What is a customer testimonial?
Google defines a testimonial as “a formal statement testifying to someone’s character and qualifications”. A candid endorsement of your product or service by people who have used it before, is one of the strongest signals of trust and authority.
“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg
What makes a good customer testimonial?
Assume you own a florist. Which of these customer testimonials would be best to include in your marketing materials?
“My flowers were beautiful, thank you”
“I was so worried about getting the look for the flowers right for my wedding. But then I met Sam at The Awesome Flower Shop. She understood exactly what I wanted even better that I did and really helped me to look my best on my wedding day. Everyone was commenting on the flowers and my bridesmaids loved them too. Every time I look back at my wedding photos I am so pleased that I picked Sam.
Clearly the second one. It’s all about personalisation and telling a story.
How to write an effective customer testimonial
While all positive testimonials can be helpful, the best client testimonials feel personal, tell a story, and are specific in their praise. To achieve this the best client testimonials include:
- What situation that customer was in before they started using your product or service. What was their biggest challenge?
- How did that problem or challenge make them feel?
- What they were thinking when they decided to start working with you or purchase your product?
- What changed after you started working together or they started using your product?
Customer testimonial template example
Before I met [name] at [company] I was [how they felt] because [problem]. [name] suggested [solution] and [why they decided to give it a try]. Now [result] and I feel [how they feel now].
How to display a customer testimonial online
- If you have Facebook page and are set up as a business then your page includes a Reviews tab.
- LinkedIn can be a great source of reviews and recommendations from your individual profile if you are a freelancer, partner, accountant, doctor etc.
- Every business should have a Google My Business profile and this, along with other local search directories, are great places to source reviews for your business.
- If your sector has a niche review site e.g. TripAdvisor, getting positive reviews on these review platforms is becoming increasingly important.
- If you have an e-commerce website, you might have a built in reviews function for your business and for each individual product. I would recommend using a third party tool like TrustPilot or or Reviews.co.uk to demonstrate trust and authenticity.
Text Only Testimonials on Your Website
All testimonials are good and if all else fails, a text only testimonial is better than no testimonial. But 65% of the population are visual learners and testimonials that include a photo are much more authentic. If you can’t persuade your client to provide a headshot, video, or candid photo (see below) you may be able to persuade them to allow you to use their company logo alongside their testimonial instead.
Testimonials with Headshots on Your Website
With LinkedIn becoming increasingly popular, more and more people have a professional headshot that they are willing to let you use alongside their testimonial. When requesting a testimonial it’s always worth asking for a headshot as this is a great way to show that the testimonial is from a real person with a real story of success.
Here are some great ways of displaying customer testimonials alongside a headshot that we have used on our own website. Feel free to share these ideas with your website designer to give them some inspiration for your own website.
Testimonials With Candid Photos on Your Website
Even better than a testimonial with a headshot is a testimonial with a candid photo – ideally a photo of your customer looking happy in the environment that you have helped them to make better through your product or service. This is a great way to give a visual impression of the success you have helped them to create, and increases the trust and authenticity of the testimonial.
Even better than a text-based testimonial with a static image is a video testimonial. Yes, you can get a professionally produced video testimonial created by a video production company in your customer’s location. But today, everyone has a camera on their phone.
Asking customers to record a video testimonial (using the questions below as a guide for what to cover) can come across as very authentic.
Do you meet your clients face-to-face at events, when you deliver training, or when you meet to sign off projects? Take a camera with you and ask them whether they would be willing to go on camera and share their experience. Making it as easy as possible really helps
How to ask for a customer testimonial
This template is based on the questions recommended by the StoryBrand framework and if you are interested in finding out more about the topic I’d recommend reading this blog post as well as Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller.
I am updating our website at the moment and would love to be able to include a short testimonial / story about your experience working with us.
Would you be willing to answer a coupe of questions so I can put something together? If so, I’ve included them below.
1. What was your biggest challenge before you started working with us?
2. How did that challenge make you feel?
3. What were you thinking when you decided to start working with us?
4. What changed after we started working together?
5. What would you say to somebody who is not sure about whether to start working with us?
6. Anything else you’d like to add?
7. Are you happy for us to put together a summary of your answers and feature this in our marketing materials?
8. Do you have a headshot that you could send us that you would be willing for us to use alongside this testimonial?
Thanks so much.
<< your name >>
If you don’t have it already, you may also want to ask for contact information, company name and any other information that will help you to understand which of your customer personas the testimonial fits.
What are you going to do next?
Customer testimonials are one of the most powerful tools when it comes to building trust with prospects. What do you think? Are you going to try my approach to asking for customer testimonials? Do you have any improvements or other suggestions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.