You’ve worked hard to bring in clients who are buying your products or services and at some point you need to validate that relationship with a testimonial. It can be hard to ask for a review or a testimonial of your work, but it’s worth asking for it as it demonstrates social proof to others. Are you following up and getting proof that your business is valued? That your work has been valued? We’ve included some proven strategies below to successfully get a testimonial from your clients that reflects well on you and your business.
If you’re in an industry where referrals are expected or encouraged, often the first thing someone will do is look at what others have said about you. There is a need to justify the reason why you’ve been recommended and having testimonials helps others to make decisions about you and your business.
What is a testimonial?
A testimonial is a statement from a customer of how your product or service has helped them. They are an honest summary of how you delivered with them, outlaying what you did and what impact it had. A testimonial confirms to others that your business is as expected, it’s a testimony to how well you have achieved your goals with your customers.
A testimonial is similar to a review, although a testimonial will be a well thought out critique of business whereas a review is more of a snapshot of a user’s experience, often posted on third-party sites and outside of your control. You’ll also notice reviews have ratings (stars) whereas testimonials do not.
A testimonial is usually longer than a review, and often involve an interaction between yourself and your customer about where, when and how a testimonial will be used. They often appear on websites, brochures and marketing materials.
When should you ask for a testimonial?
It’s best to ask for a testimonial at the conclusion of your business with a client, or once a project has completed, if you have a long-term relationship with a client. If a piece of work has gone exceptionally well, you may also want to request a testimonial then, although bear in mind you may only want to ask one or two times as it is a commitment from someone to provide one to you.
If your work did not end well, or you had a lot of issues along the way, is it going to be helpful to ask for a testimonial? Think about what the goal is from this client and what their feedback may be to you from the work you’ve done together. You don’t always have to ask for one from every client – it can be helpful to be selective as it may also prompt clients to ask to provide you with one, if you don’t.
How should you ask for a testimonial?
Depending on how busy your client is will dictate what approach to have. This is a low-priority and clients will treat it as such, but for you is something you really want so you need to find the balance between this.
Often, clients are happy to receive a draft of a testimonial from you to review. Don’t be afraid to write what you think is an appropriate testimonial to be signed off. They will tell you very quickly if you’re on the mark or not! Make it glowing but reflective of what was achieved by the client working with you. If you’re a bit stuck of how to express what the client may way, look at their own testimonials to see how they are express and take some feedback and keywords from those.
Always use positive language – this is about how well you did. If a client writes a neutral or negative testimonial, it’s helpful to go back and discuss why they said this if you feel it doesn’t reflect from your own experiences of the work. Because you control what happens with a testimonial means it won’t be made public unless you say so.
What should you ask for with a testimonial?
Remember to always request their name, title, company and website they wish to use. Also ask for a photograph to use as part of the testimonial. They can then control how you convey their information. Never assume you know those details and if you can, send a draft image or write up back to them showing exactly what you plan to publish.
If the person enjoys doing videos, they may be happy to do a video testimonial for you, but you have less control over how it looks so be aware you may want to use some text from the person as well as the video.
It would help to prompt them of what you want them to say. Did you improve something for them? Did you build something? What were the critical points of success that you achieved? What were the goals of the work that you can promote? When you ask for a testimonial, give them some reminders of what you achieved together.
Ideas of different ways of collecting testimonials
Blue Ninja love automating and structuring a good process to do this. As part of your exit or offboarding process for clients, it should be front and centre in those steps. The key is asking for it in a timely manner, and having prompts to make sure you get it.
We don’t recommend you badger your clients, that may have a negative reaction to what you are trying to do. We recommend following up a week after the initial request is sent, then a month later with a text or call to check in with them. If they say they will send it to you by a date (and try to prompt them for a date to send) then a gentle reminder the day after that date should help to get it submitted.
Idea 1: email the request
Keep a template to hand that you can email out to your client.
We have really enjoyed working with you and would very much appreciate if you could submit a testimonial for us.
It can be a big decision bringing in external support and we appreciate you did not make this decision lightly. We hope you will provide a testimonial in order for other businesses to know how we can support.
Click the submit button below to be taken to a submission page. We ask that you submit your name, your email, the testimonial and a photo/headshot of you.
Please include as much or as little information as you wish. You can see some of our other testimonials here.
If you would prefer to submit your testimonial via email, or your photo is too big to send via the online form, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance for your help, and we hope to continue our business relationship with you.
BUTTON: Submit a Testimonial
Idea 2: Add a button to your emails
A button in your email signature will make it convenient for clients to click on it at their leisure. If you are speaking with them you could refer them to the Submit a Testimonial button in your signature easily which could then link to your email with a mailto: or a page to complete a testimonial.
Idea 3: Automate your system to send out testimonial when a trigger prompts it
The automation displayed below is developed using Active Campaign and the trigger is Tag Testimonial request is added to a user record.
Idea 4: Write a testimonial yourself and send for sign off
Preparing a testimonial draft in advance is where most testimonials get actioned. If your clients are particularly busy, or they don’t seem to be responsive, write out a draft testimonial for them to review, edit and sign off. You should be positive and glowing in your testimonial, but always stick to the facts of delivery and the truth of your relationship.
Example of a good testimonial
This testimonial is one Blue Ninja received last month from our supplier after 3 months of support. We had time to work with Minite, get to know them and make sure they were delivering, and we were happy to sign off the provided testimonial with a slight revision. It was to the point of our experience, was truthful and put them in a positive light without being boastful. We provided a photo taken with our high-flyer Dheeraj at an event so the picture was also relative to the experience. The sentence we removed from the testimonial we believed did not add or reflect who we are – there was no issue and it does not appear in the final testimonial published.
The testimonial was posted on LinkedIn and we were tagged and appropriately acknowledged.
Our experience with Minite is excellent: we couldn’t have asked for more. We needed marketing support: a skill we don’t have in-house. The opportunity to take on a flexible resource with the right skills is attractive, like “try before you buy”. ( People can write great CVs and profiles but actually not be capable.) At Minite, all High-Flyers are vetted. So rather than hiring a stranger, Minite provides a comfort blanket. We’re so happy with our High-Flyer Dheeraj who really knows what he’s doing. He’s done lots of analyses and brought in new ideas. He’s taking on new tasks by the week. I’ll never go back to an intern anymore. With Minite, we’re saving time and getting value from the money that we spend!
What was published
Getting your testimonial out to the world
The branding of the testimonial is in line with the company. Make sure you brand your testimonial accordingly, checking you have permission to use any photos or logos. If in doubt, send a copy to the client showing them the final testimonial and a link to a webpage if you have added it to your website. You could convert a testimonial into a story or elaborate in a case study with the testimonial confirmation of the delivery.
Use your testimonials on your website. We have a dedicated testimonial page to add new ones as they come in – https://blueninja.eu/testimonials/. We have a plugin called Strong Testimonials that allows us to add testimonials to a list and with a piece of shortcode it populates the testimonials page as new testimonials are added.
We then develop these into designs which are posted on our social media, cutting down the testimonial slightly if it’s too long (and long testimonials are great to receive!).
However you ask for a testimonial, it’s a great way of building social proof, demonstrating you know your stuff and validating your work with your clients.