Client testimonials are the lifeblood of any business. If you want to attract bigger and better clients, first you need to show that you’re good at what you do. And no matter how comfortable you are at selling yourself, praise is more believable when it comes from someone else. Knowing how to get client testimonials is an essential skill for every entrepreneur.
The power of writing your own testimonials
If you’re a new business owner, the idea of writing your own testimonials might sound disingenuous. After all, these are supposed to be personal recommendations. Do they still mean anything if they’re written by you, rather than your clients?
Your clients, on the other hand, see it differently.
They may love your work and be happy to recommend you, but it’s one more task on an already full to-do list. If you write the testimonial and all they need to do is sign off on it, that’s one less thing to worry about.
Writing some of your testimonials in batches, along with a template request email, allows you to request a client testimonial in a few short minutes, and makes it easy for them to give you a testimonial in even less time.
How to write your testimonials for client approval
You can write your own testimonials using the following three-step process:
1. Decide what you want to emphasize
Brainstorm a list of things you want to highlight about your business. For example, you might want to emphasize how closely you work with clients, or how fast your work produces results.
Aim for at least five different things you want your testimonials to talk about.
2. Write as many testimonials as you can in one hour
Write as many 2-3 sentence testimonials as you can in an hour, using a timer to make sure you don’t end up doing this all day. Base each testimonial on a specific aspect of your business that you’ve decided to highlight. Don’t linger on any one testimonial too long. You want to create a list of 20 or more, so you don’t have to repeat this exercise for an extended period of time.
At the same time, don’t go overboard with stories or whatnots. This should be about facts.
3. Edit your testimonials for clarity and spelling
Reread your testimonials and correct any errors. You don’t want your testimonials to sound too cold or professional, but you also don’t want your clients – or potential future clients – to be distracted by an obvious spelling mistake. Or, even worse, to be so confused that they leave your website.
Don’t know what to write? Here are some example testimonials to get you started:
(Blank) was a pleasure to work with. She communicated with me at every stage of the process. Her THE-THING-DONE met all of my functionality requirements, and exceeded my aesthetic expectations.
We approached (Blank) with complicated needs and a hard deadline for our company launch. She understood our needs right away and pulled together an excellent THING in time for our deadline.
(Blank) transformed our THING into something modern and spectacular. They provided advanced THIS and THAT, and we couldn't be happier with the results.
(Blank) not only built a beautiful THING for us, they also trained our staff in SOMETHING so we can work with it on our own.
Even after our THING launched, (Blank) continues to be communicative and helpful. Any time we have an issue or want to update our THING, we can rely on (Blank).
If you use these templates as a base for your first testimonials, make sure to replace “Blank” with your name and change the words around – everything in uppercase. You don’t want clients to find their testimonials written word-for-word in this article!
For more inspiration, you can also take a look at some of the testimonials on my freelance writing website:
How to get client testimonials with a template email
Once you’ve written your testimonials, you can create the template email you’ll use to request them from your clients. Your goal here should be to make it as quick and easy as possible for your clients to sign off on the testimonials you’ve created.
Your email should do the following things:
- Remind your client of the work you did together.
- Thank them for the work.
- Ask if they would be willing to give you a testimonial.
- Offer a testimonial you’ve written yourself.
- Ask them to either sign off on the testimonial you’ve written or use it as inspiration for one of their own.
- Tell them where the testimonial will be used.
You want to accomplish all of these things in the briefest amount of time possible. Aim for no more than four 2-3 sentence paragraphs, including the testimonial you’re suggesting.
When it’s finished, your template email should read something like this:
Dear (Client), It was a pleasure working with you on (project). Thanks again for choosing to work with me. I've been wondering, are you willing to provide a testimonial for my website? Something along the lines of the quote below (I can even use this exact quote if you want): "(Blank) not only designed a beautiful website for us, they also trained our staff in WordPress management so we can update the site on our own." I would be deeply grateful if you sign off on this testimonial, or write one of your own. The testimonial will go on my website and may also be used in private emails with potential clients. Thank you for your time, (Blank) (Website) (Contact information)
Most clients will be happy to sign off on whatever you’ve sent them. The best clients will expand on those testimonials, writing a detailed account of how you helped them. Either way, this email template is how to get client testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts.
How to customize your request emails
When you’re learning how to get client testimonials, it’s important to remember that nobody likes to feel like a number. Templates may save time, but they also run the risk of alienating your clients. To avoid this, you should customize the template in a variety of ways when you send your testimonial request:
- Replace any instances of (client) with the person’s name.
- Replace (project) with the name of the project.
- Add one sentence about something you specifically enjoyed during your time working with the client.
- Switch the testimonial out for one that hasn’t been used before.
These small but powerful modifications to the template email will show your client that you’re thinking about them, not just your bottom line.
When to request a testimonial
The final piece of knowing how to get client testimonials is understanding when to request them. There are two ideal times to ask for a testimonial:
1. At the end of your time working together
If you’re working on a large, one-time project, the natural time to ask for a testimonial is when the project is complete. If this coincides with a company or product launch, you might want to wait until a week after the launch, when your client will be less stressed out.
2. After three months
Some clients want you to do ongoing maintenance, or to create content for their website and/or social media platforms. You might end up working with these people for a year or two, but you don’t want to wait that long for a testimonial, especially if they’re one of your first clients. Three months gives them time to get used to working with you and understand your value, and gets you a testimonial sooner rather than later so you can seek out new clients.
How to use client testimonials
Now that you understand how to get client testimonials, you need to understand what to do with them.
Here are a few ways you can use client testimonials to market your work:
1. Build case studies around them
Case studies use a combination of anecdotal evidence and statistical data to illustrate why something is or is not effective. Here at CodeinWP, we did an extensive case study on how we got the first 4,000 subscribers for our email list.
When one of your clients gives you an extended testimonial, you can use it as the basis for a case study showing how you helped them. We did this type of marketing case study here at CodeinWP back when the company first started and was mainly about “PSD to WordPress” services. The piece was done based on a testimonial from Sam Lloyd. You’ll note that in this instance, the testimonial was so detailed that we let it stand mostly on its own. You may want to add additional materials to flesh out what your client said in your own case study.
2. Display them on your website
There are a few different places you can display testimonials on your website:
- At the top and/or bottom of your “About” page
- On a separate “Testimonials” page
- On landing pages for specific products
- In the sidebar
- In the footer
You will probably want to place your best testimonials in more than one of these locations.
Don’t forget to include the client’s picture if you can. It makes the testimonial feel more real. Here’s an example from one of our editors:
3. Include them in proposals
Working on a new client proposal? Include a handful of testimonials to show your potential clients that you know what you’re doing. If you’re using a web design proposal template you can even include all your testimonials, then remove some before you send the proposal, keeping only the most relevant quotes for each client.
4. Turn them into visual content
Over on our social media blog, Revive.Social, we talk a lot about the power of social media graphic design. Images are more attention grabbing on both social media and your website, so use a program like Canva to turn your best testimonials into eye-catching graphics.
5. Post them on your social media
Whether you post them as a graphic or as a simple quote, posting your testimonials on social media can be a powerful motivator for people thinking about working with you. You can also tag your clients in these posts to increase their reach.
Final thoughts on how to get client testimonials
And once you’ve got a solid set of client testimonials, they can become some of the most powerful tools in your marketing strategy.
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