Digital Marketing

11 Steps to Great Customer Testimonials

I’m in the process of collecting customer testimonials to use on my website and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned in the process.  For work at home mom businesses, collecting a range of business testimonials are particularly important as they give your business well-needed credibility.


The Importance of Great Customer Testimonials

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply sending an email to a client and asking, “If you were happy with my work, can you please write me a testimonial?”.  This basic request tends to get you a lot of “It was great”, “I loved working with you” and “Really wonderful person” type of testimonials.  You might feel good when you read them, however future clients don’t see value in these kinds of comments.

The point behind including customer testimonials on your website is to provide social proof for potential clients who are checking you out.  Here’s where the need for value comes in – the potential client needs to see specifics about the benefits of your services. This way they know if you are a good fit for them.  If they can see that you achieved XYZ for one client, they can see that you could achieve XYZ for them too. This gives them the comfort that you and your services are worth investing their money in.

Tips to Collect Great Business Testimonials

So how do you collect a database of top quality website testimonials? Here’s our top 11 tips to collecting great business testimonials to use on your website:

1.  Ask for the testimonial very soon after the purchase. Obviously they need time to see and test the product or service, however don’t leave it too long.  Memory dims quickly, the best testimonials are written while the service and product is fresh in the customers mind.

2.  Get permission to use the testimonial on your website and marketing materials. If you are going to quote a client then you must have permission to use it on your site, brochures and anywhere else.

3.  Ask for permission to use the client’s name and contact details. This gives great credibility because it’s obvious that you haven’t simply made up the testimonial.  Sometimes a client will request anonymity, in which case you need to respect that and can simply state “Name withheld by request”.

4.  Be specific in what you are asking for in the testimonial. There are three main points that you want to cover:

4.1  Why they came to you in the first place.  What problem were they looking to resolve?

4.2  What precisely you did for/with them.  Or what did they buy that fixed their problem?

4.3  What were the results from working with you?

5.  Don’t go for long-winded testimonials. A couple of sentences is plenty long enough.  Most people skim read on the web and sales brochures, so the shorter and easier to read the better.

6.  Offer to write the testimonial for them if they are having trouble. Ask for a couple of dot points from the client and craft the points into a short testimonial.  You then need to send it back to the client for editing and final approval.

7.  Try and get a range of testimonials about the different products and services you offer. Instead of having ten testimonials about one particular product and none relating to your other services, seek a range of testimonials.  It may help if you request a testimonial specifically relating to a particular service when you contact the client to ask for a testimonial.

8.  Always be continually collecting testimonials. Never stop collecting.  People like to see recent testimonials, and they like to see different testimonials.  It shows that you are currently working effectively with clients and will increase the potential client’s confidence in you.

9.  Set up a system for collecting testimonials. Instead of being like me and requesting them long after the fact, a system that reminds you and ensures you keep up to date with your testimonials will make it a lot easier.  It’s also a lot easier for the client.  Maybe a specific time each week to email clients would work for you.  Maybe an automatic email sent out a week after a purchase is easy for you to set up.  Find a system that works for you and is easy to maintain.

10.  Have a standard template for requesting emails. Rather than writing a new email each time, write one in Word or a similar program and save it.  You can either use it as is, just altering the customer’s name and details, or tweak it more for each client.

11.  Thank the person for sending a testimonial. They’re doing you a favour and it’s wonderful to be acknowledged for the time and thought that went into it.

Melinda Jameson

Melinda is the founder of and started this site to share her best work from home ideas to help other Work At Home Mums become more financially independent and able to spend time with their families.

9 thoughts on “11 Steps to Great Customer Testimonials

  • @ Kelly, hey, great to see you over here! Great points you’ve made there Kelly, I actually meant to include the one about specific numbers – I had to reread it and realised I hadn’t.

  • Melinda,

    I happen to be in the midst of crafting a sales page for a client where I’m sprinkling in a few testimonials and all I’ve been doing is thinking about what the perfect one looks like, so you’ve dug right into my current obsession!

    I agree with all your points. I’d add to the “results” question, ask for numbers whenever possible. Whether it’s “increased readers,” “increased sales,” or “organized me so I had more time in my day,” etc., all those will be far more convincing with real numbers in them—by 30%, by $1,500 a month, I found an extra 90 minutes to spend with my family…

    Also, using a client’s industry in their signature, such as:
    “I really loved your fast response and awesome advice, Kelly. My business tripled overnight!”
    —Melinda, small business coach, author of WAHM Biz Builder

    is useful for two reasons.

    One, future clients, reading the page, are always trying to see themselves in your past clients, and seeing people in fields like theirs work with you helps them convince themselves you’re the person for them.

    Two, if you word their occupation well, it can help when someone types into a search engine, for instance, “Experience Designer” “small business coach.” “Help I need” plus “my field” is a very common way that new customers will try to find you, and every little push counts!

    Try for short ones. Good advice—I wish my client had done that. As I go tearing through the stack I’ve decided I’m going to be pulling out the ellipsis (…) to skip half the high praise and get to the point!

    Thanks for this timely post!


    .-= Kelly´s last post…MCE Round Table: To Grow Your Business You’ve Got to Get Closer. Closer… =-.

  • @ Marc, Systemise is the British (and therefore Australian) word, and Systematize is the American version.

    @ Shannon, Glad you liked the article! 🙂

  • Thank you, Melinda. We regularly feature testimonials on our website homepage. This is great advice on how to get exactly what we’re looking for when someone approaches us with a success story. I’m bookmarking your article for future reference by our team.

  • Systemise does look and sound right but my spell checker said it was systematise. I kind of like it, has a sci-fi ring to it.

    Anyway, the reason I asked was that I only have one testimonial! It’s a good one but as I said just having one looks just as bad as not having any.

    Time to bust out some emails
    .-= Marc – WelshScribe´s last blog ..Weekend Reading | Link Love Friday =-.

  • Marc, ‘Systemise’ is the correct word, you’re close! I systemise everything I possibly can. The less I have to think about and remember the better!

    I honestly don’t know the answer to your question about how many. My opinion is that I’d wait until I had at least a couple as a single testimonial would look strange. I’ll have to look into that, thanks for asking! 🙂

  • Great list Mel and a very catchy title to boot 🙂

    Of all the things I’ve looked at implementing a system for it didn’t even occur to me to systematise (is that a word?) testimonial gathering.

    When it comes to social proof I’ve found low numbers to be just as off-putting as zero numbers, have you noticed the same thing? Would you suggest waiting until you get a half dozen or so testimonials before publishing them or is one or two enough to get started with?
    .-= Marc – WelshScribe´s last blog ..3 Powerful Yet Simple Ways to Customise Frugal =-.

  • Cindy, it’s kind of a catch 22 isn’t it – you need the testimonials to get the business and need the business to get the testimonials! Firstly, testimonials aren’t absolutely essential to a sales page. They certainly do add value and social proof to beef up the page, however you can still write a sales page without them.

    In the beginning stages I’d suggest again to keep up with requesting testimonials. Maybe offer some products for free to selected people in exchange for a testimonial? Be very clear up front that you are offering them the free product with the expectation that they will trial it and then write you a testimonial.

    Does that help?

  • These are great tips for ongoing testimonial collection efforts, but what can you tell us about getting those all important first testimonials? You know, when you’ve sold one thing (or none) but still need the testimonials to help beef up your sales page?

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