How to Get Client Testimonials to Grow Your Business

Social proof is one of the most powerful ways to showcase your expertise and convince potential customers to invest in your product or service. 

But getting testimonials from clients is not always easy. 

Have you ever agonized over a carefully worded testimonial request email only to get a generic response back (aka “everything was great!”)…

…or, even worse, nothing at all

The truth is, if you want to get high-quality testimonials, you need to figure out a high-quality way to ask for them. 

Not sure where to start? 

Here are 6 steps to creating a better testimonial collection system for your small business…

…including tips on collecting video testimonials!

How to Get Client Testimonials: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Figure Out the Best Time to Ask for a Testimonial

One of the best ways to create consistency in your testimonial collection process is to come up with a specific point during a project when you will send that testimonial request email. 

It’s important to find the golden mean between asking for a testimonial too early…

…and asking for a testimonial too late. 

Ideally, you should request a testimonial when your client is extremely happy with your work and it still feels new and exciting to them. 

Typically, this happens right after the project is over OR after your client has achieved some kind of an important goal, whether it’s getting more positive online reviews or increasing their sales page conversions. 

Take some time to figure out at which point in your project (and it may vary from project to project) the client’s excitement is at its peak…

…and make sure you ask for the testimonial then to maximize its potential! 

2. Create a Testimonial Form

Want to get glowing testimonials? 

Start with asking the right questions to avoid generic responses. 

Instead of simply asking your clients to write you a testimonial and getting something vague and general like “Jane was great! I recommend working with her!” in response…

…put together a questionnaire with guiding questions to get more thoughtful feedback. 

Some of the questions you can ask include:

  • What was going on in your life that made you want to work on this project with me? 
  • How did working with me make you feel? 
  • What’s your biggest win from working together? 
  • What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about working with me? 
  • What was your favorite part of the project? 

Then use the responses to these questions to write up a testimonial. 

You can organize and edit your clients’ responses for readability and flow…

…but remember to stay honest and don’t add in anything that your client didn’t actually say. 

Wondering how to get client video testimonials? 

Same idea. 

Give them relatively specific instructions on how long the video testimonial should be, what they should start and end with, and any things you’d like them to mention (such as if they’ve had any big wins since working with you). 

Ultimately, the easier you’ll make it for your clients to figure out what to say, the better testimonials you’ll get! 

3. Personalize Your Automations

Once you know when you’re going to be asking your clients for testimonials (see step #1!)…

…setting up automated emails is an efficient, hassle-free way to collect testimonials without spending a ton of time on it. 

As much as automations are an amazing business tool, it’s important to show your clients that you care about them by personalizing their experience. 

Client relationship management platforms like Dubsado are great for creating automations that feel personal and like they’re coming from a real person. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of client experience when it comes to collecting testimonials! 

4. Provide an Incentive

If you’re wondering how to get good testimonials from clients without having to ask for them five million times…

…offer them something in return for filling out your testimonial form! 

Here are some ideas of testimonial incentives that won’t break the bank: 

  • Gift card: Offer a gift card to a popular spot like Starbucks to clients who fill out your testimonial form. Who doesn’t like coffee?!
  • Mini-consult or service: Get creative and come up with a small complimentary offer. If you’re a copywriter, you could give a mini-audit of a piece of copy, such as a landing page or a blog post. If you’re a designer, you could deliver a free Instagram graphic. Whatever your industry is, think of something that wouldn’t take you a lot of time and effort…but would still provide value for your client!
  • Backlink to their website: Linking to your client’s website from your website can help THEM improve their SEO. When requesting a testimonial, explain that and mention that if they complete the feedback form, you will link to their website from on your testimonial page.  

Providing an incentive is great whether you want to collect written testimonials or video testimonials from customers. You could even use this strategy to start creating case studies! 

5. Don’t Forget to Follow Up

Even if you provide an incentive to fill out your testimonial form, sometimes people get busy and things fall through the cracks. 

If your past client seemed like they were happy with your work yet you heard *crickets* when you asked them to fill out their testimonial form…

…don’t be afraid to follow up! 

It’s not annoying and most of the time people appreciate a reminder. 

It’s a good practice to set up a reminder to follow up with clients if you haven’t heard from them a week or so after you send them your testimonial form. 

6. Develop a Functional Internal System

The key to getting great testimonials on autopilot is to create a solid internal testimonial collection system. 

How do you do that? 

Start with implementing all of the steps above. 

Some things you can do include: 

  • Sitting down and analyzing all of your different packages to figure out the perfect moment to ask for a testimonial for each of them. Asking for a testimonial on a retainer package is different from asking for a testimonial during a one-off project, so make sure you know when the testimonial request should happen for all of your products and/or services.
  • Creating a testimonial form. Don’t forget to ask for your client’s permission to share their responses on your website and social media!
  • Setting up automations. Write up your testimonial request email, the follow up emails, thank you email, and any other communications that you’ll need during your testimonial collection process. Then, integrate them into your workflows and automate what can be automated.
  • Create a testimonial running doc or folder. You need a place to keep all of your testimonials for easy access when you need them to update your website or use in your marketing campaigns. 

Once you have a step-by-step process, collecting testimonials will become second nature! 

Want to craft the perfect testimonial request emails but words are not your thing? 

Take this quiz to find out what kind of a storyteller you are and discover your secret marketing weapon! 

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Go ahead, treat yourself 

We created this piece to be a reminder that, no matter what we're doing: our words matter. We can’t live a meaningful life or run a successful business without positive words. And the words we use can make or break us. So, grab a piece and allow yourself to be inspired and reminded that...your words matter.


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