Yes, please give me your thoughts and opinion!
Growing up in the California desert, my brother and I loved reading stories about the wild, wild west. It was easy to imagine ourselves as early settlers in the area and needing to fight range wars or protect our horses from thieves.
That classic imagery has seeped into the American psyche.
There’s a strong national desire to be an individual. To stand on your own two feet. To be your own person.
Which can mean it feels awkward to ask for testimonials from current or previous clients. “Who reads those anyhow?” is a question that pops up relatively frequently (especially when a copywriting client is arguing against a long-form sales page....and that's a different topic for a different day).
The reality is testimonials, case studies, and reviews are some of the best ways to show “social proof” that you and your offer are legitimate and can actually do what you’re promising.
Author Rober Cialidini, in his amazing book, “Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion,” states that the principle of social proof is defined as:
When we see what other people do as correct behavior, we follow suit. I’m sure you’ve seen this at your local popular restaurant. The more people waiting in line, the more people want to go to eat there.
As an online business, you have an additional hurdle to overcome compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar.
Your dream clients can’t walk into your storefront and know that you’re an established business. They’ve never met you face-to-face. And it’s likely they’ve been taken advantage of, or know someone who’s been ripped off, by an online scam.
When you have solid testimonials from a variety of past (or current) clients, it helps build trust that you are a legitimate business and that your offer is not only legit but can deliver on its promise.
Asking your dream clients for a testimonial doesn’t have to be awkward.
First, develop a process to ask for testimonials as part of your program, services, or delivering your product. Set up a regular, recurring system to automatically ask (or remind you to ask).
When you shop at your favorite stores, you probably get an email asking you to rate your experience or specific purchase. Your review is a testimonial for them.
Depending on your service, there may be a natural point where it makes sense to ask for testimonials. If you’re running a program, doing a mid-point check-in may give you a source for testimonials. Otherwise at the end of the program, of course, will be the perfect time to ask participants to deliver feedback and share a testimonial.
If you’re delivering done-for-you services, asking for a testimonial when you submit your deliverables is one option. Or following up with your clients and seeing how the deliverables are performing and asking for a testimonial at that time is another option.
And when a client is sharing their excitement about the progress they’re making or the results they’ve achieved, that’s a great time to celebrate the win with them…and ask for a testimonial!
The second way to make it easy and not awkward is to have a list of prompts or questions ready. Most people are happy to write a testimonial for you but they don’t know what to say!
Giving them clear direction gets you the best chance of getting a great testimonial. Check out this blog post with its free guide and template from my copywriting client and amazing integrator, Danielle Levy, for a great list of questions and a guide to making your testimonials work for you.
Get a video testimonial and label it with the client’s first and last name and some other identifiable feature - location, business or industry, role, etc.
For example, Sarah, with Get Pawsitive dog training, often includes “Pet Parent of ______” and lists the names of her client’s dogs. It’s relatable to her industry and offer. She could also include where her clients are from and list their city, state.
For a video testimonial, you can also ask your client to identify themselves on the recording.
If your client isn’t comfortable on video or doesn’t want to take the time to do that? Second best option - get a clear photo of their face and post it along with their name and identifying characteristic. For example, having a well-lit headshot from Arfan Husain, Facebook Ads Expert, Grow, Automate, Scale, is going to be much more effective and believable than a blurry or dark photo from Arfan H., Florida.
If you’re in an industry where your clients aren’t comfortable with sharing their names or faces, there are ways around it.
Create an image in Canva with “anonymous” or “confidential” and use that in place of a photo. That actually helps prospective clients understand and appreciate that you’ll keep their information private too.
Ask clients if they’d be willing to use their first name and identify themselves as a role in their life that may be relevant. You can ask them if they’d be willing to share something like, “Sharon, busy mom of 3, and dog-mom of 2” which gives the reader more confidence that the testimonial came from a specific person rather than something made up.
And never pass up GOLD from a client! If your client sings your praises, ask them if they’d be willing to write a testimonial….that’s how I got this one! 😍
Best investment ever!
I didn’t think I could afford to spend the money to hire Sharon to write my Nurture and Welcome Sequence. I see now I couldn’t afford NOT to. She produced something far more effective than I could have and it is DONE and working for me instead continuing to be something on my to do list waiting for my attention.
Mindset Coach for Christian Entrepreneurs
Bonus tip - Laura wrote that headline for me but when you’re using a testimonial, if the author didn’t give you one, pull a great line out of the testimony and use it as a headline.
Extra Bonus tip - Chase Diamond (email copywriting expert) sent out an email this week with Copywriting Tips & Tricks. One tip was specific for testimonials…he said the best testimonials are constructed. Start with doubt and end with praise. Straight praise testimonials don’t sound genuine.
So encourage your clients to talk about how they felt before they got started working with you. If your prospective dream clients are feeling that same way, this’ll help them get to a place where they believe they can get the same results your star testimonial got.
Sprinkle them throughout your website. Share them on your social media channels. Add them to your sales pages. Send them in your emails to your list. Put them on your scheduling link page.
Pay attention to how many you’re using on your website or sales page. If you only have one testimonial, readers will assume that you’ve only been in business a short while and have only gotten a single client to write one. If you have two, they’ll assume you only have two testimonials to share. But if you have at least three, they assume you have dozens and are only picking the top ones to share.
Don’t wait until you’re writing your sales page or email sequence to gather your testimonials. Stay on top of asking clients to share them with you regularly.
It’s stressful to be ready to write a sales page (or be in the middle of writing one) and not have testimonials to back up your offer.
If you have a specific objection that keeps coming up, and you know you had a client get success despite that objection, ask them to write a specific testimonial talking about it. For example, time is a common objection.
If you have a client who has expressed to you that it was worth the time, or they appreciated being able to work through the materials at their own pace, or they didn’t think they’d have the time but you made it so easy, enjoyable, and manageable to stay on track….ask them to write that specifically.
Answering objections through a testimonial from a previous client is a great strategy.
And once you’ve asked a client for a testimonial, calendar a follow-up with them. Send them a little reminder of the deadline. Maybe a little thank you note or gift to encourage them to participate.
We’re all busy. It’s your job to make this a priority for them so you can put the testimonials to work for you.