Your guide to powerful testimonials, say goodbye to “was great to work with”

by | Aug 13, 2022

“Frank was great to work with”
“Frank is really good.”
“You’ll enjoy working with Frank.”

If your testimonials are like this, you’re in trouble. 

Not just because your name isn’t Frank, but because you get great results for your clients, but they’re not reflected in your testimonials. So you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to convey the real value of working with you.

I’ve got your back though. 

I’ve learned a few things – 5 to be precise – about gathering, and presenting, powerful testimonials that I want to share with you…

Don’t just ask for “a testimonial”

If you just ask for “a testimonial” it’s a blank canvas – anything could come back. Including the very vague sounding “was nice to work with”.

To get the best possible responses, ask the questions that lead to the answers you want. 

The questions will depend on your offering… but here are some examples from a campaign we’re running right now to collect powerful testimonials for our client:

  • What was going on with you before finding [CLIENT] that led you to work with them?
  • What’s one specific learning you feel you’ve benefited from?
  • How has your business changed since working with [CLIENT]?
  • Any specific achievement, or outcomes, you’d like to highlight?
  • Would you recommend [CLIENT] to a friend or colleague? What would you say to them?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?

Notice how there’s a real focus on tangible benefits, learnings, and outcomes – so that the focus is on the transformation you bring to your clients. 

And when you’ve brought them through the process of thinking this way, you make sure there’s an open ended question to capture anything else that they want to add that you haven’t covered.

Let your clients know you’d love a video testimonial

Video testimonials are really powerful. 

They’re harder to get than a written one because they’re a bigger ask, for a lot of people they take more time and energy – but they’re so good because as the viewer you get to see that yes, this is a real-life human. 

We use VideoAsk for some of our clients – some benefits of using VideoAsk: 

  • if people aren’t comfortable with hopping on video, they can leave text or audio responses 
  • it allows people to leave the testimonials in their own time 
  • you can set up a repeatable process because you have a link to an evergreen VideoAsk 

You don’t have to use VideoAsk though, you could hop on Zoom and record the call. 

Zoom has two advantages: 

  • people can feel less intimidated about video when you’re on the call with them 
  • you can chat through answers, encouraging more detail if necessary

Either way, video adds serious power and weight to the testimonial.

Send a really lovely request email and some even nicer reminders

Make sure you communicate how much it would mean to you to get a testimonial, how useful it would be, and how much you would appreciate it. 

I can’t emphasise this enough – I’ve had people say they get no testimonials, and when we analyse what’s going on, their process is to send one timid email asking for a testimonial. 

One timid email is easy to ignore until later. And later. And then for forever.  

If you can, it’s worth making the initial request in-person. If you work in-person with your clients this is easy – build it into your process that you request the testimonials while you’re working together. 

Then, if you’re using Zoom to personally get the testimonial it’s straightforward to set a date. 

If you’re using VideoAsk or something similar then make sure your follow-up email with the request re-iterates how important it is and how much you appreciate it. Because if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, why would it be a big deal to them?

Along the same lines, everyone’s busy, and video testimonials can be difficult for people. 

So with the best will in the world, people will procrastinate. 

Send some lovely, gentle reminders. The first reminder can just check in and make sure they’re still happy to do it. 

The second reminder can remind them that a text option for the testimonial would also be fine. 

Don’t just plonk the whole testimonial up on YouTube

Edit your testimonial so that some of the best bits are at the start. People may not watch the full testimonial, so you make sure what they get at the start is super valuable. 

Descript is amazing for this – it will transcribe your video, and then you can just copy and paste the best bits of the testimonial to the start of the transcript, and it automagically edits the video as well!

Just make sure you play it back and make sure you haven’t made it TOO choppy. A little bit of choppiness is ok, but you don’t want it to seem overly edited.

When you have a strong opening section, you can also edit out anything that isn’t adding value. Keep the best bits. I usually have a transition with something like “full testimonial” popping up in text on the screen after the short highlight intro. 

Video and text for a double whammy

Give people a reason to watch the video – take a short but powerful quote from the video testimonial and put in text under the video embed. 

So… if you’ve been lashing off an email to clients saying “would you mind sending me a testimonial? K tnx bye” then it’s time to get serious about gathering some powerful testimonials for yourself.

It’s time to allow your clients to let others know about the true value of working with you.

And please do let me know if you gather more powerful testimonials as a result of these tips!

Frank Prendergast

Frank Prendergast

I've over two decades of experience helping businesses with their online presence. I'm also the owner of the most-talked-about moustache in the marketing world and I'm the Frank half of the award-winning digital marketing team Frank and Marci. Follow on LinkedIn