Have you ever asked a girl you met in a yoga class or a fellow teacher, “Hey, where did you buy those cute yoga pants?” or “What’s your favorite place for lunch around here?” Then, based on what they say, you follow their recommendations. Not 100% of the time, of course – but pretty often, right?
We are wired to respond to so-called “social proof”, or word of mouth recommendation. If someone that you know, like, and trust says, “This is awesome! You gotta try it!” then you are way more likely to give it a whirl.
That’s why student testimonials are so powerful. When your visitors read praise from other people, then they are likely to feel more confident about purchasing a workshop or retreat from you. Actually, there was a study where 92% of the participants said that they trust testimonials above all other forms of advertising.
So, let’s all agree that testimonials are great, and you want them. But how do you actually get them? Maybe you are already asking your students for reviews and feedback and either they don’t respond or what they say feels boring and lacking in genuine excitement. Maybe the PRAISE section on your website is looking as barren as a scorched desert. Fret not, my friend, I’m here to help you out.
I’m going to share the exact strategy that I’m using to collect testimonials for my online courses, and I promise you don’t need to beg or feel pushy or sleazy. What you need to forget about, because it’s not working, is asking your students for a review or testimonial outright. Asking someone to write you a testimonial instantly makes them nervous. They’ll put it off until both of you have forgotten you ever asked for a simple testimonial in the first place.
Step #1 Is The Invitation
I invite my students to a feedback call, which I’ve actually automated in my student onboarding email sequence. So if someone bought my website course, for example, they get my student onboarding emails, first the welcome email, and then a few more to help them stay motivated and committed, with 4 to 14 days between them. 60 days after the last email I invite them to a feedback call with me.
Here’s what I say in that email:
“A while ago you bought my course Blissful Websites and I wanted to check in with ya !
No matter if you’ve launched your website yet or not, I was wondering if you’d be interested in doing a short feedback interview with me. I would LOVE to hear about your experience in Blissful Websites!
If yes, please click here to schedule a day and time that works for you:
Just so you know what to expect, here are some questions I’d like to ask:
What drew you to my products and services?
What did you like about your experience in Blissful Websites? What didn’t you like?
What was your absolute biggest challenge prior to this course?
What specific results can you share?
What would you say to somebody on the fence about purchasing this course?
Thanks for your help “
I don’t ask for a testimonial outright, I ask for their feedback! Students love this way of doing it, and want to share their experience with me.
I use Calendly for scheduling appointments and it’s all automated and super easy. People can book an appointment and both of us automatically get the email confirmation with the Zoom link, and it’s added to my calendar.
Step #2 Is The Feedback Call
On the call I say that I’m really looking forward to hearing about their experience with my course and getting their feedback, and, if they agree, I would love to record the session and create a testimonial out of their feedback if it’s positive.
Some people tell me right away that they don’t want me to use the video, which is fine, but that I can create a quote out of their feedback. I also say that I would use it only on my website and social media, that I will send it to them before I publish anything for approval and that of course, I would take it off my website if they ever ask me to.
The point is to be really transparent and open about it all. You don’t want to record a session without telling the other person in your call. That would just be rude, right? In the call, I ask them some of the questions that I also shared in the email, but the really important part is to listen more than to talk. I let my students speak and I listen.
I find this so valuable! Even without getting a testimonial out of it! This is direct feedback and it helps me improve my services and offers. It’s really important and invaluable. I highly, highly recommend that everybody does this. No matter what you’re offering, ask your students or clients to give you feedback.
Step #3 Creating The Testimonial
After the call I have the recording of it, and now it’s time to actually create the testimonial. Here I listen to the recording and then I create a quote out of it. I use what I think is most relevant and what would help other potential customers decide to buy my program. For example, it’s not something like “Susanne is so amazing and nice”, but “this course helped me design my website in just a few weeks, even though I’m totally scared of tech and never thought I could do this”. I make it about them, and their experience, and not so much about me.
Ideally, you want to showcase the effect of your work and the results they have been getting. For example: “First, I was like this…then THIS happened…and now, thanks to this program, my life is like THIS!”.
When students agree to me using the video testimonial, I edit it so that I have a short version of 1 or 2 minutes. This video doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t matter if the light or sound is poor. It’s still going to be really powerful because it’s a video, it’s a real person talking about their experience with your program, and it’s a really strong tool to help your marketing.
Always ask for video testimonials, always! I use Screenflow for editing, which is only for Macs, but there are many other great tools if you search for editing of videos.
Step #4 Get The Testimonial Approved By Your Student Or Client
I send an email to them, thanking them for their time and ask for their permission to post the testimonial I’ve edited, together with their name and photo. If it’s a video I put it on my google drive and share the link with them, and if it’s just text I just put it into the email.
You should also send them a testimonial release form, asking for their consent to use their name and picture in your marketing. You’re actually legally required to get consent before using someone else’s name, image, or likeness commercially…and in some states that consent has to be in writing!
I haven’t done this in the past, and I’m only now chasing up people who gave me testimonials and asking them for consent, which is a pain in the ass. Don’t be like me, set it up properly right from the start. My go-to place for all legal templates is Bobby Klinck, he sells all kind of legal templates!
Step #5 Add The Testimonial To Your Website
If they agree that I can use their testimonial, I put it on my sales pages and/or website. And that’s it! 5 simple, unsleazy steps to get amazing testimonials from your students and clients that will help you sell your services and offers like never before!