Asking client for testimonial?

What’s the most courteous way of asking a client for a testimonial after you have completed a project with them?

Send an email asking how things are going. Engage them in a conversation, not about the mechanical workings of their site, but what goals the site is meeting. Polite is being interested in how well the client’s goals for the site are being met.

Because that’s what clients buy. Not XHTML valid, not Jquery, not a raft of stock photos.

What’s better: “Jason is good, we’d work with him again” Or “We doubled our sales in 92days with the site you built for us”? It’s the difference you get from asking for a testimonial, and having one develop out of an interest in the client’s business.

Then, when you find an excerpt you could use for a testimonial, ask for permission to use for your own marketing efforts.

Contrary to designer popular opinion, commerce is not a four-letter-word. Business is not an unsavory pastime you have to shower to get off of you. Just ask.

Off Topic:

imho if you’re intending to publish that testimonial somewhere it woud be a waste of time if I saw it.

personally I take no notice at all of testimonials because I have no way of verifying if they are genuine and if anything, they lead me to wonder if the publisher is actually trying to mask something.

and when you think about it, have you ever seen a bad testimonial published anywhere?

I would recommend that you try to get a video testimonial from your clients, especially if its a larger customer that people can relate to; If your working in a niche and did work for one of the larger companies there, then that would be a good testimonial to get, if you hope to get more work in the same niche, as the competition (your future customers) would know who that company is.

On a side note, as Kalon mentioned. It is not certain people will put much weight on the testimonials if they dont know “who” the person/company its from is.

It is not certain

Not much is.

However, unlike the huge body of conventional web wisdom, testimonials have been tested time and again. Sure, not every testimonial is a good testimonial. But you can say the same for pretty much everything.

In comparison jquery, stupid CSS tricks, and Flashtrubation are taken on faith …all the time. No testing necessary.

I know, we’ll use the incantation branding. That will make every questionable element of web design, if not effective, then unquestionable and untestable.

Just ask them straight ‘can you provide me with a testimonial?’. Timing is everything; asking at the very end of a project when the site goes live usually works well. Basically whenever the client is aware of what great work you do.

Another way is to wait until the client chooses to praise you, in an email or phone call, etc. Take that opportunity to thank them for the kind words and ask if you can use it on your site, but could they expand on it etc.

As for giving your testimonials some credibility, I don’t bother with any unless I get a photo of the client and permission to publish some of their contact details (phone, email, linkedin etc). Obviously anonymous testimonials or those from ‘J M, London’ have zero credibility so don’t bother IMO.

Sure some people will never believe your testimonials, but you aren’t putting up testimonials for those guys, they’re unlikely to believe any references you put up, so let them focus on the bits that work for them, like your portfolio and case studies.

Sometimes a question and answer interview can work well.

Have to agree and say I don’t know of any marketing tool more powerful than a great testimonial but you really shouldn’t bother unless you’re able to do them properly.

That means a company and full name at the very least, but the more info like a city and state, photos or even video proof the better.


This is what I do - when I know the client is happy with the work I have done for them enough to say so, then it makes it a lot easier to ask them to put it in writing for me to publish.

I don’t place any credibility on testimonials unless the publisher provides legitimate contact details for the author so the authenticity of the testimonial can be verified. Otherwise I just assume the publisher has just made the testimonial up and is probably just tryiing to mask some deficiency in whatever they are promoting/selling.