Freelance Tip: Display Your Praise


Whenever I’m considering going to a new restaurant or buying a new design book online, I always read the reviews. You have to right? If I can’t look at something tangible in my hand and judge it for myself, I have to put my faith in other’s experiences to make my decisions. And I usually don’t just read the first one either. I like to dig and read a good handful to get a good sense of what I might be buying into.

Finding the right Freelancer is often a similar process. For potential clients, it’s a scary thing to give money to a stranger and hope they can live up to their expectations. When people are investing so much money into working with you, they want to know that you are easy to work with and you are able to accomplish what they ask. My advice is to build a library of recommendations and success stories from previous clients/supervisors or colleagues and display them on your site.

How to Collect Testimonials

1) LinkedIn
The easiest way to collect testimonials is on linkedIn. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you should be. There are many benefits of having a professional profile, including having testimonials and getting job leads (and it’s all free). When you do request a recommendation, be sure to send a personalized to a  message along with the request.

2) Client Survey
After the project is finished, sending out a client survey is a great way to get honest feedback and a testimonial all in one. What’s nice is you can coach them on what you want the testimonial to be about by asking the right questions. Here are some common ones:

1. What is your name
2. What project did we work on together
3. Which business goals were you able to achieve with the help of my services?
4. What do you like the most about my services?
5. Are there any areas for improving your experience?

3) Asking For It Directly
If you feel that the outcome of the project was successful, you can reach out and ask for a small referral quote. If you’re looking for a general reference on their experiences working with you, I wouldn’t wait more than 2-3 weeks. But if you’re looking for a  Sometimes if it is a larger project, you might come back a few months later and ask them about the success (Return on Investment or ROI) of the project. If they say they have had great success, ask them if they could put it in numbers. For example: “The website that Loretta designed increased our traffic by 150%, leading to 15% more conversions” or something like that. If they have a hard time writing it, write one yourself and ask them if it’s both accurate and for permission to use this and reference them as the referer.

Having a good mix of success stories and personality references will help give you a little more credibility and give the client more confidence in choosing you.

4) Offering a price reduction (possibly a percentage) on their next project for a recommendation.
This is brilliant, because not only are you getting a recommendation, but you’re ensuring repeat business.

Where to Put Testimonials

You could place the testimonials in a number of places, all of which will yield different results:

1) The About Page
When people go to your about page they want to know what kind of person you are, so naturally it makes sense to have quotes about your great work ethics here. While i think this makes sense for the “character-driven” testimonials, but any that talk about how your services helped improve your client’s business, don’t make sense on the about page.

2) Near Your Services
An even more logical jumping point is looking at what they need (service), and then seeing the testimonial about that service near it. This is the closest example to how we shop and look at reviews online. The reviews are always on the same page as the product.

3) On Its Own Testimonial Page
This is how I have mine set up, because I didn’t want the testimonials to get in the way and be “in your face”. I wanted it to be clear where you could find them if you were interested. Others might argue that people could completely skip over the page completely and if they had been integrated on other pages, they have a higher potential of doing their job, which is to sway clients to contact you.

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4) Next to the Contact Form
Another place to add that extra push is next to the contact form. It serves as that cherry on top for potential clients, but one could argue that if they’ve already decided to check out the contact page, they need less convincing to pull the trigger.

5) In Print Promotions
I’ve spent so much time talking about web, but when making print promotion pieces to send out to potential clients/employers, slipping in a few testimonials is smart, but just don’t over do it.

In the end it is really up to you to figure out where your testimonials make the most sense in your marketing strategy.

Here are some other blogs on testimonials:

Web Design Trends: Testimonial Designs
How to Use Great Testimonials
How to Write a Client Survey