Testimonials are free marketing – Here’s how to ask!

Two women shaking hands
Referrals and testimonials help businesses grow

The advertising world is realising that traditional methods of marketing – in which a product is presented along with its benefits to the consumer – isn’t necessarily connecting with customers as effectively as they once did before instant communication was so readily accessible. Enter: testimonials and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Statistics show 92% of consumers would trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family over traditional advertising. It proves that if a consumer feels they can trust your product or service – a feeling which is enhanced by a word-of-mouth recommendation – then they are much more likely to buy from you over competitors.

Invest in word-of-mouth testimonials

The good news is that unlike advertising, referrals are free! However, this doesn’t mean it is necessarily an easy process to gather referrals for your business.

The thought of asking your previous customers to write a testimonial for you may make you feel uncomfortable. Even if you are confident in the capability of your product or service, asking for praise can sometimes make the best of us squirm. 

But no need to worry – I’ve provided some tips below to make the process easier.

Tip one: Ask at the right time

If a client has only recently come on board with your business, now is probably not the right time to ask them for a testimonial. Instead, wait a month or two until they can see the positive results of your work and ask them for some feedback. 

If they willingly share their positive experience with you over the phone or in an email, ask them if they’d be happy to leave a public review, and offer them the link where they can do this. Remind them that reviews and testimonials are a great way to help you grow your business – most people are happy to support you in any way they can! 

Tip two: Give your customers an incentive

We’re all time-poor. Most of us have emails flooding our inboxes each day and it can be difficult to prioritise what correspondence to answer first. So give your customers an incentive to leave you some positive feedback if you want them to respond promptly.

For example, you can ask them for a testimonial in return for 10% off their product or service, or they could go in the running to win a monthly prize. 

Tip three: Make it easy to reply

I once shopped at a technology store and bought a big-ticket item. They emailed me a day later asking for some feedback in return for a 10% off voucher. 

So far, so good. 

I clicked through to the survey and ten minutes later found I was still answering long-winded questions. As the questionnaire dragged on, I ended up clicking out of it, feeling frustrated that I had wasted my time. Even though I was initially happy with the service at the store, the survey left me feeling annoyed. 

The lesson here? If you’re going to ask for feedback, do so simply. 

If you plan on sending a survey, make sure it only takes, at the most, two minutes to complete, and your questions help you get the feedback you really need – i.e. around value, customer satisfaction, timeliness, quality etc. 

Tip four: Carefully craft your questions

If you know your customers personally – for example, if you are a small business and offer a monthly service to them – then you might decide to email them individually and ask for a unique testimonial.

Your email might look something like this:

Hi (customer name),

We realised earlier this month that we’ve been working together to help you [insert service objective] for [number] months now – how time flies! 

I am just personally checking in to see how you have found your experience with us so far? 

If you have any feedback or questions, I would be happy to discuss these with you at your earliest convenience, as we pride ourselves on our high level of customer satisfaction and would hate to think you have not found this to be the case. 

If you’re like our many happy clients, we’d love to hear your feedback also so that we can continue to do more of it! Please let us know what you love about [insert company name]. If you’re happy to add your review of us here [insert link] – we’d be so appreciative also! 

Looking forward to working with you for many more months and years to come. 

Thanks for helping us to help more clients like yourself. 

Kind regards, 

[your name]


If you have many customers who you don’t know personally, your emails would look a little different, as they wouldn’t be as specific. However, still try to stick to open-ended questions in order to capture some great quotes from happy customers.

For example, you could ask your happy customers:

  • What made you choose our product?
  • How has the product improved your life?
  • Is there anything surprising about the product that you weren’t expecting?

You might be pleasantly surprised at the kinds of things your happy customers write back to you with!

If you can embed the questions in a form that sits within the email, you might be able to get a higher conversion by reducing the effort required on their part to respond to you.

You don’t get if you don’t ask

Remember that we’re all busy and although we might mean to thank someone for a job well done, sometimes, we simply forget to do it. 

By prompting our customers for testimonials on your product or service, you might be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to gain positive feedback.

At first, it can feel uncomfortable to ask for recommendations, but over time it becomes easier and before you know it you’ll find you have a lot of testimonials to work with.

And if your products or services are top-notch, then those testimonials will flood in. Just make sure you leverage them when they do!

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