The ultimate guide to awesome genuine testimonials

Ultimate Testimonial guide - giving you tips on how to ask for a testimonial, so that you can getting customer testimonials you can use, with Testimonial examples + a bonus on how to write a testimonial and writing testimonials that are meaningful - your Customer testimonial template

Feb 8, 2016


When I think about the word “testimonials” – I think about how people are about their favourite coffee shop:

Some people will tell all their friends on facebook about their fabulous new coffee shop find,

Some people think “I should totally tell Jane about this space…” and then promptly forget,

and others think “I ain’t gonna tell anyone about this place… it’s MYYY PREEECCIOUUUSSS”!

A great testimonial will really boost your business and brand, especially when it’s an awesome genuine testimonial from a wonderful past client!

When potential clients see what other clients of yours have said about working with you… that social proof is an instant cred boost! Rriiigghhhtt

So when Claire asked me for my input on how to ask for testimonials [and how to use testimonials in her business]… I realised that the answers I was giving would be golden for you too!

So I started developing and tweaking this “ultimate guide to awesome genuine testimonials“.

So let’s take a look at what Claire wanted to know:

1 How do you ask for them?

2 Do you structure the kind of info/feedback you’re looking for?

3 What do you do with testimonials?

4 Do you get your client’s photo/website/name etc.? “

1. Asking for Testimonials

Before even asking for testimonials… the assumption is that you have already delivered really great work! Mediocre work, leads to mediocre testimonials… and I really can’t help you there!

But I know that’s not you… your clients loved you + what you did for them… now we juuuust need to figure out how to ask them!

But how to we do that… without leaving you feeling sleazy, pushy schmoozer who is signing this innocent client into this deep dark contract of evilness.

Ok, I know that’s not you!

But I also know that sometimes this feels like an awkward thing to do.

So I have a few tips for you… it starts with just asking.

When I redid my website, it became glaringly obvious that I was missing testimonials – and, like you – I had to go to all my past clients and ask them for their testimonial.

Some answered me, which was awesome [and yip, I totally used those right away!]… some asked me to write it for them!!

I know they are busy  – but it was really hard for me to “read their mind” and know why they thought working with me was so awesome… so I had to get clever!

Which led me to No 2…

Ultimate Testimonial guide - giving you tips on how to ask for a testimonial, so that you can getting customer testimonials you can use, with Testimonial examples + a bonus on how to write a testimonial and writing testimonials that are meaningful - your Customer testimonial template

2. How do you structure the kind of info/feedback you’re looking for?

I think that the concept of structuring the feedback you want from clients is really important.

Because worse than “won’t you write it for me” is getting “Emma is great” or “Loved the session”.

Whilst the heart behind those thoughts are awesome… you want more solid feedback from your past clients, so that your future clients really get a sense of what it’s like to work with you + experience your brand!

you want M.O.R.E!

So instead of “Hey, wont you give me a testimonial” – you need to structure the feedback a lot more clearly. I find this most useful when asking questions around each of the aspects of the brand experience.

A big tip: Keep it simple and make your questions easy for clients to answer.

Mine feedback form is now an online form, and it’s something that I have built into my process for effortless feedback.

Just as the project wraps up, I ask my clients for feedback on how they experienced working with me… and then send them to a form that is designed around the exact pieces of information I need to:

  1. Give me pure feedback – so that I improve the service I offer my future clients
  2. Give me the information I need to structure a really great [and genuine] testimonial.

If you want to know some of the questions I ask my clients [and the kinds of questions you totally should be asking yours], then swipe my questions by signing up here:

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Now that I have all this really great feedback from my client… I can take the essence of what they have said, tweak it [if needed] or pull the pieces together… and create a testimonial that is so authentic, genuine… and usually pretty awesome!

and that my friends… is how I “write a testimonial” for my clients!

But say I’m really lucky, and they are happy to write one for me… sometimes I will prompt them with the different kinds of things I would love to see in there [because you know that they had a big aha in a specific area, or that a certain part of the process resulted in huge shifts, or maybe – I actually want some numbers behind those shifts].

Which then brings us to #3… they share an awesome testimonial on facebook, or Linkedin… what do you do with it???

3. What do you do with Testimonials?

There are a couple of ways you can use these fab testimonials, and here’s what I usually do when I spot a testimonial come in:

3.1 The testimonial gets posted on Facebook, I then:

1. take a screenshot of it – that way people can see that this is a legit Facebook testimonial… and not me making it up.

2. I have a testimonial folder on my computer, that I pop those screenshots into

3. I copy the post/text, and save that [usually google docs] for later… I may want to use the words on my website, and won’t want to be hunting a testimonial that’s buried deep in months of content… or worse… retyping the image [which I have had to do before – UGH!].

3.2 When someone emails it to me

1. take a screenshot of it [I might not show anyone the email, but it may be fun to use in a post down the line]

2. Save it to the same testimonial folder noted above

3. Also copy the text into google docs.

But I think you’re wondering…

what do you DO with the testimonials captured… how can you use it in your business #amIright????

FIRST… [and this is SUPER important],

I check that the person is happy that I use the testimonial.

you don’t want to upset happy + wonderful clients… so check in with them before splashing it all over the place!

I usually ask them to check the wording, the image, the title, and the links!

The last thing you want is for you happy, adoring fan [I mean client] to be super pissed with you for putting something up that they weren’t wanting to be put out there!

Ultimate Testimonial guide - giving you tips on how to ask for a testimonial, so that you can getting customer testimonials you can use, with Testimonial examples + a bonus on how to write a testimonial and writing testimonials that are meaningful - your Customer testimonial template

Places I use my testimonials:

I don’t think testimonials should just be hidden in your work with me / Portfolio Page… so Let’s chat through some other options / thoughts on how you can use those little pieces of gold…

Social Media

I will re-share the testimonials in FB and Twitter sometimes [mainly because I like showcasing my awesome clients actually, but also because I think it’s great for others to see what it’s like working with me].

I may take a selfie of me… and share why I’m smiling – i.e. what awesome client said about working with me [#WhatTheySaid]

Here’s another example of how Abigail used my testimonial in Social Media!

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.51.45 PM

The beginning of the year often sees solopreneurs revamping their websites and upgrading their online presence. I’m busy…

Posted by Abigail K Photography on Thursday, January 7, 2016

On my website

When I launch a clients brand [I create a portfolio page of their new brand]- I have a section at the bottom that says “What they said”

Like this one…

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.54.57 PM

or this one…

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.55.16 PM

When I write a post about working with that person… I usually include the testimonial in there…

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.57.09 PM

Ps… See the beauty of the awesome Facebook screenshot!!!

I also use testimonials on sales pages for products / services I have…

I like to use the Facebook testimonials here [#BecauseLegit], but sometimes I would use my testimonial format [#BecausePurdy] Like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.58.39 PM

Other places you can use them:

About Page: especially if a client said something about what it’s like to work with you

Work with me: When they rave about working with you

Sales Page: when clients share about how the cost is worth it

intro Page: because social proof

Contact page: Not really necessary… but who knows… maybe a testimonial there would be a great way to help your clients feel safe to contact you?

4. Do you get your client’s photo/website/name etc.?

When it comes to getting a testimonial… an important thing to remember – is that you need to make it easy for the client.

After all… you want this testimonial for YOUR biz… so make it as easy for them as possible [after all, a testimonial is actually for YOUR benefit].

So how do I make this as easy as possible?

I grab their Facebook profile photo [because if they love it for FB, they would more than likely love it for the website] but sometimes if I don’t think that THAT image works for their testimonial… I may scout through their profile photos #stalker-ish

In terms of the website – I usually look it up – or ask them if they’d prefer a link to FB page, or other social media site.

I usually whip up some fun title for them… but would have also scouted their FB profile to see what they call themselves.

Basically, my premise is to search first, give them something to work with and tweak.

Have any FAB ways you use tesminonials that I haven’t mentioned???


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About the Author

Emma is the Chief Coffee Drinker here at FreshSage. With over a decade in branding + another decade in corporate business - she's always balancing the creative with business strategy + goals. She believes everyone has a purpose + calling, and secretly loves helping her clients find theirs. When she's not building brand experiences, she's spending time with her High-school sweetheart + kidlet, tinkering in her veg garden, painting an abstract, and enjoying vino with friends.

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