When you’ve got happy clients, they can be one of the best (and easiest) ways to market your writing skills. You do have to ask for a little help from your clients in order to get it, though: in an ideal world, if you completed a project ideally, your clients would tell everyone they know about this amazing writer they have the pleasure of working with. In the real world, though, many of your clients would be happy to help but simply don’t think of it on their own. That makes it necessary to ask.
Ask For a Testimonial
It’s pretty rare that a client gives you a testimonial-worthy comment out of the blue. Generally, though, you know which clients especially like the work you’ve done for them. I’d say it’s ‘just’ a matter of asking, but it can feel a little awkward to ask your clients to tell you how awesome you are — what if they will think you just want to brag or otherwise won’t want to offer you a testimonial. The truth is that some of your clients won’t give you a testimonial, for one reason or another. It could be something as simple as losing your email in a full inbox. But that shouldn’t stop you from asking.
When I need something, like a testimonial, from one of my clients, I have a standardized approach. I send a polite email, asking for exactly what I need, and explaining how it will be used. I’ve included such an email below:
I’m working on a project that I would appreciate your help on: I’m putting together a few testimonials about my work for my website. I enjoyed working with you on [Project X] and I remember you telling me how pleased you were with how it turned out. Would you be willing to write a short testimonial for me? I would need it by the end of next week.
It’s nothing fancy, but it works well. And it’s important to remember that if you don’t like a testimonial that you receive, you don’t have to use it.
LinkedIn Recommendations and More
Social networking has made recommendations a little more complicated than simple testimonials that you can add to your marketing materials. On sites like LinkedIn, you can request and offer recommendations. This approach can offer a shortcut to gathering testimonials: you can actually offer recommendations to your clients, and use the system to request a recommendation in response. You can also delete recommendations that don’t reflect your work.
There’s an added benefit to having a wealth of recommendations on social networking sites you are active on. As you build up your presence, such sites will rank highly in the search results for your name. If a prospective client searches for you in an effort to check out what your past clients have thought of working with you, they’ll see all the positive recommendations you’ve seen on sites like LinkedIn.
Do you have any special techniques for gathering testimonials? Please share them in the comments.
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