As a freelance copywriter or designer, one low-cost way to promote your business or services is to collect and feature testimonials from past clients.
Customer testimonials are as powerful as any persuasive marketing copy out there, and because they’re coming from a third party, they are more authentic than any promotional copy you may write on your own.
Good testimonials will increase your credibility in the eyes of potential clients and back up any claims you may make about your abilities. Here are some tips for collecting and utilizing client’s kind words to promote yourself and win future jobs.
1. Ask permission
If you are speaking with a client about a project and they start to launch into a compliment or give you positive feedback be ready to take note of what they’re saying and jot it down. At the end of the comment, simply thank them and ask their permission to use the comment as a testimonial. For example, you could say, “Thank you for the positive feedback. I am glad you’re happy with my work. Would you mind if I used your kind words along with your name/company name in a testimonial on my website?” If they are pleased with your work, then it’s likely they will also be happy to help you promote yourself.
2. Solicit testimonials
If you are just getting started as a freelancer, or if your clients aren’t the type to gush compliments to you, you may need to solicit some kind words. Try asking a client if he or she has any feedback for you, if it’s positive feedback then you may have a testimonial, if it’s negative, then at least you’ll learn how to improve your services. Another easy way to solicit testimonials is through a LinkedIn profile. If you are a member of the professional social network LinkedIn, you can add your client as a connection and solicit a “recommendation” from them through the website, which will appear on your profile page. You can then either direct prospective clients to your LinkedIn profile, or copy and paste the recommendation (with your client’s permission) for use in other promotions.
3. Start a file or folder
You may have a warm rapport with clients and hear great compliments all the time, but if you are not asking permission and recording the comments, they are of no value to you. Start a file on your computer, or a hard copy in your filing cabinet. If you ever want to send out a promotional mailing or e-mail, or even take out an advertisement, you’ll know where to find your testimonials. Always be sure to note the name of the speaker in your files.
4. Keep the testimony relevant and specific
You could have the best, most laudatory comment in the world from a client, but if you list “anonymous” as the source, or only list a first name or initials, the testimonial won’t be as effective. To make an impression, be sure to use your client’s real first and last name, title and company name. You should basically strive for as much information as they will allow. Also pay attention to the kinds of customers you are trying to work with in the future. Are you pitching to CEOs, production managers and marketers? Try to get testimonials from people who share similar titles and roles as the clients you would like to work with in the future and include their job titles in the testimonial.