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How to ask for and make the most of testimonials

Testimonials are great. We all prefer to use builders, electricians or plumbers who come recommended and it’s no different with many online businesses. In fact when it comes to choosing one website over another, a few decent testimonials will make all the difference.

The best testimonials are, of course, from those we know – friends, relatives or colleagues. But with many services, and when you’re talking about online, recommendations form those you know are going to be few and far between.

So what then?

Simple. The ones we go by are those which look like they’re written by real people.

That means a full name. Preferably followed by the town or city they’re from. Or, if relevant, their job title and organisation.


What do the best testimonials say?

The best testimonials are also specific.  Think of phrases such as: “I liked xxxx because of yyyy. ” Or “After using xxxxx, my sales went up by xx% in the next three months.” And how about: “I have continued to use them for x years.” Best of all are the testimonials which can combine several facts, figures and qualities. They’re also one to three sentences long is fine. Any longer than that and they’ll look better on their own case history page.

Testimonials which don’t look good are short, non-specific ones: “Great!”. Or “I love them!”. Combine those with just a first name or a couple of initials and they’re completely ineffective. In fact they can even put potential customers off as they look like they’ve been made up.

If you just have one or two testimonials, put them on key pages of your site – your homepage is the obvious starting place, or on a page relevant to what they’re talking about.  If you can get at least half a dozen testimonials then give them their own page. Remember to link to it from other pages on your site (mine are on my copywriting testimonials page).


How to solicit testimonials

So, how do you pick up some pukkah testimonials from your customers? Sometimes they’ll send you them unsolicited; often, you’ll need to request them. Just after you’ve done a great job for someone is the obvious time.  As mentioned above, ask them to be specific, and get their permission to use their kind words on your site. You may want to edit them a little for length  – it’s best to indicate this with an ellipsis (dot dot dot) between non-consecutive phrases or sentences. You may also want to correct basic errors or typos. As long as you’re not putting words in the writer’s mouth or giving a different impression than what they intended that’s acceptable.

Oh, and it should go without saying that you should never make up testimonials.  If your product or service is any good, you’ll never have to.


As well as my testimonials page, you can see some more nice words from clients in my copywriting case studies section.


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