How to Ask for a Testimonial: 4 Ways That Really Work (Plus Best Practices)

How to Ask for a Testimonial: 4 Ways That Really Work (Plus Best Practices)
Colin Newcomer Colin Newcomer Mar 17, 2020 —  6 min read

Displaying testimonials is a great way to turn potential customers into existing customers.

In a nutshell, testimonials show that you can back up all the attractive claims in your marketing copy and you have real happy customers to prove it. But while the benefits of testimonials are pretty clear, figuring out how to ask for a testimonial isn't quite as simple.

When customers give you a testimonial, they are doing you a favor. They're taking time out of their busy days to create content that will help you be more successful.

To help you convince customers to do you that favor, this post is going to dig into how to effectively ask for testimonials.

We'll start by covering four best practices for asking for testimonials and then we'll show you four tactics you can use to put those best practices into action.

If you do the math, that's eight great tips and tactics for how to ask for a testimonial – let’s dig in!

Four best practices for how to ask for a testimonial

Regardless of which channels you use to ask your customers for a testimonial, there are some best practices that you'll want to follow.

1. Offer something in return (ethically!)

First, it's important to note that we're not recommending you try to “buy” positive testimonials, as the ethics of that are grey at best.

However, there are ethical ways that you can offer value to people who provide you with a testimonial.

For example, here at Getsitecontrol, we make sure to highlight the businesses of people who provide us with testimonials when we display those testimonials on the Getsitecontrol website or include them to our blog posts.

You can provide a brief blurb about people's businesses, and maybe even a link to their website. That way, they get some helpful exposure in exchange for sharing their testimonials.

Some businesses also offer something more tangible in exchange for a testimonial, like a discount on the testimonial giver's next purchase. If you go this route, just make sure you stress that you're looking for honest opinions.

2. Get the timing right (ask at the “Ah-ha!” moment)

The next tip is to ask for testimonials at the right time.

So… what's the right time?

Put simply, you want to ask for a testimonial as soon as possible after your product has delivered value to your customer. This is often called your product or service's “Ah-ha!” moment.

Customers are at their happiest because they just accomplished something, which means they're primed to offer some positive thoughts.

For example, if you're a freelancer, you could ask immediately after delivering the final project. Or if you have a software app that helps people survey their website visitors, you could ask after a person successfully gets their first survey response.

3. Make it easy for customers to leave feedback

Remember – customers are doing you a favor by providing their thoughts, so don't waste their time.

When you ask for a testimonial (typically via a form), keep that form as simple as possible. Collect only the information you absolutely need and try to just generally keep the form as frictionless as possible.

Getsitecontrol contact form builder – dashboard overview

4. Ask the right questions to get useful testimonials

The previous three tips have mostly focused on convincing people to leave a testimonial in the first place. This last tip is focused on how to make those testimonials count.

See, the questions that you ask will help you generate testimonials that most effectively convince your potential customers to make their purchase.

While a generic “Please share your experience” has its place, you can often elicit more useful responses by focusing your questions on your visitors' pain points.

For example, if you think a major pain point for your potential customers is the fear that your tool will be too difficult to install on their website, you might phrase a testimonial question to existing customers like this:

“How did you find the setup process? Was it easy? Difficult?”

Then, you could use that focused testimonial to directly address the pain points of people who are still in the decision phase.

Four effective channels to ask for a testimonial

Now that you know the best practices for asking for a testimonial, let's dig into some of the actual methods you can use to solicit testimonials.

1. Send out email requests (manually or automatically)

Email is a tried-and-true channel to ask for client testimonials.

There are two ways you can go about it:

  • Manually
  • Automatically

Manually sending an email is great if you're a freelancer or agency who's developed a close relationship with a client. In such scenarios, sending an automated email feels impersonal and, on such a small scale, you're not saving much time.

If you're dealing with customers on a larger scale, though, the automated route probably makes more sense.

Most email marketing tools make it easy to set up basic automation, so you can send timely emails and use a personalized testimonial email template.

Going back to our “survey app” example from the best practices section, you could create an email automation rule so that as soon as one of your users gets their first response to a survey, you can fire off an automatic email like this:

You just got your first response!

Hey [Name],

Your website survey is live, and you just got your first response. Congratulations! You're well on your way to connecting with your customers on a deeper level and gathering valuable feedback.

We know how valuable that feedback can be, which is why we'd love to hear about your experience with [Product]. Would you be willing to share your experiences using [Product] in a short 3-minute feedback survey? You'd have a chance to show up in our testimonial section, where we'd be sure to feature [Customer Website].

Click here to give us feedback.

2. Display in-app contact or survey forms

You already know that timing is important when asking for testimonials. But even if you trigger an email based on user activity, there's still a lag between when a customer is using your product and when they see your testimonial request email.

For a more immediate alternative, you can display in-app testimonial/survey forms.

For example, at Getsitecontrol, we display an in-app feedback request form as a floating side tab, which guarantees we're catching our users while they're actively engaged with the product.

Just like with the email method, you can use automatic triggers to make sure you're asking for a testimonial at the right time. For example, you could wait to display your feedback request until a visitor hits a confirmation page.

Getsitecontrol targeting settings make it really easy to create these in-app feedback forms and display them at the right time/spot.

3. Consider dedicated testimonial apps

While it's totally possible to collect testimonials without a dedicated app, there are some tools that are 100% focused on helping you with just that.

As a starting point, you can find dedicated apps that help you collect and display testimonials across multiple platforms. Some popular options here are:

For example, Boast can help you collect both text and video testimonials via website forms, smartphone apps, emails, and more. It can then help you organize all of those testimonials and display them on your website.

Here's an example of a testimonial feedback form from Boast – you can see how it integrates video into the request:

Boast testimonial feedback form example

Beyond those, you can also find dedicated testimonial apps for specific platforms. For example, if you're running a Shopify store, you can use tools like EVM Testimonials & Review or Kudobuzz Reviews.

Or, if you’re on WordPress, you can use the dedicated Getsitecontrol plugin to create feedback forms.

4. Monitor social media for happy customers

Thanks to the popularity of social media, you might already have some glowing testimonials without even knowing it.

Poke around on social media and see if you can find some happy customers. Then, you have 2 options:

  • Ask them for permission to share their existing social media post on your website. If it's already structured as a testimonial, this is great because it adds another layer of authenticity, especially when you embed the post straight from social media.

  • Ask them if they'd be willing to write you a dedicated testimonial.

Because you already know they're happy with your product and willing to publicly share that happiness, it's a lot easier to go straight to asking for a testimonial.

While manually searching social media can be time-consuming, there are a lot of great social media management tools that can automatically monitor brand mentions for you. For example, the aptly named Mention tool.

Start asking for testimonials today

Displaying testimonials on your website is a great way to use social proof to turn more visitors into customers. However, before you can start reaping the benefits of testimonials, you need customers to share their kind words with you.

At a basic level, collecting testimonials is simple – you just need to ask. But how you ask can make the difference between getting a glowing, conversion-boosting testimonial and never hearing back.

Focus on asking the right questions at the right time with the right incentives. Then, use channels like email, in-app messaging, and social media to connect with customers and gather feedback.

If you're looking for the easiest way to start asking customers for testimonials, the Getsitecontrol contact or survey popups can have you up-and-running with targeted in-app testimonial request forms in minutes.

Begin your free trial today and start gathering testimonials from your happy customers.

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about WordPress and digital marketing.

You're reading Getsitecontrol blog where marketing experts share proven tactics to grow your online business. This article is a part of Customer engagement section.

Main illustration by Icons8

Get the print version

Download a PDF version of our blog post for easier offline reading and sharing with coworkers.

Download PDF