Collecting Winning Website Testimonials

On any given day, we are faced with the challenge of making copious amounts of decisions. In the end, we want those decisions to be the right ones. Oftentimes, there is pride and sometimes money on the line with each decision we have to make. With so much at risk, we often turn to the recommendations and opinions of those around us to help validate a decision and reaffirm our conceptions. This is why featuring testimonials and reviews from our clients on a website can be so impactful.

When someone sees a quality and positive testimonial, it helps reassure them that the decision they are about to make will turn out successfully and ease any buyer’s remorse they may be afraid of. This process is called Social Proof and is critical to building trust. It can be the difference between creating a new lead or losing an opportunity forever.

Pieces of an A+ Testimonial

All of the pieces listed below may not always be available but we would encourage you to do your best to collect as many as you can for each. Checking off each box may be the difference-maker.

1. Brief Statement


Aim to collect a 1-2 sentence statement. The statement should cover what you helped the customer achieve and highlight the positive impact you generated for them. Let them be the star and keep the focus on what they were able to achieve or accomplish thanks to your product or service. If you need help on how to collect testimonials, refer to the section ‘How to Collect Testimonials.’

While these statements should be in the customer’s own voice, feel free to edit them for grammatical errors so that they present nicely. It is also alright to edit statements for length and clarity as long as you don’t disrupt the original intent.

2. Person’s Name


A statement is much more credible if someone’s name is behind it. You should aim, when possible, to get permission to use a first and last name with the statement. A first name only can also work as a stand-by.

For example;

“My dog was sprayed by a skunk last week and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the smell out. Polly’s Pooch Bath totally got rid of the stick. They are amazing!”

From Sally Jones, owner of Peaches the Pug

In cases where a name can not be used due to HIPAA regulations or for privacy restrictions, you can leverage the Role/Connection to your business in place.

For example; if the client was a patient who had Lasik surgery, you may go with;

“I can’t believe the difference in my vision after my recent Lasik surgery at Acme Eye. The doctors have literally helped me see again. How do you thank them for that?”

From a happy Lasik eye surgery patient

3. Role or Connection to your Business


Build additional authority or connect the statement to your business by including some added context.

Is the customer a Head of Marketing or Pulitzer Prize-winning author? Make sure and feature these additional credentials next to the name of the contributor. This helps build your credibility and the scope of your work.

If you serve multiple different types of customers, including statements from each customer type and noting that next to their name can also help you to connect to each profile type. 

Do you serve teachers, students, and counselors? Consider including a statement from each and note what their role is next to the name.

You can also use this to personalize the statement to your audience. In the previous example above for Polly’s Pooch Bath, we’d include the breed and name of the dog which appeals to other dog lovers.

4. Photo/Headshot/Visual


Make the text come to life and feel more personable by including a photo or headshot of the contributor. You’ll be amazed at how open people are to sharing a photo of themselves to include with their statement. Oftentimes, we’ll even just ask for their social media profile picture if they don’t have anything else.

Research has shown that when we see a face, we are more likely to pause and take in what is being communicated. A strategically placed face next to a glowing review is exactly where you want a visitor to stop and pay attention.  It’s harder to discredit what someone is saying when their face is right next to the statement. The visual can also break up what can be a lot of text on a page.

You might also consider leveraging a short video testimonial in place of the text and image. Let the visitor hear it directly from the mouth of another happy client.

Example testimonial from cybersprout.net

Leverage Video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? In today’s world of easy-to-access video tools like cell phones, getting a short video testimonial is much more realistic.

Ask a customer you trust, have worked with closely, and who you know is an advocate for your brand to use their phone or other camera to shoot a quick (one minute or less) video that shares what your business has helped them with and the impact it has made on their business or life. These statements, from the source, can be embedded directly within the site. Hearing it directly from their mouth can be extremely powerful in trust-building and proving authenticity.

Here is an example of a video testimonial given to us from our partner Chris Edmonds with the Purposeful Culture Group.

How to Collect a Testimonial

Google, Facebook, and Online Reviews

Many businesses already actively or passively collect online reviews through Google, Facebook, or other channels. Combing through these reviews for quality statements and then reaching out directly for permission to use on the website and to collect a headshot plus any other missing information can be a quick way to leverage what you already have.

Encouraging customers to use platforms like these to leave reviews not only provides you a pool to pull from but also help to build your rankings and search engine authority.

Quick Tip: The keywords used in a customer’s review on Google can help improve your local search engine optimization. While it is against Google’s policy to tell customers what to write, you can help guide them by asking them to talk about the products or services they purchase. Or ask them to talk about their project in regards to their experience.

Ask Happy Customers

I’m sure we all know of a few happy customers who would be willing to share their experiences with others. Many may have already done this for you verbally. Start to reach out to these individuals directly through email or phone and let them know you’re collecting statements to use on your website and could use their help.

One of the biggest challenges we find people encounter is that they don’t know what to write. Make sure to highlight that you only need 1-2 sentences (not a full-page story). This is often all it takes to remove the hurdles. Ask them to share in the first sentence what problem you helped them with. In the second sentence summarize the impact your work has made on their life or business.

In the email request, ask them to provide their official title and to attach a photo/headshot. Save the emails with their statements and approvals to confirm you have permission to use on your site.

Online Form

Set up a quick online form that collects each piece of information outlined above. This could be as easy as a free Google Form or building a form through your website as we have done at CYBERsprout. These forms can also include an opt-in approval that acts as permission to use the testimonial in marketing materials like your website.

Brad Chancellor

Brad Chancellor

I'm excited to help our partners find new ways to leverage their online web presence to meet their goals. When not at the office, you will catch me running, cycling or spending time with my dog Mira.

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