How to use testimonials
Wondering how to use testimonials in marketing your health and wellness business? You've come to the right place! In this post, you'll learn why testimonials are important, why testimonials are effective, how to get customer testimonials consistently, and how to get good testimonials from colleagues and event organizers and attendees!
Table of Contents
- Why are testimonials important?
- Why are testimonials effective (or ineffective)?
- An important note
- How to get customer testimonials consistently
- How to use testimonials in marketing
- Let's take action
- Share this post
It's not just a jargon-y marketing term. It's a very real piece of the puzzle when it comes to communicating what you do to the people you most want to reach.
Used thoughtfully, social proof acts as a compelling signpost that conveys to your site visitors, "But, don't just take MY word for it..."
Links to press features, logos of brands you've partnered with... the sky's the limit when it comes to positioning yourself as a credible source of support for your audience.
And one of the most powerful, yet misunderstood, forms of social proof in the health + wellness world... is the testimonial.
Read on for some recommendations on how to use testimonials to market your health + wellness business:
Why are testimonials important?
If you've never stopped to consider how to use testimonials in your marketing, you might be wondering why they're potentially valuable.
This is a fair question!
When we talk about building "credibility" as a health and wellness professional, it can seem very much like we're focusing on ourselves: Our reputation, our background, our expertise...
And to some degree, we are.
But, the real purpose behind using testimonials as part of a marketing strategy is that, ultimately, they benefit the people we're trying to reach.
So often, the people landing on our sites are experiencing uncertainty about what they need, and whether the particular type of support you offer is right for them.
Our job is to equip them with the information they need to make a good, informed decision for themselves.
We can do this in a variety of ways, including:
- clearly describing who we help, how we help them, and how to take the next step to connect with our offer(s)
- creating free, relevant content that educates, encourages, and clarifies potential points of confusion that are acting as barriers for our people
- sharing a descriptive picture of the experience and benefits of working with us
Testimonials can be an excellent way to accomplish that last aim. But we have to go about it thoughtfully. Read on for a breakdown of what makes a testimonial effective (or ineffective).
Why are testimonials effective (or ineffective)?
No matter how transformative your offer might be, collecting testimonials isn’t quite as simple as you might think it is.
Often, our people find it challenging. Even intimidating. They’re not always sure where to begin, what (or how much) to say…
It can feel like quite a chore! (Even— sometimes especially— for the people who have the most to share about the experience of working with you.)
This can lead to 2 unfortunate situations:
Not getting testimonials at all
It’s human nature to avoid an unpleasant task!
So, if you’re not seeing many testimonials rolling in… it might be time to make the process easier on your people.
Glowing reviews can feel wonderful! Who wouldn’t want to bask in the glow of kind words
Trouble is, that feedback tends to sound pretty… generic.
When our people (gems that they are!) want to express their enthusiasm + appreciation, they often double down on the non-specific adjectives.
And this edges their testimonials into the uncomfortable territory of hyperbole. The kind of exaggerated copy that blurs the actual picture of what they experienced in your work together.
If you've encountered this in your business, not to worry! I've got a simple process to share that can make life a lot easier for you and the people offering feedback.
An important note:
Because I’m speaking to a global audience that represents many different health and wellness fields (and types of work, including coaching and consulting), it’s not helpful for me to reference one particular governing body over another. Instead, I always encourage each individual to adhere to the standards of their particular board or code of ethics, where relevant, to determine if/how testimonials might be used in their business.
If you're unable, for any reason, to collect and share testimonials from the individuals you work with, there likely are still some creative ways you can use others' feedback to paint a picture of your work! Read on for some ideas.
How to get customer testimonials consistently
As we established earlier:
Testimonials can be tricky to write!
Many people find the process overwhelming, which leads them to offer surface-level feedback (or none at all).
To help make the process easier on testimonial-writers and improve the quality of feedback they share, here are a few simple strategies you can experiment with in your business:
With more of our communication happening online everyday, there are ample opportunities to collect organic feedback from your people right there on your phone!
Spot a thoughtful comment on a piece of content you've shared? Take a screenshot and save it to your copy bank.
Receive a lovely note of thanks in your DMs? Screenshot it.
These literal snapshots of feedback can provide compelling social proof of your impact in your people's lives. Including them in emails and on sales and services pages can really help enrich the picture of your offers. (Note: Be sure to obtain permission before sharing publicly.)
If you create online courses or other programs, designating a space to celebrate student/participant "wins" (big and small!) is an easy way to encourage feedback from your people.
When someone shares a "win" with you, you not only have the opportunity to highlight their progress in a meaningful way, but you also can share that with your broader audience as an acknowledgement of your student's effort and the guidance and support your program provides!
Collect survey responses
I've used the same simple method for collecting testimonials, and I recommend it to all my copy coaching clients and students, too:
Create a feedback survey + use it to draft your own testimonials.
Here's why I love this approach:
- You can easily incorporate this into your workflow, framing it as an opportunity to reflect on your work together (which it is!)
- You can build a database of feedback, which you can then use to refine and improve your programs and processes
- You ease the burden of testimonial-writing for your people while inviting deep and descriptive impressions of their experience working with you
Seriously, if you take nothing else from this post, please give this method a try!
How to use testimonials in marketing
If you're able to collect feedback from the people you serve, one of the most straightforward ways to use testimonials in marketing your health and wellness business is to build the survey method into your offboarding/wrap-up workflow.
Once an individual's survey responses come in, get right to work drafting a testimonial and sending it for their review.
When the final testimonial is ready, add it to a designated space in your copy bank, for use in your marketing whenever you're ready!
Some places to share testimonials:
- on your website (e.g., Home, About, Services/Work with Me, Contact, FAQ pages)
- on social media (e.g., posts to your feed, Stories, Reels, and Guides)
- in any other marketing or educational materials you create (e.g., emails, digital brochures, presentation slides)
But what if you're unable (for any reason) to collect and share testimonials from the people you serve?
There are still plenty of ways to collect others' feedback for genuine social proof:
Use testimonials from professional allies
You're already taking the time to build meaningful connections with your professional allies. Why not invite them to share their feedback on you and your work as they've experienced it?
Using a modified version of the survey method, you could ask your colleagues, collaborators, and referral sources to respond to questions like:
- what characteristics describe me and my work?
- what has your experience been like partnering with me professionally?
- who do I serve best?
- what do I do best?
- who wouldn't be a good fit for my programs and/or services?
- what are some of my opportunities for growth and improvement?
- what do you appreciate about our professional relationship?
- what makes my approach unique?
- what is the most important thing someone should know before working with me?
Use testimonials from event organizers
If you've been featured as a speaker, guest contributor, or podcast guest, don't miss the opportunity to collect feedback from hosts and organizers!
Using a modified version of the survey method, you can follow up after the event and invite their responses to questions like:
- What hesitations did you have about inviting me to contribute to your event? What made you decide to reach out?
- What feedback did you receive from event participants about my contribution? What positive results or changes have you noticed as a result of my involvement?
- Would you recommend me as a contributor? If so, why and to whom?
- What would you like to see changed or added to the experience of working with me? If so, what?
- What's the most important thing people should know about me as a speaker/contributor?
Use testimonials from event attendees
..and you can even apply the same survey method to event attendees!
If you have access to participants' email addresses or social media handles, you can send them a link to a survey asking questions like:
- What hesitations did you have about attending my presentation/talk at this event? What made you decide to attend anyway?
- What surprised you about the content and/or style of my presentation?
- What would you like to see changed in future presentations? What would make my presentation more useful to you?
- What action have you taken based on what you learned in my presentation?
- What positive results or changes have you noticed as a result of implementing what you learned in my presentation?
- Would you recommend me as a speaker/contributor? If so, why and to whom?
- What's the most important thing people should know about me as a speaker/contributor?
Now that you know how to use testimonials in your health and wellness marketing, let's look at some of the places you can use them online! Check out these blog posts:
- Why you should be pitching yourself as a podcast guest ASAP
- Beyond "reach": 3 reasons to try Instagram Reels
- Batching social media content with Social Squares
- 3 places your copy could be more specific
- Super simple copywriting tips for beginners (2021)
- How to write great private practice website copy
Let's take action!
Ready to take action on what you learned in this post? (I like your style!)
- Choose 1 of the strategies in this post to start implementing in your health and wellness marketing today!
- Sign up for the (FREE) Magical, Ethical Testimonial Glow-Up Guide
- Looking for 1:1 support with your website copy? Learn more about my Copy Closure Sessions + see if one might be right for you!
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