Get testimonials from old customers to get new customers.

by | Feb 3, 2016 | Business

When I work with clients, one of the things I push them hard to get is a set of really good testimonials.

It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses don’t collect them. But testimonials – authentic statements from satisfied customers that state specifically why your products or services are so outstanding – are an effective marketing tool that can help you get even more satisfied customers.

Testimonials from happy customers are really endorsements for your business. Part of your website’s duty is to tell visitors what you do, what you do well, and highlight the features and benefits you offer in ways that your competition doesn’t. But when someone – a client or a customer who has paid for your services or products – states clearly, in no uncertain terms that they are happy with you, and more importantly, that you helped them solve their problem, that is a great testimonial.

Great testimonials do great things for you. Like get you more great customers.

Before you ask, it’s important to know fully what makes a great testimonial.

“Mari’s great. You’ll love working with her!” ~ Happy client

Nice, but that one says pretty much nothing. Worse, the client didn’t want me to use her name.

You don’t need customers to write novels about you. But what you do need are a few things that point to your unique talents, and, that prove you deliver. A testimonial is most effective when it is:

  1. Specific – When I ask clients for a testimonial, I ask them to be as specific as possible about what they liked most about working with me, and what I helped them accomplish.
  2. Authentic – I never tell my clients what to write. I ask them to take the time to consider why they chose me over other designers they met, and how our collaboration was right for them.
  3. Relevant – When a customer talks about their particular situation, their particular industry, and how I found solutions they needed, it resonates with similar businesses. “Mari did this for XYZ company which is in the same industry. Let’s call her.” That happens a lot!
  4. Credible – I only use testimonials with clients’ names, title, and website. No ifs, ands or buts. I’ve seen testimonials from some dubious sources. Don’t use them.
  5. Has a great story – If possible, I try to get clients to write a few lines about their unique situation and how I helped them. Stories are powerful because people can relate to them. If someone wants to talk about their experience with you, let them. You’ll find a place for it on your site, and trust me, it will make a difference.

You’ve got a list of key ingredients for some great testimonials. Next: Go get ’em!

Ask. Ask for specific feedback. And set a deadline.

When I’ve completed a project, I always ask a client for a testimonial. First gently. I ask, “Would you mind giving me a testimonial? I’d like to put it on my site with your name, full title and a link back to you.” Most clients ask if I’m on a deadline and even encourage me to remind them to write it. The businesses I work with are busy, and sending a simple email reminder is an effective way of getting the testimonial.

So when I send the reminder email requesting the testimonial, I suggest answering a few questions about our collaboration. This way, I can get the client to write something that is specific about a problem they had that I helped them solve. To be clear, I never tell someone what to write nor do I offer to write it for them. I merely ask them what I most helped them achieve, and, to describe what it was like to work with me. Those two requests usually yield a nice long paragraph, sometimes more. And that is usually all that is necessary. 

So here’s a better testimonial, one that I can really point to with pride and gratitude. I asked Bob Maggiacomo, one of the partners at Synergy to write a testimonial after we finished their website. (The full version is on my Services page). But you see the difference, right?

 Mari definitely took the time to learn about and understand our industry and specific business – her level of expertise and detail allowed our site to transcend the typical “cookie-cutter” layout / design.  She really helped us to portray our firm in a way that accurately reflects our company culture, objectives and experience…
— Bob Maggiacomo, Partner, Synergy Advisors, LLC

Get Testimonials regularly

Great testimonials are a real ego and business booster! If you haven’t asked for one before, I understand that you might feel a bit anxious or even scared to ask for one. But remember this: you’ve done the best possible job for your customer. And you see how happy they are with your work or product. With that in mind, make the call and send the email. It’s quite possible your customers have been waiting to do this for you, too!

In addition to the testimonials, it’s important that they are as current as possible. When I was planning the redesign of my own site, I clicked on all of the links on all of my old pages and sadly, discovered that one of my clients closed her business down. She had a personal situation that consumed all of her time, and she simply forgot to tell me what had happened. The whole situation was beyond sad for me. I loved her products, loved working with her, and I was so proud of the work we did together. But it happens. So, check on your customers whenever you can. These things happen, so it’s a good idea to stay current. And also, to stay in touch with clients!

Mari Pfeiffer Profile image

About the author

I’m a writer and a web designer. I create one-of-a-kind websites for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I help my clients expand their audiences, get more customers and make mo’ money. Please subscribe to my monthly newsletter for industry news, writing and design tips and special offers.