There is a major difference between a "meh" testimonial and a great testimonial. A "meh" testimonial doesn't really help or show the visitor anything, while a great testimonial can turn last minute resistance into a sale.
The perfect testimonial gets your visitor thinking “Hey, I’m just like this person, and if they can do it, then I can do it, too!”
To have this effect, the best testimonials will indicate a problem, how your business solved it and then give specific details or results.
Here's some examples to illustrate what I'm talking about:
How do you get the great testimonials instead of the unhelpful ones?
You lead the person you’re asking with specific, open ended questions, instead of just asking for a testimonial.
In this post you’ll find 9 real examples of emails asking for feedback (not specifically for testimonials) as well as 13 questions you can use in your own emails and surveys.
When you ask for feedback and use specific, open-ended questions you have a much better chance at generating content for the perfect testimonial, rather than asking your customer for a testimonial without providing any direction.
If you find you’re not satisfied with the answers you’re getting over email, consider trying to get people on the phone and record their answers (with their permission) to eliminate the pain point of having to type out their answers.
9 Email Examples to Solicit Feedback for Amazing Testimonials
5 & 6
This is two emails (click to enlarge the images) in one sequence. Hubstaff created a 5 day course and they make sure to ask for feedback on the first AND the last day of the course. This is great for building a before and after testimonial with specific results.
Matthew Woodward sends this email to older subscribers who have had some time to check out his tutorials and asks for feedback by linking to his feedback page to give social proof that others have already done it.
13 Questions You Can Ask to Prompt Conversion Boosting Testimonials
The questions below are worded to work for products, but with a slight change they can also be used if you offer a service, training or workshops:
- What was your primary reason for buying this product?
- What are three benefits of this product?
- What was the hurdle that might have stopped you from buying this product?
- What did you discover after buying this product?
- What is a problem you have faced while using our product, and how did you overcome it?
- Describe how you used to do things before buying this product. How did things change after a few weeks of using the product? How do you feel now after using the product for a month?
- What specific feature did you like most about this product?
- Would you recommend this product? Why or why not?
- Now that you have been using it for a while, what one thing does this product do, that no other similar product does?
- If you could tell someone thinking about buying the product anything, what would you tell them?
- Did you have any “ah-ha!” moments while using the product?
- If you were talking to someone else in your industry, what would you tell them about our product?
- Anything else you’d like to add?
Use Our Free Mini-Course to Master Testimonials
In the course you'll discover:
- How to collect & keep your testimonials up to date automatically
- 10+ Places to display your testimonials to boost conversions
- How to get testimonials even if you have no clients
Generating powerful testimonials through emails is only one tool in your metaphorical tool belt, which is why we've created this free mini-course (and Thrive Ovation) to show you how to really take advantage of them.
Love to see the real e-mail samples and sample question ideas. The whole testimonial mini-course with the videos from Hanne was very useful and you sort of condensed the suggestions from that here.
I’ve actually been really liking Thrive Ovation to finally stop my procrastination when it comes to testimonials. I recently sent out a campaign to ask for feedback after setting up a form and it’s had a pretty nice response.
Here are a couple of things I’ve been doing:
1. I use Mailchimp for my opt-ins and they have a great “rating” feature for your lists that gives a star level to users based on their open and click rates. I sent out the campaign just to my 4 and 5-star subscribers since I already know they’re engaged.
2. I created an extra free gift in addition to the opt-in rewards that I reserve just for visitors who give me permission to share their feedback, which is a question I’m sure to ask on Thrive Ovation so I don’t upset anyone unintentionally. Of course, I let visitors know about the reward under the link to my feedback page.
3. Going forward I’ll be building in a feedback request after my mini-course has been sent out to (hopefully) keep getting testimonials on auto-pilot.
One issue I’m having is the lack of user photos. Very few seem to have Gravatar set up and I know how much better testimonials work with photos. For now I’m having to manually ask users for it, which isn’t optimal and gets easily ignored. Any suggestions on that?
Hi Josh! Glad you enjoyed the post and are enjoying Thrive Ovation 🙂
Those are some awesome suggestions for getting testimonials on auto-pilot, so thanks for sharing what has been working for you!
As for the photos…it’s something we also have issues with and we haven’t developed anything groundbreaking on the front. However, one idea might be to have a link to gravatar on your feedback page and talk about how important the photo is for creating a social media presence.
This is an interesting post and I look forward to deepening my knowledge of how to ask for useful testimonials by studying the free mini-course you offer.
At the same time, not all of the examples above are quite right in the context of testimonials. For example, no. 2 (the email from Jon Morrow) wasn’t meant to elicit testimonials; it marked the start of his ASK process (i.e., the ASK method developed by Ryan Levesque).
Leaving that aside, this post was full of inspiring examples and I look forward to implementing the suggestions with the help of Thrive Ovation.
Hi Mary! Glad you enjoyed the post and the mini-course.
I agree…many of the examples aren’t specifically for gathering testimonials and that’s the magic in many of them. When you specifically ask for testimonials, it’s harder to dig deeper into the problems you’re helping people solve, which is part of what makes a testimonial powerful.
However, when you ask for feedback and find out more about your customers position you start generating really great content that you can then use for a powerful testimonial, even if that’s not the primary goal of survey.
Hope you enjoy Thrive Ovation!
Good examples. My favorite is Jon Morrow’s (and not just because of his awesome name) because it is short and simple. And because a question in the subject line is very good for conversions. Really like how your course breaks down the key elements of a great testimonial, good luck with your launch and the future of your product.
Glad you enjoyed the examples and the course, Jon!
This is useful. Thanks for sharing the real examples.
No problem Doug! Glad you found them useful 🙂
I was wondering about a template where there is a complate “use ready” sollution where I have only rewrite the pages. It would be fantastic.
Thanks for the suggestion Tamas…will look into it!
Hey there, great article!
Very inspiring and immediately started building this into our mailing automation. Also thx Joshua for the tip about only addressing your 4-5 stars in the list.
Thrive, you ROCK!
Sure, yeah, every single one (I got about a 15% response to it) left a glowing review so that would be the segment I would start with if you aren’t sending it out to everyone.
Glad you enjoyed the article Luke 🙂
The Groove approach seems very personal and I like that. It seems that it targets various categories and after then it sends the email. If better, it addresses each individual, then Groove has a really good customer service and that influences a lot what people think about the brand!
Yes, being personal is definitely an amazing tip. Much better to go that route over the canned automation 🙂
Great. Excellent advice and guidance….. X
Glad you enjoyed it Heather!
I started using Ovations this week, and I’m so glad I added it to my site. After learning how to use the tags for filtering and presenting testimonials, I also realized how useful the slide presentation themes can be for my blog, sales, and landing pages. The themes are beautifully designed and they help spruce up my content pages. I’m so pleased with Ovations that I’m now considering subscribing to all the Thrive products. Thank you for creating this valuable tool.
Happy to hear that Bakari!
Wonderful! I have found it challenging to ask for a client review – and then to have it fall on deaf ears is not ideal.. Thanks for this list – esp #4 – my favorite!
No problem Bren! Glad you found the post helpful 🙂
No problem Bren! Glad you found it helpful 🙂