5 qualities of a good testimonial

By 05/25/2013August 12th, 20225 Comments

Where’s the first place prospects get the scoop on you? Your About page?

Maybe, and even more so, on your Testimonials page.

I’m sure you can write all kinds of good things about yourself, but it carries more weight when other people write about you.

Do you want to leverage testimonials into more new business? Make sure they are:

  1. Specific. “Steve is a great copywriter and always gets good results for us” doesn’t impress new prospects. Better? “Steve has a knack for figuring out who our ideal client is, connecting with them on a deeper emotional level, and getting them to take action.”
  2. Short. If a client gives you a testimonial, they usually think more is better. I recommend pulling out only the best parts of a long testimonial so it’s short and sweet.
  3. Addressing one common objection. Think about the four or five main reasons people don’t hire you as a copywriter, and try to get one testimonial that addresses each one of those objections.
  4. Truthful. That should go without saying, of course, but in this age of LinkedIn endorsements that don’t mean a whole lot, make sure you’re only posting testimonials from real clients who are being completely straightforward and honest in their assessment of you.
  5. Selling you in a unique way. Like I stated in #1 above, specific is better than general, and it also should be well written to position you in a special way.

So, how do you get a testimonial that does all five of  these things, or at least three of them?

Well, first of all, it’s a rare thing to get an unsolicited testimonial. Most clients are too busy. But they will write you one if you’ve earned it and you ask for it

Simply put, you have to ask for testimonials. There are three good times to ask for one:

  • Whenever they say something positive. Develop a good ear for listening, and when you hear something positive about you or your copywriting, say, “Would you mind putting that in writing so I can use that in my marketing materials or on my website?”

    Go one step further since they’re busy. Ask them, “Would you mind if I write down what you just said and send it to you for your approval? People don’t care what I say about myself so much, but they’re always interested to hear what other people say about me.” Make it easy for them.

  • Before you even start a project. In the consultation or proposal stage, tell them, “When this first project is done, assuming all goes well, I’m going to ask you for a brief testimonial that I could share with others. So I want to do everything I can to make sure you have something good to write.”
  • When the project is over. Say something like, “I have a favor to ask you. Would you mind writing two or three quick sentences about your experience working with me? I know prospects pay more attention to what my clients say about me than what I say about myself, and it helps me grow my business without having to advertise much. I’d really appreciate it.”

Next time we’ll talk about how you earn a good testimonial. Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know about getting a good testimonial or how to use them once you do.


Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (33 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers create profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and live, in-person business-building workshops. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Alan says:

    Hi Steve, apart from your spot on tips on garnering great testimonials from clients, this line really capsulized what great copywriting is all about, “…a knack for figuring out who our ideal client is, connecting with them on a deeper emotional level, and getting them to take action.” That’s at least a bases clearing triple! Hope you don’t mind if I swipe the essence of that statement for my own marketing.

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