Let’s talk about your sales copy and your sales pages, because the copy on that offer page is gonna make or break your website launch, your offer launch, whatever it is you’re putting out there, and finally sling it. BUT at some point you need to shut up a little bit. Because, what’s the MOST effective way to write copy … without really writing copy? Figure out how to get better testimonials, of course!
Sometimes the very best thing you can do in your sales copy is have amazing testimonials that sing your praises.
I have told clients before that I can do a pretty dang good job writing copy, but sometimes at the end of the day, there is nothing I can do that’s gonna move the needle for someone quite like seeing someone out there that is a mirror image of the problems, the feelings, everything that they’re going through and seeing somebody out there like them, get the success and get the result that they’re looking for. That speaks volumes!
That’s exactly what I wanna talk to you about, how on earth do you figure out how to sell without saying a word. I’m talking testimonials, baby.
I have always been a stickler for testimonials, for screen grabs, for being able to have some sort of a library of testimonials and social proof. I’m gonna show you what that looks like inside my business, but here’s what it’s come down to. So we recently launched a beautiful new website for my business and going through that process, which felt like birthing another baby, I realized how much of my time allotment working on the whole project went to collecting and solidifying social proof, testimonials, case studies, all that.
We revamped the portfolio page of my website, which is fresh and sparkly. It smells like new paint, virtually, and I have lots of learnings, and that’s what I wanna share with you.
Also, as I get started, I’ve mentioned by website a couple of times, I always begin drafting the website copy for my business and for our clients inside a Google Doc. If you want a starter template to write your own website copy, then be sure to look down below, you can grab a free template to go ahead and get started formatting yours.
Let’s jump in!
No. 1 | Have a great client experience
Okay, Captain Obvious answer, but I think it needs to be said in the creative bubble. Grassroots marketing and referrals are still a FANTASTIC way to get clients. In fact, some of my favorite clients and students come our way because their best business friend recommended my business/shop/course.
Whenever someone asks me how to get more clients, this is one of my first answers:
Have a client experience so good it sells itself.
I LOVE writing about client experience, and there are a kazillion ways you could enhance your client experience.One of the best ways to delight a client even before they’ve met you is to be recommendation-worthy. Click To Tweet
Here are seven ways you can update your client experience:
- Send client gifts, of course. Here’s a great article my clients Justin & Mary Marantz wrote on that. Aim to spend about 3% of the service price point on a gift.
- Craft a signature experience—bonus points if you can productize and streamline the service
- Look outside your industry: What does Anthropologie do during the customer experience? What does Warby Parker do … and how can you borrow from other industries?
- Surprise & delight your clients. We used to send “S&D tickets” to Delta Air Lines loyal customers—tix to an athletic or arts event in their city, just to say thanks.
- Go through your process as an outsider
- Update your workflow and process every single time you wrap up a client project
- Communicate like a champ—here’s my blog on “How to Create a Welcome Packet: Copy to Include and Omit”
No. 2 | Protect them and yourself with a good contract
I feel like “contract” sounds like such a scary word, but one thing you can start doing is reminding your clients it protects them just as much as it protects you. That’s good service and peace of mind!
I don’t know about you, but when a shop tells me the return policy or whatever, I feel like they put me at ease a bit.
It’s the same for your clients. When it comes to locking up your client experience and communicating all these things well, it starts with a firm agreement so you’re PROTECTING your client just as much as yourself.
Not to mention, you can bake in things that are benefits to them. Maybe you are …
- Selling them the copyright to the work you create, too—what a win!
- Making it pretty so it’s not totally dismal to read
- Make it actually easy to read
Here are some examples …
Here’s where I get my contracts—I partnered with my lawyer Christina to create this calligrapher/stationer contract and this copywriter contract, but she’s pretty much got one for everything … photographers contracts, wedding planner contracts, website designer contracts, graphic designer contracts, coaches contracts … you get the picture.
No. 3 | Leverage technology
“Can you give me a testimonial” and waiting for a response is the wrong way to do this.
Antidote? Bake into your client workflow a way to easily get a testimonial at the right time, and make it easy on them.
Y’all know over here, I love HoneyBook. It is the client management system that we use for the agency side of my business. You can find more tutorials on that here in a playlist, but the thing I want you to start thinking about here is I want you to start understanding how to make testimonials and gathering of case studies or social proof part of your process, , whatever it is, you have got to have some sort of a format, and workflow piece of our business that is data mining and gathering these case studies and testimonials.
I’m gonna show you a little bit about what our process looks like and flip the camera around, and show you the backend side HoneyBook. But I wanted to bring up another tool, it’s called boast.io. You can ask your clients and your students to submit a video of their experience, and that is wonderful. We all love video in this day and age.
Here’s what that looks like:
Go ahead and look at your client process and decide when you want emails to go out. They might be triggered or come straight to you, at three months, six months, and one year. Whatever it is, you decide, but going ahead and teeing that up in advance can be really helpful.
For me, this works well as part of our HoneyBook (you probably know by now i’m a bit *obsessed* with HoneyBook) client workflow. A set amount of time after working with our clients, they get a system email—personalized!—asking them to fill out a questionnaire about what working with us was like.
There are a million other ways you could ask for a testimonial, and go for what you need. Do you need Google reviews? Facebook reviews? Direct your client to the right spot, but give ONE, simple set of instructions—again, if you can load that process into your client relationship tool, like a HoneyBook, then you’re in business.
For example, look at this email that I got from a vendor that we had worked with in my business. Now obviously, they probably send this to everybody at this phase. I’m guessing that it is template language, but it helped. I was excited to get it. It was the first time I was seeing it. I talk about templates all the time, but this one definitely worked on me.
I know I’ve also mentioned in past videos, the importance of buying your service. What I mean by that is if you’re charging $5,000 or $10,000 or whatever you’re charging for your service, or your product, be sure that from time to time, you’re going out and spending that amount in your business life, if it’s a B2B service that you provide or in your personal life.
What does it feel like as a human being to spend that dollar amount of money? What expectations do you have for the client experience, for the customer experience, How do you wanna share feedback with them on what you loved, what you didn’t love? <—- That is probably one of the *best* tips I’ve ever been given. I heard that from my friend Tarzan, that is one of the best tips to enhancing your client experience or your customer experience.
No. 4| Always be gathering
Okay, my next to last tip is this, be nonstop and gathering your testimonials. Semay Lenar Doose struck me with this in one of her videos, she was talking about how she runs her business, and out of all of the things that she outsources, one that she doesn’t outsource is the task of gathering and steeping in the testimonials, and the success stories of her business. That was a while back, I’m sure at this point in her business, she does get some help with that at least, but I thought that was interesting that as the CEO, the visionary of the business, she spends time in the weeds, reading and sorting through customer and client feedback.
Another pro tip here, and I’ve mentioned this in some videos before, but get really good at when somebody in your client experience gives you great feedback about whatever deliverable it was that you handed over to them, like, memorize this statement, I told it to a visual artists the other week, be good at saying, “You know what? I would love to clone you or have more people just like you, do you have anybody that you could recommend to me that needs this as well?” There’s a high likelihood that they would be more than happy to connect you with someone. People like being helpful.
When people say XYZ changed my life, I would love to do anything for you, take them up on it.
I am the queen of being bad about this, or thinking, yep, I’ll get to that, I’ll write that case study on down the line, but again, what I learned with this website relaunch is that really does matter. It matters to take the time and figure out what results people are seeing as a result of working with you, so you can use them in your marketing.
No. 5 | Make it Convenient for Clients
Do you talk a little more fluidly or even faster than you type. Can’t be just me, right?
When you’re reaching out to people and asking them to get back to you, sometimes it helps to let them do so in the manner that’s easiest for them…I’ve actually learned this veryyyy recently.
Over the past year, we hired and worked with a writing team that specializes in case studies and testimonials, which is why I talk about niching all. the. time. <<< how’s THAT for niching!?
Another tip I wanna give for you here. When we were writing a couple of the case studies, I outsourced to an incredible business, Joel, hey there, it’s called Case Study Buddy, I’m not an affiliate for them or anything. I just loved getting to watch their experience of asking my past clients what their experience with Ashlyn Writes was like, because I’ve had to see what it was like, and here’s what I learned. If my client would rather look at the questions and then turn on a Loom video and talk through the answers, then they let them do that. SO brilliant.
In fact, I turned around and did this twice for vendors that I hired in my business, and both of them loved it. You get to hear the tone and inflections.
I was probably a little more easygoing and just more natural than I would’ve been typing…even though I pretty much say what I mean when I type, too 😉
Like I mentioned earlier, another great tool we’ve started using is Boast.io. You can send a link to your clients or your customers and ask them to record a quick video and get that back to you. Genius.
If you’re only asking people to fill out a testimonial form, consider adding one of these tools as a secondary option or try both and see which one people respond more to.
Whichever option you’re choosing, make sure that you’re giving them the room and the white space to give you more stream of consciousness feedback.
Here are some other ways you can keep asking for feedback front of mind:
- When somebody reaches out and gives a compliment to my business, instead of just saying, “I’m so grateful, thank you.” I’m trying to get better at turning around to say, “Thank you so much. Would you mind either recording a little video about that, or would you mind if I used that in a testimonial?”
- If you have places to leave reviews on your website, could you direct them to go do that? (Seriously, I’m so bad at this, but I’m learning to get better and ASK! People say yes to stuff like this!)
- During your client process, if your client shares how much they love you and your work, that can be a really good time to chime in and see if they would refer your name out. You can say, “Thank you so much. I would actually love to work with more people just like you. Can you think of anyone that you may know in your network that may need just this thing, too?”
I’m telling you, when people say, “Your X, Y, Z changed my life. Is there anything I can do for you,” take them up on it.
Preaching to the choir, y’all.
Whether you’ve got no team, a tiny team, or a huge team, I think it is our job, as the owners, to be on the lookout of any transformational opportunity that’s happened because of the work you’ve been up to.
More on that in a sec. 🙂
No. 6 | Ask the right questions
Aka don’t ask binary yes or no questions.
Asking open-ended questions is going to get you richer feedback.
Try to arrange your questions to get these type of answers:
- Figure out what life looked like before they hired you or before they worked with you …
- Ask what led them to your product and why they decided to pull out their credit card and give over that precious information …
- And find that “after” picture.
I get asked a lot about mistakes I see on creatives’ websites, here is a big one. ~Vanilla~ testimonials. Ex. “She does such beautiful work,” or, “She is just so easy to work with.”
Your testimonials have the power to overcome huge objections, so let them, which brings me to …
No. 7| Use testimonials to address objections
If you hear objections over and over again, see if you can get a testimonial that says the reverse of that, and put THAT on your services or sales page.
For example: If a bride is thinking that she has to handwrite the address of all of her guests on every single envelope, and she’s only asked you to design the suite. You’d definitely like the add-on upsell of being asked to hand address all of the envelopes … and you know it’s in her budget, she just thinks it will be “fun.” << famous last words 😉 Say this scenario happens every couple of clients.
Could you, then, have a testimonial locked and loaded on your services page to the tune of, “Oh my gosh, I had NO idea how busy I would be planning a wedding. Having Leah’s artistry on every single envelope that went out not only made every guest feel so special, much more than my cursive would have, but it also shaved off about 14 hours of time I know it would’ve taken me.”
See what I mean?
This is something that we need inside the funnel. We need to combat that objection with a testimonial of somebody saying how much of a breath of fresh air it was to have that off their plate during the planning process. See what I mean?
No. 8| Change around the wording to make it easy to read
Here’s the thing:
Testimonials that look like they weigh 5 lbs. aren’t getting you anywhere, but testimonials are your first-class ticket to getting your audience to trust you. Social proof? It’s invaluable!
In this old-ish FB live, I’m giving you my own testimonial formula that straight up WORKS and the permission to change testimonials your clients have already given you (Yup. You heard me … just follow up with their permission after re-stacking the sentences like I tell you to in this video).
Click below to watch!
Okay, so let’s recap, because I want you to have the most beautiful testimonials on the block.
- Problem, solution, resolution … that’s your money-maker order of sentences.
- How do you get that? It’s all in the ask! Don’t forget Tip 3.
- You don’t JUST have to get testimonials from clients. Peer testimonials and character testimonials are great.
- Updating/switching the order on a testimonial is a-ok, BUT you gotta run it by them to get final permission.
Organize your learnings well
And finally, being a launch copywriter, I see so.much.testimonial data—some organized well, some not so well. 😉
Here are some ways that I have learned to organize testimonials in my own business:
First, use a foldering system. This works great for screenshots, whether somebody DMs you something or posts in a Facebook group that you happen to be in, it’s so easy to do a screen grab and drop it in a folder.
Second, create spreadsheets. These tend to work best for more long-form testimonials. (I spend a whole Copywriting for Creatives™ lesson talking about how to actually arrange these sentences in the way that will pack the most punch when you’re turning around and using them as copy on your website—CfC’ers, you know what to do!)
What do you think? Do you feel comfortable asking for testimonials to use in your marketing?
Use testimonials like confetti. Don’t just stick them on one page of your website, but make sure that you’re weaving them across your entire website.
One place your testimonials should absolutely be is on your about page. If you want some ideas to ramp up your about page, you may be interested in watching this post here.
Don’t forget to grab your swipe file for other ideas on integrating social proof copy into your website!
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Reading Time: 12 Minutes
Those paragraph-chunk testimonials that you’ve been pasting all over tarnation? Y’know, the 6-sentence beauty your last dreamboat client or conference attendee sent over waxing poetic about ya?
Yeah. Soooo …. no one’s reading it. Here’s how to fix that!