Getting client testimonials can be a powerful sales tool that helps you connect with your ideal clients and customers. If you are struggling to get more customers, consider putting some attention on the clients you have. How can you use their success to produce excellent case studies that will grab your audience's attention? I am here today to share some tips and tricks that will help you get better case studies.
What Is A Client Testimonial?
A client testimonial is the story of your client and their time working with you. Whether you are a freelancer, coach, course instructor, etc., testimonials can help your business grow. Client testimonials can come in different shapes, but the underlying hope is that they help you attract better customers. Your potential clients want to know more about the results you've achieved for your current and past clients. Testimonials can tell that story.
Why Should You Get Client Testimonials?
Before we get too far down the rabbit hole, I realize that you might need some convincing. Investing in case studies isn't cheap or easy. It takes a lot of time building trust with your clients and then telling the story of how you helped them. What's the point of it all? Here are some excellent stats to help you with your decision.
- Reading a customer review can make customers 71% more comfortable purchasing a product.
- 91% of consumers age 18-34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from their friends and family.
- According to TrustPilot, 89% of consumers consult reviews before making a purchase.
- Consumers want you to guide them to positive reviews. In fact, 72% of consumers will only act once they've read a positive review.
- Most consumers (73%) only need six or fewer reviews of a product to make a decision. You can be lean on reviews and still win customers, but you've got to be smart about it.
If you aren't putting time and energy into gathering testimonials for your business, you leave money on the table. Getting testimonials is simple enough, so you need to add this to your agenda no matter what you sell.
Types Of Client Testimonials
Customer stories come in all shapes and sizes. I wanted to cover a few different ideas for you. Your business might settle on using one distinct type of testimonial (or a variety of them.) Either way, they need to be on your radar.
One of the most commonly used types of testimonials is the quick quote. You might ask your client to send over a paragraph about working with you along with a headshot. This type of testimonial requires the lowest lift for your clients, so it's a great place to start.
Quick quotes need structure and a story. What did they struggle with before hiring you? Why did they pick you? What have their results been like since hiring you or using your product? Would they recommend you to others in their industry? Since you only have a paragraph, make sure that you direct your client to get the best use out of that paragraph.
Case studies require a bit more lift on your client. You might ask them to sit down and chat with you for about 20-30 minutes. From there, you'll probably want a few images (like logos, headshots, and even some images from their workplace) to make the case study stand out. Case study interviews are fun, and they allow you to get to know your client and dig a bit deeper. If your client loves to talk but they aren't great at writing things down, this is a great opportunity to get more out of them.
Case studies take a bit more preparation on your side too. You'll want to ask some in-depth questions (that you should definitely prepare beforehand.) I would say that you should lean on having more questions than you think you need. Even if you don't get to every single question, you'll have a much clearer picture by being overprepared. During the interview, take off your talking hat and put on your active listening hat. It can be easy to want to scoot to the next question but don't be afraid to sit with a concept for a while. I've gotten some of my best case study quotes when I probed and asked for more details.
If your clients are great in front of the camera, consider asking for a video testimonial. Most video testimonials are short, sweet, and to the point. You can ask your clients to record a quick video on their phones (make sure you get it in landscape mode, not portrait.) From there, you can upload the testimonial to a site like YouTube or Vimeo so you can embed it on your website. You can also share the video directly on social media.
Getting clients to agree to a video testimonial is pretty amazing. Potential clients will see that you are an amazing business leader since you got someone to film a video for you. It might be a challenge to get someone to film a video as a freelancer. If you are a coach, course creator, or commerce owner, I'd definitely ask your customers to get in front of the camera.
How To Get Better Client Testimonials
Now that you know all the high-level client testimonial details, let's talk about how to get better testimonials.
Pick What Type Of Testimonial You Want
First, you'll want to pick the type of testimonial you want. Direction for a case study is going to look different from a video.
How do you pick the type of testimonial to go after? Check out other people in your industry. What kind of testimonials guide their website and social presence? For example, most freelancers will probably fair fine with written quick quotes. Course creators might want to jump on the video testimonial train instead.
Do your research to find what makes the most sense, but don't be afraid to think outside the box. If everyone around you is doing written testimonials, you might stand out by getting clients to film videos.
Once you know what you want, you can move on to the next step.
Connect With A Client Who Knows Your Work
Next, you'll want to connect with a client who knows your work and can help you with the type of testimonial you want.
If you picked a written testimonial, for example, you'll probably want someone who is good with words. Some clients struggle to get their thoughts on paper, and you probably know who those people are. These are the clients who will stall this process for you and make it more challenging to get those written testimonials. If someone has a challenge getting things out of their own heads, you'll probably want to lead the creation of that testimonial with a case study.
Here are some things to consider as you decide who to ask for a client testimonial:
- How long have they been working for you? Clients don't need to work with you for years, but you probably don't want someone who has been working with you for a day.
- Are they generally happy with your work? You'll want to take some time to consider if they seem happy with your output. You can generally tell by how they communicate with you and if they share any praise with you.
- Did they have great results you want to highlight? If you've helped a client drastically improve their SEO or a course student has had tons of progress, highlight that!
- Do they have a recognizable name? Would your potential customers immediately recognize the name of your current customer? Do your best to please those customers so you can add a testimonial from them to your website.
Provide Detailed Instructions On The Testimonial You Want
Once you get a yes from a client, you'll want to provide detailed instructions on the testimonial you want. Many of your clients may not be used to providing the type of feedback you want in your case study. Giving them clear instructions gives you the opportunity to guide them and get the best testimonial from them.
- Share exactly how you want the testimonial to look.
- If you are requesting a video, make sure they know what to put in it and how to create the video in landscape mode.
- If it's a text testimonial, make sure they get you a headshot and at least a paragraph of text.
- Case studies need prompting too. Make sure they are prepared and know the time and date of your call.
- Give them a list of questions to talk about during the video or when they are writing the testimonial.
- What it was like before working with you.
- What results they've seen since working with you.
- If they would recommend you to other colleagues in their same situation.
- If you're going to be conducting a case study, send the questions ahead of time.
- If you have a testimonial you love, give them a link to the testimonial or a screenshot of it.
- They can use this as a jumping point when crafting your testimonial.
Set Up A Time To Chat (If You Are Doing A Case Study)
If you are doing a case study, you need to set up a time to chat with your client. You'll want to devote at least 20 minutes to this call. Even if you end the call early, you'll want enough time blocked to be able to ask your initial questions and follow-ups based on what they share with you.
I have the most experience with Calendly, so I'm going to talk about that experience. Calendly removes a lot of the scheduling headaches that come with juggling two calendars. You can include all of the open slots on your calendar (Calendly even integrates with your central calendar so you are never overbooking yourself.)
Once all of your slots are listed, you send your Calendly link to the parties interested in setting up a meeting with you. From there, they can pick the time that meshes with their schedule. Depending on your plan, Calendly even connects with apps like Zoom to send the meeting link and reminders for you.
Using a calendar management system like Calendly creates the best experience for you and your clients. Setting up a time to chat shouldn't take you hours or huge back and forth email chains.
Add A Deadline To Getting Testimonials (If It's On The Client)
Clients and customers are BUSY. If you don't give them a deadline, it will probably float to the bottom of their to-do list. Give them a reasonable deadline (so, not the next day) to film their video or get you their written testimonial. Written testimonials will probably take far less time than filming a video, so keep that in mind.
If the deadline has passed and they didn't get your testimonial to you, do a gentle follow-up every so often until they do. Chances are the deadline will work, but follow-up doesn't hurt.
Edit And Add The Testimonial To Your Website
Once you have the testimonial, edit it, and add it to your website. You might have a testimonials page or just a part of your home page/work with me page. Wherever you add testimonials, make sure that your new testimonial gets added there.
Overall, you want to make sure that your site speaks to who you are and what you want your potential clients to know. If a current testimonial doesn't add to that, you don't have to put it on your site (or you can just pull snippets from it.) You can always use it for a quick social post if it doesn't meet your needs right now.
Overall, you should be refreshing your site with new testimonials or rotating them out every once in a while until you are happy with the testimonials featured on your site. I suggest that you keep a master testimonial spreadsheet to keep up with any that aren't on your website. You might need them later.
Editing A Case Study
Editing a case study can be a challenge. I encourage you to record your case study call, and then upload it to a site like Rev. I use Rev at my day job when conducting case study interviews. It's such a great investment, and it saves me hours!
After I go through my Rev transcript, I like to highlight anything that stands out as a great quote. I would create a template or get a case study template from Creative Market. Once you get comfortable using a template, writing the case study is a no-brainer.
Continue To Utilize The Testimonial In Your Sales Material
Once you get testimonials, make sure that you are utilizing them during the sales process. Testimonials are great on your website, but you can also send them directly to your prospects. Here are a few ideas on how to utilize testimonials in your sales material:
- Add testimonials to your cold pitches and prospect emails.
- Use testimonials as social media content.
- Update your pitch decks with fresh testimonials.
- Use testimonials on your sales pages.
Rinse And Repeat
Once you've gone through this process with one testimonial, rinse and repeat with other clients. Getting testimonials should be a regular part of your process as you scale your business.
You might want to find ways to streamline the process (like creating a form you can send out to all clients.) Whatever you do, though, keep getting your clients to speak about their experience with you.
The art of self-promotion is important. Once you understand how you impact your clients, you will attract more clients, and move past any self-rejection you might be facing.
Client Testimonial Examples
Now that you know how to get client testimonials, let's cover a few testimonial examples to get your creative juices flowing. Here are five of my favorite customer success story examples.
Jasmine Williams Freelancing Testimonials
Jasmine's testimonials that she features on her home page are probably the most simplistic testimonials that I will be sharing. She has a great mix of interesting people highlighted on her site. As you are scrolling down her page, she gives the clients she's worked with time to share their thoughts. She also bolds words to draw her audience's eyes to things she wants to be known for as a freelancer.
Testimonials should definitely play a prominent role on your website's home page. Your audience is most likely to land there, and you want to give them something to look at when they do.
Related Listening: Content Strategy And Building Testimonials With Jasmine Williams via The Ambitious Freelancer
Mindful Productivity Blog Course Student Results
One of my favorite bloggers, podcasters, and course creators is Sarah Steckler of Mindful Productivity Blog. When she redesigned her website in 2020, she created a beautiful student results section. If you are a course creator, this is a wonderful way to showcase who you help.
At the end of her Publish With Purpose rounds, Sarah asks students to fill out a testimonial form. From there, she uses those testimonials on:
- Blog posts
- Sales pages
- Social media
She even invites some of her course students on her podcast, the Mindful Productivity Podcast.
Related Listening: Content Creation, Productivity, And Self-Publishing With Sarah Steckler via The Ambitious Freelancer
Sarah even created the Publish A Planner website for her signature course, Publish With Purpose that gives even more testimonials and videos from her clients. If you have a signature program, create a space that helps you delve into the wins you've helped your students accomplish.
Maya Elious Success Stories
One of my favorite examples of utilizing videos and written testimonials is Maya Elious' success stories page. Maya Elious is a personal brand strategist that helps women all over the globe master their message and make an impact on the world. Her testimonials or success stories page gives you so much insight into what it's like to work with her.
She uses a mix of simple paragraph testimonials (with beautiful images of her clients) and videos of her clients. As you scroll down the page, you can picture yourself as one of her many students/clients.
She wraps everything up with a nice call-to-action that makes you want to click (especially if you've spent time getting to know her clients.) After you get to know her and what she does through the testimonials, her CTA button is a natural next step.
Arkansas Children's Hospital Patient Stories
The next example I want to showcase is Arkansas Children's Hospital's patient stories. Arkansas Children's Hospital is a pediatric hospital with a nonprofit foundation that helps the hundreds of thousands of patients the hospital sees every year. Their patient stories section is a wonderful way to connect their donors to those they serve year-round.
Each patient story has its own blog post. You can go in-depth and understand the types of patients that Arkansas Children's Hospital serves. If you donate to this hospital regularly, these are definitely the types of updates you'd want to get from the organization you donate to.
Hubspot Case Studies
Last but not least, let's take a look at something a bit more corporate. Hubspot has a beautiful case studies page where they highlight their users. It is worth noting that Hubspot has a LOT of bandwidth that most freelancers, course creators, and companies don't have. You might not be able to get their logos, but you can still create some fantastic case studies using their content as a model.
Conclusion: Client Testimonials Are Essential For Your Business
Creating client testimonials doesn't have to be challenging. With today's guide, you should be able to create case studies that will blow potential clients away. What process will you use to get more testimonials for your website? Hopefully, this article gave you the step-by-step process you need to connect with clients on customer stories.
Client Testimonials FAQ
To wrap up today, I wanted to share a few frequently asked questions. If you have any questions about client testimonials, be sure to leave them in the comments so I can give you the answers and add them to the post.
Should I Create A Separate Testimonials Page?
There is a big debate happening right now: to create a separate page or not. Here's the thing: your clients want to see testimonials when they are making purchasing decisions.
If I were you, I'd add them to the parts of your website that influence that purchasing decision. On your home page, hire me page, and on any services pages you have. I wouldn't typically dedicate an entire page to case studies.
Here are two situations where a dedicated page makes sense:
- You have a LOT of written and video testimonials.
- This model only works when you have a lot of videos or written testimonials to share. Don't create a page for five quick quotes.
- You are sharing case studies in a blog format (so you link to multiple case studies on one page.)
What About LinkedIn Recommendations?
LinkedIn recommendations are amazing, and they can play a huge role in your career. LinkedIn recommendations are great because they add social proof to your LinkedIn profile for cold pitching, and you can easily copy those to your website. If you are looking for an easy way to get more recommendations, start with LinkedIn. From that, you should have all you need to produce stellar written testimonials on your website.
Related Reading: 5 Things You Should Be Doing On LinkedIn To Further Your Career
Where Does A Logo Reel Play In Testimonials?
If you aren't using a logo reel, get to work on one. Logo reels are great because they are immediate social proof, especially if you have some big names on your client roster.
Logo reels aren't case studies or testimonials, though. You'll want some words from these clients to solidify what you've done for them and why they trust you.
At the end of the day, logo reels just prove that you've worked with a client. I have some logos on my freelance website that I've only done one project with. Those projects matter, but it doesn't mean I've had a big impact on their business.
In other words, logo reels supplement the work you do with getting testimonials.
How Do You Get Testimonials As A New Business?
Getting testimonials as a new freelancer can be a challenge. Here are a couple of quick ways to get your initial case studies:
- Use Upwork to do one-off projects and get some feedback.
- Do some work in exchange for testimonials.
- Get your current friends, family, or employer to endorse you.
Once you have some great clients under your belt that will make better case studies, you can remove these initial testimonials.
Related Reading: How To Get Started As A Freelance Writer When You Have No Experience
How Do I Avoid Testimonial Fatigue?
If you add a lot of testimonials to your site, your potential clients might get testimonial fatigue. Yes, we want to hear about how awesome you are, but you might be losing sales if you don't make it easy to navigate. If you want to avoid testimonial fatigue, here are some user experience changes you can make to your website:
- Use different types of testimonials.
- Don't feel like you need to keep every single testimonial on your website.
- Break up case studies with images and other media items.
- Use prominent call-to-action buttons.
- Add jump buttons so that people can skip around to the purchase or CTA buttons.