<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=658263587654409&ev=PageView&noscript=1" /> How to Get Killer Testimonials (& Why It's Ok to Change the Wording Sometimes!) | Blog from Ashlyn Carter | Launch Expert & Copywriter for Creatives


I've been called the OG of copywriters for creatives, wink—I hook up women with words as a launch copywriter & brand strategist. Even while raking in more than 7-figures since I've been at it, I believe working from a place of rest (not hustle) IS possible—and I want the same for you.
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May 21, 2018

How to Get Killer Testimonials (& Why It’s Ok to Change the Wording Sometimes!)

Reading time: 5 min.

What’s the MOST effective way to write copy … without really writing copy? Figure out how to get better testimonials, of course!

I know you’re not crazy about bragging (and that’s probably why I like you so much), but at the same time, you need the social proof that testimonials and reviews offer you as a creative small business owner.

But those paragraph-chunk testimonials that you’ve been pasting all over tarnation?

You know, the 6-sentence beauty your last dream client or customer sent over waxing poetic about you?

Yeah. Soooo …. it’s likely not being read, simply because it’s tough to wade through.

How to get better testimonials

Read on for some quick, simple tips to get killer testimonials (+ how to format them!). Plus, don’t miss the freebie download—13 swipe-file ideas for adding more social proof to your website.

Secret 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Craft a signature experience—bonus points if you can productize and streamline the service
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. Go through your process as an outsider
  6. Update your workflow and process every single time you wrap up a client project
  7. Communicate like a champ—here’s my blog on “How to Create a Welcome Packet: Copy to Include and Omit”

Related: How I Use HoneyBook & Trello for My Client Workflow

Secret 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

Examples …

Courtesy The Contract Shop

Courtesy: The Contract Shop

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.

Secret 3: Ask for the testimonial the right way

“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.

For me, this works well as part of our 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.

Sure, we get to use the comments to market to future clients and customers … but we also learn what we could do better.

Here’s what that looks 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 only send them to one. It gets confusing (and is kinda a lot to ask) for you to drive them to multiple links.

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.

Related: How I Use HoneyBook & Trello for My Client Workflow

Secret 4: Change the Wording & Make it Easy to Read

WAIT! What you may be thinking may not be what I’m thinking, entirely.

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 video blog, 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.

  1. Problem, solution, resolution … that’s your money-maker order of sentences.
  2. How do you get that? It’s all in the ask! Don’t forget Tip 3.
  3. You don’t JUST have to get testimonials from clients. Peer testimonials and character testimonials are great.
  4. Updating/switching the order on a testimonial is a-ok, BUT you gotta run it by them to get final permission.

Secret 5: Don’t put them all on one page!

I feel like 99% of creatives’ websites have a great big ol’ testimonials page, and that’s fine and all … but what if the user never works his or her way over there?

Put them on your home page, about page, services page, and beyond—they’re a stud piece of marketing copy to use in your business!

What do you think? Do you feel comfortable asking for testimonials to use in your marketing? Don’t forget to grab your swipe file for other ideas on integrating social proof copy into your website!

Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure your words sell. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.

free mentoring? yes, please

What do you think?

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  1. Kelly

    September 21st, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    What would you say is a good “set amount of time” to wait before asking for the testimonial?

  2. Ashlyn Carter

    September 25th, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Hey Kelly, Thanks for your question! There’s really no “ideal” amount of time because a client who had a great experience working with you is always going to be able to speak to that, but we typically ask for testimonials from our clients as soon as we complete their project. That said, there’s nothing wrong in going back to a former client who is your “ideal audience” and saying something like “Hi friend, I’m updating my web copy with a few client testimonials, and I would love to feature you!” Get those testimonials, girl. Don’t let time stop you! xo. Team AW

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