I’m willing to bet you already know that client testimonials are one of the most powerful tools an entrepreneur can lean on in business.
Strong testimonials don’t just feel good…(although they definitely give all the warm fuzzies).
They can actually do good too.
Client testimonials have the potential to build trust and credibility with your audience and future clients.
A strong testimonial could be the difference between landing your ideal client and letting your next dreamy lead slip right through your fingers!
There’s no debating it:
Good testimonials are GOLD in business.
But did you know, your testimonials, even seemingly positive ones, can actually be useless instead of useful?
If you’ve ever received a testimonial that was too vague, you probably understand what I mean.
You know the ones I’m talking about…
They tend to go something like this:
“Working with this company was great! They really helped me take my project to the next level.”
Now, at first glance, this testimonial may seem positive. You might even be scratching your head wondering,
“What’s wrong with that, Erin?”
The problem is, while it’s positive feedback, it’s also very ambiguous.
Without any more context, it’s impossible to know what specific services the company provided, what the end result looked like, or how it impacted the client’s business or life.
If you choose to share this wishy-washy testimonial, potential clients might hesitate to invest in your services or buy your product because they can’t possibly know what to expect based on this well-meaning, but unhelpful testimonial.
It may not HURT directly, but it definitely doesn’t help either.
And unfortunately, it’s beyond awkward (hello unprofessional) to give notes and ask a client for a second draft of their testimonial.
Now take a moment to imagine a different outcome.
Imagine receiving THIS in your email inbox,
“This company completely transformed our outdated website into a modern, user-friendly platform that has increased our online sales by 50%.”
This testimonial not only tells your audience what service the client received (website design) but gives tangible, data-backed details that speak to what they appreciated about the transformation (before to after), the service, and how the end result positively impacted their business!
This is the kind of testimonial marketing professionals DREAM of!
Because the specific details clearly show what kind of results the company can deliver.
This type of detailed feedback is much more compelling and can help potential clients feel confident about investing in your service or product.
So how can YOU ensure that your clients give you the information your business really needs so you’re not kicking yourself wishing you didn’t blow a potentially AWESOME testimonial?
It all comes down to having a well-thought-out testimonial form, timing it justttt right, and putting it to good use in your marketing plan.
When you create a solid client testimonial form ahead of time, you’ll be able to easily gather valuable feedback from your clients that you can use to showcase your business’s expertise and success.
Pair that with strategic timing, and you have a recipe for high-quality client testimonials you’ll be eager to share with your audience!
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through 3 low-lift strategies to help you optimize your client testimonials and pull out the BEST information from your past clients so your future clients are lined up waiting to work with you!
The first way to level up the quality of your client testimonials is to create a form.
Nothing fancy here!
Testimonial forms offer so many benefits for both you and your clients!
They help you get better quality testimonials in a professional, organized way that makes the whole process so easy for your clients.
First, testimonial forms help you capture the information you’re looking for.
Rather than giving your clients a general prompt and hoping they say the right things, a form is a simple way to guide your clients so that they share relevant, specific information about their experience working with you.
Consider pulling out key pieces of their client experience from start to finish that highlight the features and benefits of your product or service.
I love including open-ended questions like:
These kinds of sentence starters help your clients focus on the parts of their client experience that will resonate most with potential clients in your audience.
These prompts invite STORYTELLING which is one of the best marketing strategies out there because it fosters connection and shares information in an engaging, memorable way!
Second, if you have a form handy you’ll never hesitate to ask for a testimonial again because you’ll be prepared!
You’d be amazed how often business owners DON’T ask for feedback at all simply because they haven’t taken the time to create the right system in advance!
Sharing a pre-created form is quick and easy and makes you look like you have your act together (because you do)!
Plus, testimonial forms make the process uber easy for your clients! You can include short and long-form answer responses as well as numbered ratings.
Finally, forms make it easy for you to collect, organize, and use this information in the future since it is all stored in one place. I love using Google Forms but many of my clients also enjoy using Typeform.
Another option is to build this out in your CRM (Client Relationship Manager) if you have one like Honeybok or Dubsado. That way it’s quick and easy to send and it stays organized with all the important details of the project, your client, and their history working with you.
COO Tip: Want to learn more about exactly what to include in your client testimonial form? Click here to read my blog, “5 Steps To Powerful Client Testimonials.”
THIS is the BIGGEST mistake I see entrepreneurs make ALL the time!
And, I’ll be honest, it drives me a bit loopy!
Waiting to ask for the testimonial!
It’s like leaving money on the table–
Especially if you’re a service-based business and work with clients long-term!
The 2 best times to ask for a client testimonial?
Let’s explore both!
The first best time is right after a big win or breakthrough.
Instead of waiting until the very end of a project (when your client is likely checked out, less responsive, and moving on), ask DURING your work together.
Taking the time to request a testimonial immediately after a successful milestone will ensure that the feedback is:
Plus, you’re SO much more likely to actually get the testimonial while you’re still working together instead of after when their to-do list items float to the top and you become less and less of a priority on their radar!
Sometimes you don’t need to wait until a big win to request feedback. Sometimes it’s about capturing those first impressions!
Often the best testimonials come after you reveal the deliverable or product to a client.
Instead of waiting, when you ask for a testimonial right after a big reveal, you get to tap into those positive emotions in real-time.
When you do this, your clients are much more likely to share specific, authentic, impactful testimonials while the experience and emotions are fresh in their minds.
Because your clients still feel emotionally invested, the testimonials you receive after a big reveal will almost always be your best!
Now, there are certainly times when you may want to hold off on a testimonial so that the true impact of your work can be experienced.
For example, if you’re a web designer you’ll want to see how traffic and conversion rates improve over time so that you can get an accurate picture of the long-term impact your work has had on the business.
But even in these scenarios, I encourage you to ask for testimonials strategically throughout your customer journey (yes, you can ask more than once for the same project if framed properly).
If you didn’t ask during a big win or a big reveal, there’s still a third option!
This is for you if you’ve found yourself down to the wire and realize you did in fact wait until the end of a project.
Don’t sweat it.
You still have options!
Here’s what I recommend all of my clients do!
2-3 days before your project’s about to close, reach out with your testimonial form! I highly suggest doing this while you still have unfinished business. For example, ahead of your last meeting or before you hand over the final deliverable.
Because as soon as the contract is closed, the product is delivered, or the service is rendered, you’re out of sight and out of mind.
Even the most well-intentioned client is way less likely to complete your testimonial form once your project is done simply because people are busy and life gets in the way!
Moral of the story?
Finally, it’s time to put those testimonials to work!
This is the most important part because, let’s be honest, if you don’t strategically share your testimonials what good are they doing hanging out in an abandoned Google folder?
My best advice when using your testimonials to market your creative brand?
Use your clients’ REAL words!
What I mean by this is it’s important that you don’t overly massage their responses!
I know it may be tempting to paraphrase or use industry-specific jargon. But using their ACTUAL words, unfiltered, is often the most potent way to connect to your audience and ideal clients!
That’s because your ideal past and future clients often speak the same language!
And usually the less polished your testimonials are the better because your clients’ experiences will come across as more genuine and REAL!
The best testimonials are not just specific, they’re also emotional, raw, heartfelt, and authentic.
COO Tip: Some clients may genuinely have trouble putting words together in a way that flows. Good news is: you can help! How you structure your testimonial form and the way you ask questions can make all the difference! Don’t be afraid to combine their answers, Mad Lib style, into a compelling testimonial. Just make sure you have them sign off on it before sharing!
Now it’s your turn to start collecting and sharing those RAVING client testimonials for your creative business.
No worries, here are the Spark Notes!
You can treat this like a checklist:
Try it out and let me know how it goes! My door is always open!
And if you need more inspiration click here to email me the word FREEBIE and I’ll personally send you the EXACT client testimonial form I use with my clients!