How to Get and Use Powerful Client Testimonials on Your Website
I can’t stress enough the importance of having solid testimonials for your website, yet even my most confident and outgoing clients still get shy when the time comes for them to request testimonials from their clients.
In the fields of coaching, consulting, intuitive guidance and energy healing, credentials and certifications can be important, but are not always a part of the equation. When I choose practitioners and service providers, even if they have a train of letters after their names, I still want to know what it’s like to work with them and what results I can expect from working with them.
Their clients’ testimonials should tell me these two very important things.
So, what are best practices in getting great testimonials?
1. Make it EASY for your clients.
You’ve finished delivering a program or course and see that your clients are happy and excited about what they have learned/gained/experienced. You ask them, “If you feel called, would you mind sending a brief testimonial of your experience working with me?” And you get a lot of enthusiastic yeses and of courses, but then wait by your inbox for responses that never come. (Except the vague one-liner that says, “I loved working with her and would recommend her to anyone!”)
Chances are, they just got busy and when it came down to writing a testimonial for you, they were staring at a blank screen and easily got distracted, tired, etc.
In other words, don’t take it personally. There IS a better way to request testimonials where you will get better responses and you will get them much faster.
Too often I see testimonials that are just singing the praises of someone–which is great and quite flattering–but beyond having someone you enjoy working with, you also want results from that work. And you want to see that others have gone on a journey from where you are now, to actually getting results that you want to get.
People tend to respond really well to focused questions. There are three questions I recommend you ask your clients in order to generate a testimonial that not only conveys how great it is to work with you, but also what results come from working with you:
1. What was your life/business/etc. like before working with [name of coach/consultant/practitioner]?
2. Please describe your experience working with [name of coach/consultant/practitioner].
3. How did your life/business/etc. change as a result of working with [name of coach/consultant/practitioner]?
The answers to these questions will generate a powerful testimonial that will show a progression from their problem to your solution.
2. Strike while the iron is hot!
If you’re doing great work–and I know you are!–your clients will spontaneously compliment you. Whether it comes in a Facebook comment, in an email, or on the phone, take the opportunity as soon as they deliver that juicy compliment to A. graciously thank them, and then, B. ask if you could possibly use their wonderful words on your testimonials page.
I have never experienced anyone saying “no” to this request.
3. Provide examples.
If you already have a dedicated testimonials page, you can direct your clients to it so they can see examples of testimonials to guide them in writing theirs. Your clients may not be the most confident writers, so having an example to go by can eliminate any “blank screen anxiety.”
Now that you have some glowing testimonials, what are best practices in using them on your website?
1. Use a headshot, their first and last name, and link back to their website.
In some cases, anonymity is appropriate or even required, depending on the type of services you provide. But if your client is willing to provide a recent head shot and allow you to use their full name, you have even more credibility and authenticity with that testimonial. If they have a website, you may want to provide a link to it in the testimonial byline. (They will appreciate the potential traffic to their site.)
2. Place testimonials strategically throughout your website.
I recommend that you have a dedicated testimonials page, but you can also use snippets for added social proof on other pages of your website, such as the home page (pick out your very best ones) and your Services or Work With Me page, where you have one powerful testimonial relevant to each type of service you provide. You may also want to use sidebars to place testimonials, although these won’t be as effective on mobile devices as they will be stacked underneath the main body of the page.
If you use testimonial rotators, it’s best to keep the length of each slide to a brief snippet, perhaps with a link to the whole testimonial. Also, keep the length of each snippet around the same number of characters; depending on the plugin you use, you could end up with content getting bumped up and down on the page with each rotation.
3. Make your testimonials EASY to read.
Most of your site visitors are skimmers or scanners, so you would be wise to use the formatting of your testimonials to “instruct” them where the most important bits are as they scroll down the page. You can do this in two ways: 1) Pull out one key phrase or sentence and use it as a heading at the top, and/or 2) Bold/italicize key points in the body of the testimonial.
You can see examples of this formatting on my testimonials page.
I hope I have emboldened you to go out and get those testimonials for your excellent work! Even if you are a bit shy, remember, the worst thing that can happen is that you don’t hear back. You may even need to send one gentle reminder (and if you still don’t hear back after one reminder, then simply move on).
Got any surefire testimonial gathering methods? Let us know in the comments!