit yourself. Don't cut out testimonials because you think people aren't going to read so many anyway. Trust me, if they're interested in your offer and they're checking you out, they will go through those testimonials.
And, of course, quality is important.
What makes for a quality testimonial? You want the testimonial to be as specific as possible and as detailed as possible. You want the testimonial to talk about results.
For example, let's say a client gave a testimonial that said, "Raymond's designs are amazing. They're great. They're fantastic!" That's good but an even better testimonial is:
That's a better testimonial because it was very specific as to what Raymond did and what results the client got from his work.
Also, as much as possible, ask for permission to use your client's full name and their photograph, as well as in the name of their business. These details and specifics give your testimonials credibility and believability.
Online, it's so easy to fake things, so if there's no name or face, you could have just faked everything.
Of course, you have to be sensitive. It depends on the nature of your service or product. If you're in a field where privacy is essential and you need to protect your clients' privacy, then of course, don't show their faces and don't show their their full names.
But you can still get permission to at least use their first names or initials and the city where they live.
Do whatever you can to make the testimonials credible and believable.
How do you use testimonials?
Use them on your:
There are a lot of ways to use testimonials. As long as you have them, use them everywhere.
Let me share some tools I use for collecting and using testimonials. First of all, I have an email template that I send to clients when I want to ask them for their testimonials. This is what it looks like:
SUBJECT: Would you do me a favor?
I have a favor to ask of you.
Would you take two minutes to give me your opinion of my coaching services?
It helps potential clients feel comfortable hiring me when they see that others have had positive experiences working with me.
All you have to do is answer three quick questions on this page: http://alexisrodrigo.com/give-feedback/
I look forward to learning what you like about my service ... but I also welcome any suggestions or criticisms, too.
Thank you in advance,
Secondly, I use a WordPress plugin to collect testimonials on my website.
When clients click on the link on my email, what they see is the feedback collection page I created using a WordPress plugin called Thrive Ovation.
This is my testimonial collection page (click image to enlarge):
You can't see it, but below the submit button, I have a little bit of text there saying, "By submitting your feedback you're giving me permission to quote you on my website and other marketing materials. Thank you!"
After they hit "submit," that shows up on my Thrive Ovation dashboard.
First of all, I get a notification by email telling me that somebody has submitted a form. So then I go to my Thrive Ovation dashboard, where I see the submissions.
When a testimonial is first submitted, it says "awaiting review." It's not displayed right away on my site. I go in the plugin to review what they've submitted and then I can edit it a little bit or maybe apply some formatting.
I also add tags based on the type of service that I provided my client, or if it something to do with content strategies or video, or if this is this a VIP client. The tags are helpful helpful later on because I might want to display specific testimonials that are just about a specific service.
For example, I can choose to display only testimonials about my coaching for example or only testimonials that have to do with video, or with blogging, or copywriting, and so on.
What will it look like on my website?
I use the Thrive Ovation plugin, along with the Thrive Architect plugin, to display the testimonials in a professional-looking way on my website without me spending a lot of time with graphic design software or having to hire a graphic designer and programmer.
Here's a video about the various templates available in Thrive Architect:
Compelling testimonials can make the difference between a client hiring you or going to your competitor.
Thrive Architect and Thrive Ovation work perfectly together to display the testimonials I've captured.
This is a client testimonials page I created (click to enlarge):
[Note: Watch the video above this page to see what these plugins look like on the back end.]
As soon as I approve the testimonial, it gets automatically displayed where I've embedded testimonials on the page, depending on the tags I specified on my display settings.
If you're interested in the tools I mentioned, check them out:
How do you collect and display testimonials on your site and sales pages? What tools have you been using and how have they been working out for you?
PS: The links on this page are affiliate links. That means, if you purchase Thrive products through those links, I will earn a commission. While I only recommend products I myself use and like, you should do your own due diligence before purchasing any product.
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.