Testimonials: The Easy, Proven Way to Persuade Clients to Hire You
Last week, one of my clients complimented me on a project I had just turned in. As I read her comments, I realized that they would make a great testimonial for my website. And I had been meaning to ask this client for a testimonial for a while. I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Well, to be honest, it always feels a little awkward when I just ask a client for a testimonial—even when I know the client loves my work.
But my client’s comments in that email gave me the perfect opening to ask for the testimonial.
So I did—and she said yes.
I drafted a testimonial based on her comments and sent it to her for review. Once she approved it, I asked my designer, Brian Corchiolo at bpc creative, to add it to my website. Here’s what it looks like:
Testimonials Build Trust
Testimonials are important because clients want to do business with freelancers they trust. And testimonials on your freelance website are an easy, proven way to build trust with clients who don’t know you yet.
“Testimonials build trust between the company and its users, and they help customers overcome any skepticism they might have,” says Ella Patenall in Why Testimonials Are B2B Companies’ Most Important Marketing Tool.
What clients say about you is evidence that backs up your freelance marketing messages. It’s far more important than what you say about yourself.
And testimonials offer social proof, which persuades people to do what they see other people doing. “We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves,” says Robert B. Cialdini, author of the bestseller Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
Testimonials Work, Studies Say
Research shows that testimonials really work. For example, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts (BrightLocal). While this statistic is about consumers, the concept applies to clients and freelance marketing too.
And you don’t need a lot of testimonials. Patenall says that 3-5 testimonials is plenty.
Concise, Engaging Quotes Work Best
Quotes from satisfied clients make perfect testimonials for freelancers. The quotes should be engaging and genuine.
“In the age of short attention spans, such quotes should be succinct and snappy to catch attention immediately. The testimonial comments should usually give information on how customers found the process, how effective the service or product was, and whether they would recommend it to other businesses,” says Patenall.
“Where to Put Your Testimonials,” below, has links to great testimonials on freelance websites.
The Best Time to Ask for Testimonials
Clients often compliment freelancers in emails (or sometimes during a phone call) about an ongoing or finished project. This is the best—and easiest—time to ask for a testimonial.
“Most (if not all) clients will say yes … if you ask them at that moment,” says Ed Gandia in How to Get More Client Testimonials.
Make it even easier for your client by putting the comments into a draft testimonial, like I did.
Here’s a template you can use.
Template for Asking for a Testimonial After a Compliment
Thanks so much Client X. I really enjoyed helping you develop the [project description here].
Would it be okay if I use what you said as a testimonial on my website? It could say something like this:
“Lori does an awesome job for me and delivers every project on time.”
Organization [with link to client’s website]
You can see examples of testimonials on my website here. [link to your testimonials] If you want to revise the quote or write something else, that’s fine too. Thanks for considering this Client X.
If you’re just starting out, you won’t have testimonials yet. That’s okay. As you build your freelance business, be on the lookout for compliments from clients that you can turn into testimonials.
You can also use a few testimonials from volunteer work where you used your freelance skills. For example, I write articles for the newsletter of one of my professional associations. Since I’m a freelance writer, I could ask the newsletter editor or one of the officers to write a testimonial about my work.
Just Ask for Testimonials
You can also ask for testimonials. Yes, this can be awkward. But if you’ve worked with the client for a while and know that they like your work, it’s okay to do this.
Explain how you’ll use the testimonial, and that you’ll send it to your client for approval before posting. If you already have other testimonials on your website, send a link to them.
Finalizing Your Glowing Testimonial
Whether the testimonial is based on a compliment from a client or you’ve asked the client for a testimonial, always run the final testimonial by the client before posting it.
Do any editing necessary to correct mistakes or to shorten a very long testimonial. Then add the client’s name and company with a link to the company’s website.
Email this to the client and ask for final approval. If you want to use the company’s logo on your website, ask permission first.
And never use anything that someone has said about you without asking for permission first.
Where to Put Your Testimonials
There are lots of ways to use testimonials on your freelance website.
If you have at least three testimonials, you can create a separate testimonials page. This is what most freelancers do, including:
And if you only have one or two testimonials, put it(them) on your services or samples page.
Key Freelance Marketing Messages
Erin and I both used excerpts from our testimonials to help convey our key freelance marketing messages. We’ve taken excerpts from some of our testimonials and put them in our testimonials page subhead (or blurb).
Shannon puts the beginning of her testimonials in a larger font so clients get her key marketing messages quickly.
If you want to do more and have close relationships with clients, consider case studies, where you show a challenge your client faced and how you helped the client solve that challenge. Why Testimonials Are B2B Companies’ Most Important Marketing Tool has more information about the contents of case studies and how to write them.
But include quote testimonials too. Quotes can quickly engage and persuade prospective clients. And some prospects won’t want to read a case study.
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Learn More About Testimonials and Websites for Freelancers
Freelance Websites with Testimonials
Ed Gandia, How to Get More Client Testimonials
Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion