How to Get Better Testimonials (And Where to Leverage Them)

I don’t know about you, but most of my new writing gigs come by way of the people I currently work with. I have them write testimonials for my work any time we wrap up a project, and then I use those in my marketing efforts moving forward.

Sure, I get queries through my website and social media fairly regularly, but most of the time, the clients that I end up working with are sent to me on the recommendation of someone else, or are connecting with me because they saw my name associated with a familiar face or a company they know and respect.

Testimonials are social proof for my personal brand and my writing skills — and they help convince others that they need to hire me RIGHT NOW.

But here’s the thing. I see lots of freelance writers who aren’t:

  1. Actively collecting those testimonials and
  2. Aren’t showcasing the ones they’ve gathered.

So we’re gunna talk about that today.

Step 1: When to Collect Testimonials

Any time you wrap up a project with a new client, it’s important to ask for a testimonial as a part of the final process. That means whenever you send over a final invoice or a project wrap-up email, you should close by requesting a brief quote about your services.

This is also a great time to ask your clients what they liked about the process of working with you and what areas could be improved upon.

If you have past clients that you forgot to get a testimonial from — no worries! You can reach out to them with a simple email asking them if they would spare a moment to write a line or two about the work you completed for him/her.

Aside from email, I also use LinkedIn’s Ask for a Recommendation feature to gather these testimonials in a more social environment. The recommendations you collect here can be repackaged into testimonials for your website, used within proposals, or can be highlighted on other social media outlets. (I screencap and tweet mine from time to time, too.)

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Step 2: Setting Clients Up For a Solid Testimonial

It’s not enough to just say, “Hey there, would you be willing to write me a recommendation?” when asking clients for testimonials.

You have to set them up to write a home run and make it easy for them to say specific things about you that other clients need to hear. Here’s what I mean:

When writing your request, remind the person you’re writing to about the amazing results you helped produce (so they are fresh in his/her mind when they go to write your testimonial.)

You might say something like:

Hey (client name),

It was such a pleasure working with you on (X project.) Working together, we increased your email open rate by 15% over the span of two weeks…and that’s no small feat!

I wanted to reach out to see if you would be willing to write a brief testimonial about my writing services and what it was like to work with me. I’d be honored to have my name associated with yours, and would sincerely appreciate it if you took a few minutes to do this.

See how this message subtly hands the testimonial-writer exactly what you want them to write? You not only provided the hard numbers/results you want in your testimonial, but you reminded them that you did it quickly and efficiently. Nice work.

Step 3: Where to Put Those Testimonials

The short answer: Everywhere. You should be showcasing your testimonials on:

  • Your website
  • Within proposals
  • On social media
  • On landing pages/within ad campaigns

This form of social proof is powerful — so once you have some solid testimonials — put them to work. Don’t let them gather dust in a file on your computer.

Let them do the legwork of telling everyone how good you are at what you do. After all, people can only stand hearing you say that for so long.

Questions? Comments? Email me if so.

This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy.

Freelance writer at Always looking for the next adventure.

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