Testimonials and case studies are among the most persuasive tools a freelancer has to sell their services. That’s why NOT baking them into your business (with things like automatic client follow-ups and testimonial questions) is a failure!
It’s way too common for freelancers to have nothing to show for projects they put weeks of work into.
Some freelance designers even have dozens of happy clients that no one would ever know about because they’ve failed to showcase them properly. We think that this is an epidemic. Your portfolio shouldn’t make you anxious. You shouldn’t feel disorganized, inefficient, and wasteful because you aren’t highlighting your work properly.
Instead you can create awesome testimonials and case studies with just a few simple systems. That’s what we’re going to walk-through in this post.
The first step to an awesome testimonial, is asking for one.
Ideally, you want to do this at the high-point of a project. That’s usually at the end, when you’re giving a client the awesome deliverables they paid for, but honestly it can happen at any point of the project.
One tip is to ask when a client has expressed satisfaction about the project or a result. If they comment about your work being awesome unprovoked, it’s probably a good time to ask.
So how do you ask? The best way to get a testimonial is to make it extremely easy for the client. We recommend something like this:
I’m thinking of featuring a case study on my website about my work with Bob’s Burgers – with your permission.
I’d love to include a testimonial quote from you. Something sorta like this would be perfect:
“Using Robert’s design services to create a website that measurably attracts more customers is a guaranteed investment.”
In fact, if you’re busy at the moment, I can even use that quote for now. Does that sound good?
A busy client just has to say “yeah, sure” and their work is done.
After that, it makes sense to ask for a full testimonial. Let’s walk-through how to do this next.
Coming up with testimonial questions that highlight the benefit of working with you is one of the most difficult things about testimonials. So to help, we recently interviewed Meg Cumby who specializes in creating case studies and testimonials for freelancers.
Freelancers and consultants hire Meg to craft effective case studies that bring in clients. She’s spent years developing questions that you can use to get great testimonials. So what are they? Let’s find out:
Meg Cumby’s Testimonial Questions:
- What led you to engage [your company]? (Alternatively: What challenge were you facing that led you to engage ABC?)
- What hesitations or concerns, if any, did you have before making the decision to work with [your company]?
- What made you choose to work with [your company] instead of another consultant or doing the work in-house?
- What did you find as a result of this project? (Follow up question: Why was it worth the investment you made?)
- What specific feature or benefit did you like most about the service you received?
- What are two or three other benefits you saw?
- Would you recommend [your company] to others? If so, why?
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Meg adapted these testimonial questions from Sean D’Souza’s awesome The Brain Audit. I’m a big fan of TBA.Not only are they essentially having your best clients to write case studies for you, they’re helping you research and learn about the projects you worked on.
Here are a few more questions we think are worth asking at the end of a project:
More Testimonial Questions for You:
- What was the #1 problem you were facing when you came to me for help?
- How did you feel about this problem at the time?
- What question was at the top of your mind about this problem?
- How did you feel I answered this question?
- What was your ideal outcome?
- What result were you seeking?
- How did I solve the problem for you?
- How did your world change as a result of working with me? What changed in your day-to-day life?
Before you send these testimonial questions to your client, you may want to consider making it even easier to respond to by using a survey app, like Typeform.
This way, instead of asking a client to answer 7+ long questions via email, you can simply link to a form. This increases the chances a client follows through, and keeps things tidy for you. We recommend Typeform for this because it’s free and super easy to use.
Using Typeform also lets you re-use the same survey instantly, and you have all of the data collected neatly in one place. Here’s how we recommend asking your client to fill out the form you create:
Thank you for letting me use that quote!
I’m always happy to hear when a client is happy with my work.
It would mean a lot if you could please fill out this 5-minute questionnaire, also: https://your-testimonial-link.com
My business’ lifeblood is case studies and referrals so I really appreciate you taking the time.
This email will hopefully persuade your client to take some time out of their schedule by highlighting the importance of it.
Just remember, if they don’t respond right away: keep following up!
We hand-screen every design job and RFP so you get every opportunity in one place.
One alternative that can make even better testimonials is asking clients to jump on a recorded call instead.
This can be an easier sell (especially if they’re already used to jumping on calls with you) and has some added upside: video / audio case studies, which are more entertaining for prospective clients.
With a recording of the client answering your testimonial questions you can create super persuasive video or audio case studies that connects on a deeper level. For this I love to recommend Zoom.
Simply schedule a call, open up Zoom and hit record. Zoom backs up your files on the cloud and before you know it you have everything you need for an awesome case study.
What I like to do is open up the Typeform survey with my testimonial questions in it and fill it out while I’m on the call with the client. Presto!
The last thing I’d like to mention is how to turn testimonials into repeat work and referral work.
I find testimonials and referrals to be a natural ally because when you get a testimonial you’re basically getting an open endorsement to the entire world. Therefore a direct introduction to someone the client knows makes a ton of sense.
Here’s how to do that in a simple and effective request:
Hi Client Name,
Thanks again for the testimonial.
This was an awesome project and I’m already brainstorming some ideas for how we can continue to work together in the future –
I’ll send those over soon, but for now, if you know of anyone who would benefit from working with me, I would love it if you could send me their email.
That way I can introduce myself and let them know that you think I might be right for them, and answer any questions they have about how your project worked out (I’ll also cc you on the email)!
Again, the focus in this email is taking work away from the client. As with all of these templates, make sure you put it into your own words and make it sound right for your situation.
By adding these emails to the end of all of your engagements, you should see an explosion of testimonials and referrals in your business.
The goal is to help you stand out to clients on your website and portfolio. That’s exactly what Folyo helps our customers do on a daily basis. Learn more about it today!
I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: 85% freelancers/agencies will shoot themselves in the foot in their next email because they make ONE common mistake that repels clients away.
Are you sending this client repelling email?
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