The Ultimate Guide to Effective Client Testimonials

The Ultimate Guide to Effective Client Testimonials feature

A great testimonial is marketing gold. Testimonials provide social proof, which increases a prospective customer’s level of trust in your brand. Yet, not all customer testimonials are good testimonials. In this guide, you’ll learn why you need testimonials in your marketing materials, how to get them, and the best format for effective client testimonials. You’ll finally know how to get those irresistible customer testimonials that compel new customers to take action and click buy. 


What is a client testimonial?

A client testimonial is a statement from previous or existing customers. A compelling testimonial provides evidence of how your product or service solved your previous client’s pain point and made their lives better.

These days, people are wary of marketing. No one wants to be duped into buying a product that doesn’t deliver. Instead, we lean heavily on social proof from ‘unbiased’ people like us. 91% of shoppers look at reviews before buying a product and 82% of people ask their friends for recommendations before making a purchase.

If you want to convince prospective customers that your product or service is worth their investment, you need to feature testimonials in your marketing. In the eyes of your potential customer, client testimonials are proof that your product or service works.


How do you get client testimonials?

The easiest way to get client testimonials is to simply ask for them. To get testimonials you could:

  • Send out a survey to previous customers.
  • Write an email asking for client feedback.
  • Personally ask a client for a testimonial.
  • Call or text previous clients asking for a review.
  • Set up an automated system for requesting testimonials.
  • Incentivize reviews or referrals.
  • Leverage comments on social media.
  • Read customer feedback on online review sites.
The Ultimate Guide to Effective Client Testimonials article

What do effective client testimonials say?

Here’s the tricky part: not all client reviews are effective. Let’s say you are thinking about buying a new book. Which of these two testimonial examples would compel you to click buy?

Testimonial 1: “This book is amazing! I loved every word!”

Testimonial 2: “Before reading this book I was feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with all the work I had to do. This book taught me concrete tools to use my time more effectively and get more done. Now, I feel like I can conquer my to-do list and still have time left over to enjoy my life.”

The truth is, prospective clients aren’t interested in the type of testimonial that just tells how great your business is. The best testimonials show the transformation your offering helped someone else achieve.

To get testimonials that show transformation, Donald Miller, the CEO of Business Made Simple, recommends asking specific questions instead of just an open-ended request for feedback.


The basic formula for these types of testimonials is:

Before purchasing this product or service, my life looked like…

Now that I have purchased this product or service, my life looks like…

Here are a few sample questions you could ask to get stories of transformation from a satisfied customer:

  • What was your biggest problem before purchasing this product/service?
  • How did that problem make you feel?
  • What changed after you purchased this product/service?  (Include specific details.)


What is the best format for a client testimonial?

There are a few basic best practices for effective client testimonials:

  • Use video testimonials or candid photos next to quote testimonials to prove they are from real customers.
  • Share your client’s own perspective- a scripted testimonial will sound like a fake testimonial. That will erode the very trust you are working to build.
  • On the other hand, it’s okay to edit testimonials to increase clarity, especially if there are spelling or grammar mistakes. After you’ve edited, request approval from your client to use the edited version.
  • Always get permission to share a client testimonial. 

Beyond that, the best format for a client testimonial is the one that is most accessible to your happy customer. Each client will have their own preferences. Use the options below to make sharing success stories easy.


Easy ideas for collecting customer testimonials:

  • Provide a fill-in-the-blank template.
  • Record the conversations you are already having with clients. If an authentic success story is shared, ask for their permission to use the clip as an audio testimonial or video testimonial.
  • Send out a survey with guiding questions. Put these written answers together into a written testimonial, success story, or even a case study.
  • Pay attention to social media tags, comments, and shares. If someone shares how much they love your product on social media, thank them and ask to use their comments as a customer testimonial.
  • When receiving positive feedback in person, ask if you can summarize what they said into a written testimonial.
  • Use customer testimonials shared on online review sites, such as Yelp, and Google Customer Reviews.

If you are willing to do a little extra work and take your client testimonial game to the next level, here are a few advanced tips:

  • For more professional videos, hire a videographer and invite customers to come onsite to film video testimonials.
  • If you have any high-profile clients, ask them for a testimonial. Authority testimonials tend to have even greater influence.
  • Partner with brand ambassadors or influencers to bring your offering to a broader audience.


Where should you put client testimonials?

Display customer testimonials everywhere. You can put testimonials on your main homepage, your product or service landing pages, in sales emails, and in all of your marketing materials. You can even embed them within a blog post if it fits the content.

Some businesses create a specific testimonials page so that all their best customer testimonials are in one place. If you do create a testimonials page, don’t be afraid to repeat those customer testimonials in other places throughout your marketing as well.

Great testimonials and positive feedback are reassurance for potential customers that your offering gets results. Anywhere you are asking your target audience to think about buying your product or service, you should use effective testimonials as a part of your marketing materials.

If you don’t have time to seek out customer testimonials or are struggling to get the kind that showcase the transformation you offer, contact us today and speak with one of our Certified StoryBrand Guides. As a full service marketing agency, we can help you refine your messaging, testimonials and all, so that you can tell your business’s story the right way and attract the clients you want.

Angie Schultz StoryBrand Certified Guide since 2018

Angie Schultz

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