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How to Ask for Testimonials – 5 Effective Ways to Get Reviews

Ever wrapped up a project for a client, feeling like you hit a homerun? 

You delivered early, hit all the targets – you’re feeling good. 

Days or weeks pass and then… silence. 

No enthusiastic email.

No social media shoutout.

Just… an eerie quiet.

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We’ve all been there. 

Testimonials are pure gold for any business. 

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These nuggets of social proof show potential clients what kind of results you deliver.

The not-so-fun part though? Asking for them can be awkward.

The thought of putting yourself out there and maybe getting a “thanks, but no thanks”…

Not exactly what you had in mind when you over delivered. 

I’ve been there and I’m all too familiar with that “should I even ask?” feeling. 

And that’s why I put together this guide. 

Let’s talk about how to ask for testimonials and some sneaky-good strategies you can use to get amazing customer feedback. 

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What makes a valuable testimonial?

Studies have proven that most people trust online reviews to check when a product or service is worth it. 

This is because of the Bandwagon effect.

So essentially, the role of these testimonials is to convince potential customers you’re worth investing in. 

But not all testimonials are equal. 

Those “they did a really great job, thanks!” testimonials don’t exactly trigger FOMO for people, right?

For them to have a valuable impact on your sales, you’ve got to make the review stand out.

And you need to know how to do that. 

They’re more specific

The best testimonials are like mini-success stories.

They show how you helped a client with a specific problem.

What were they going through? Why’d they buy from you in the first place?

Then, what was the result?

Did you double their website visitors?

Did you get them more leads or sales?

Did you make them go viral?

Mention those details. They show other people exactly how you can help them too.

They have a face (and name)

We’re wired to trust other people’s experiences. 

So, including a client’s name, title, and ideally a photo or logo in your testimonials makes it more authentic.

People call bullsh*t on a lot of things these days.

They can sense when something’s not real.

You need to show that real people with real faces have benefited from your work. 

This type of social proof taps into that trust factor, making potential clients more likely to believe you’re not making it all up.

They make people feel things

Don’t just brag about results.

Make potential clients feel something.

You need to:

  • Speak about the problem
  • Why they came to you
  • What they felt
  • And why they took the plunge (buying from you)

Studies show that people subconsciously “catch” the emotions of others (emotional contagion)

Showing positive emotions from past customers makes others feel good, too. 

And this makes them trust you.

They push people to take action

While not exactly mandatory, you can use a call-to-action (CTA) as a “P.S.” that gets people hooked.

Just don’t be pushy. A simple line like “If you’re looking for similar results, DM me!” should work.

This can sometimes backfire, so do try and test it.

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Turns out, testimonials are better lead generators than case studies.  

How to ask for testimonials – 5 ways to pop the question

So, you’re confident, prepped, and ready (hopefully).

Now, let’s get creative with how you actually ask for those testimonials.

Way #1 – prep them from the start

Nobody likes a surprise pop quiz.

And when it comes to asking for feedback, a little heads-up goes a long way.

You wouldn’t want your client to be left scrambling for words about your service.

So, let them know beforehand that you value their opinion – 

And that you will be sending them a link to leave you a Google review once the job is done. 

This way, they can mentally prepare to send you feedback (hopefully) as you close the books on your project. 

Setting this expectation upfront shows you’re not some bait shop

You’re not desperately fishing for compliments.

You’re a confident business owner who values their input and wants to stay on top of your game.

Way #2 – write the review for them

Okay, so you finished the project and now it’s time to ask. 

What’s the secret to getting them to say yes? 

Make it easy and focus on their needs. 

People are naturally busy – 

And remembering to write a review often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.

The secret lies in making the process as frictionless as possible. 

The less mental gymnastics they need to do to sing your praises, the more likely they are to respond. 

So go ahead and draft the testimonial yourself. 

Give them options that highlight the project’s goals and the results you achieved together.

But keep the options short and sweet.

Something along the lines of…

“I’ve had X problem before I reached out to [Your Name/Company Name]. I was totally blown away by how much they knew about what I was going through. It was a breath of fresh air. They exceeded my expectations by [Specific Achievement]. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for [Your Service].”

Do something like above, but be smart about it. Use different ChatGPT models to help make it more human and relatable to the situation.

Writing it for them reduces their mental workload

It makes saying “yes” much easier because they can simply personalise the pre-written draft.

This triggers the Law of Reciprocity.

People have a natural tendency to return favours. 

And by making the request easy and helpful (saving them time), they’re more likely to reciprocate with a positive review.

For inspiration, here’s how I do it myself: 

how to ask for testimonials

And trust me, this actually works. 

Nearly 7/10 clients I do this for actually copy-and-paste the review. 

It’s incredibly effective.

But remember, happy clients with awesome results are more likely to sing your praises than anything else. 

So, keep delivering fantastic work, and the glowing testimonials will follow naturally.

Way #3 – find the low-hanging fruit

Let’s face it, bad reviews can sting way more than they help.

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So, obviously, when it comes to testimonials, you want to ask people who are already big fans.

There’s a cool trick that taps into the power of finding already-happy customers.

It’s called the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

In a nutshell, it focuses on asking your customers a simple question… 

“On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” 

There’s a certain computation that you’d have to do to get your actual score (use AI to give you a hand, maybe?).

And based on the answers you get, you can categorise their responses.

The ones who gave you a 9 or a 10 are your promoters

They love your service and would totally recommend you to anyone they know.

Makes sense for you to reach out to them and ask for a testimonial.

The best part is you’re not asking out of the blue. 

Their prior interaction with you is still fresh in their minds. 

This gives you the best chance to thank them for their business…

And to politely ask if they’d be willing to share their positive experience in a public review, like a Google Review.

Way #4 – offer an incentive

A “thank you” note, while heartfelt, might not be enough to nudge people to leave a public review. 

You need to give them a compelling reason to do it. 

Offering something extra is a good way to show your appreciation for their time. 

It will also encourage them to share something positive about you. 

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Here are some fun ideas to get those thumbs typing:

  • Discounts and perks – it can be a markdown on a future purchase, a free consultation, or early access to your next product launch. Anything that will make them feel like they’re getting something valuable. 
  • Charity donations – people like companies that give back – and you can use this to your advantage. Offer a donation to their favourite charity in their name. It shows them that you care about bigger things and advocacies. 
  • Exclusive offers – create a special offer just for reviewers. It can be a bonus feature they won’t find anywhere else. Or maybe access to premium content that’ll make them feel like they’re part of a secret club

Be upfront about the incentive. 

You also have to clearly explain how they can leave a review after receiving their reward.  

By offering a little extra, you boost your chance of getting a good review.

Way #5 – how to get video testimonials

Online reviews can be a mixed bag. 

Sure, they offer valuable insights. 

But with so many fakes out there, it’s tough to know what to believe. 

That’s why you should work for video testimonials, if possible. 

They carry undeniable authenticity that written reviews just can’t match.

Hold on, don’t roll your eyes yet.  

You’re probably thinking, “Nah, they’ll never do that!”

 But hear me out. 

We’re not asking for a full-blown movie. 

It can just be a quick, heartfelt message from your happy client.

Should be easy, as long as you give them a little nudge to get started.

First, write a short script for them. 

Next, give them clear instructions on how to film it. 

It would be best if you throw in an example to show them exactly what we mean. 

All they gotta do is record a quick selfie video saying a few nice things about you (think 3-5 sentences, tops).

Now, let’s be real, nobody does stuff for free.

So, to sweeten the deal, offer them a cool incentive – something valuable and exclusive that they won’t get anywhere else. 

Still freaking out about asking for testimonials? 

TBH, I used to feel the same.

I used to feel that asking for reviews can be off-putting and will make me seem desperate. 

But then I realised, those clients that are psyched about my work… They love me already.

They’re already proud of the results we’ve accomplished together. 

Asking for a testimonial just gives them a chance to brag a little.

So, let’s shift gears. 

When you ask for a testimonial, you’re not begging for a favour

You’re offering them an opportunity to share their success story (and how you helped them along the way).

So just stop freaking out already. 

Go ahead and take a sip of coffee (or a shot of tequila, whatever works) and shoot your shot.

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Building a testimonial culture as part of your marketing strategy

Yes, testimonials are great. 

They build trust and make people want to work with you.  

But here’s the thing: you can’t just ask for them. 

You need to earn them.

The trick is to chat with your clients throughout the project – not just when it’s done.

This way, you constantly get their feedback and keep improving your work for them. 

Do a fantastic job.

And you’ll naturally collect a bunch of great reviews you can use later.

When you cultivate a testimonial culture, you’re not just collecting compliments.

You’re turning satisfied customers into your salespeople. 

Their positive experiences – and reviews – create a feedback loop that helps your business grow.

So, put these tips into action and start collecting those glowing testimonials that will bring your marketing strategy to the next level.

Josiah is a multi-award-winning digital marketing consultant and former journalist for the Australia Times. He now helps 6-7-figure brands as a Fractional CMO to generate predictable leads and sales growth.​

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