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6 tips to gathering and leveraging client testimonials

by Kate Russell | Content and Editorial Associate, Clutch

6 tips to gathering and leveraging client testimonials

The secret’s out: a dedicated customer base is any web design agency’s or freelancer’s greatest marketing tool.

More than ever before, customers distrust traditional advertising methods. According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 45% of consumers aged 18-55+ are skeptical of online reviews. Along with marketing executives, freelancers recognize word of mouth marketing as their most important source of new business. And yet, only 6% of agencies take advantage of this organic approach.

It may be difficult to encourage customers to recommend your web design services to their personal networks. Luckily, a Nielson survey found that client reviews and testimonials work nearly as well to capture prospective buyers. While similar, there’s a key distinction between the two:

Client testimonials

  • Gathered and managed by businesses

  • Acquired from satisfied customers

Client reviews

  • Collected and owned by a third-party

  • Content features a wider range of opinions

A majority of consumers and businesses use online reviews prior to making a purchasing decision. As a result, it’s important for any web designer or freelancer to build a robust portfolio of client reviews and testimonials that addresses how consumers purchase services.

How to ask clients for a review

This article features 6 tips on how to ask for client testimonials and leverage them to establish business credibility. In turn, this helps your agency build trust with prospective clients, supporting continual growth.

  1. Pick the right time to request a client testimonial

  2. Use different methods to request client reviews

  3. Encourage clients to act

  4. Develop a client testimonial template

  5. Feature client reviews on relevant platforms

  6. Repurpose your client testimonials

1. Pick the right time to request a client testimonial

The average full-time American employee works almost 9 hours a day, leaving little time for much else. This makes convincing a client to leave a testimonial a difficult task. To improve success in this endeavor, analyze your customer journey. This will help you determine when they’ve most likely experienced success with your product or service.

Of course you want to wait for the right time to ask. A digital marketing agency shouldn’t request a testimonial from a client a week into their collaboration. It’s unlikely the customer has experienced any results yet.

If you’re in a long-term engagement with a client, it may be more appropriate to ask for a testimonial at the end of the quarter or year. However, you may identify subtle openings to request a testimonial outside of the obvious opportunities. For example, your client may offer a compliment that can serve as a notable testimonial. In this case, request to use their comment as a customer testimonial, even if the project isn’t complete.

The optimal time to ask a client for a review is following a successful engagement with your agency. Studies show that 85% of customers will leave a testimonial when asked. If a customer is satisfied with their experience, you’re likely to receive a positive review that you can later repurpose as marketing content.

Ask your client for a testimonial as soon as possible after a successful engagement. If your client recently experienced success, their motivation to return a favor is higher. The longer you wait, the fewer details your client will be able to provide. Moreover, they’ll feel less obligated to respond to your request.

2. Use different methods to request client reviews

Improve your chances of gathering positive reviews by leveraging a variety of outreach channels, including email, text and social media.

Despite the significant number of emails the average person receives in a day, email marketing is still highly effective. The average return on investment is 37:1. It’s also easily scalable. Most email marketing providers offer automation features. For example, Wix enables users to build custom email templates, manage customer contacts, and track performance of email marketing campaigns.

Text or SMS messages are another way to ask clients for a review. It’s likely clients will receive your message. In 2019, Americans checked their phones an average of 96 times a day. Despite this figure, less than half of businesses use texting to communicate with their customers. A text may help you stand out from competitors and capture your client’s attention in real time.

Finally, consider social media. An estimated 2.95 billion people engage on these channels regularly. Three years from now, the number of social media users is expected to reach 3.43 billion. Social media’s expansive reach positions them as ideal channels for client outreach. Post a request for client testimonials on your social channels. Then, create an engaging post to make the most of these reviews. Social media amplifies your testimonials, reaching both your clients and their networks. Keep in mind, some channels like Facebook prioritize posts on users’ feeds based on relevancy. If clients interact with your business’ posts, it’s more likely that your content will show up on their networks’ news feeds as well.

3. Encourage clients to act

While social media and email are effective outreach channels, they can get lost in the daily clutter of content. Therefore, it’s critical for you to incentivize engagement.

Incentives should be viable for your business and compel customers to act quickly. When asking for a client testimonial, consider including an offer like:

  • Package upgrades

  • Discounts on services

  • Exclusive promotions

  • Free gifts or a contest entry

Beyond incentives, encourage clients to leave testimonials by making the process easy. You can include links to your review form on your website or in an outreach email.

Make sure your call to action is clear. On average, people lose concentration after eight seconds—quicker than a goldfish. The more seamless the process, the more likely customers will complete a testimonial.

4. Develop a client testimonial template

To streamline the client review process and optimize results, create a testimonial template. Testimonial templates make the review process easier for clients by providing them with a framework for feedback. It gives them ideas for what to write about, so you get a more complete and focused review.

Design a template based on the values you want to promote about your agency. Considering short attention spans, craft direct questions and add prompts. Lead your clients and guide their responses as much as possible.

Then, find a prominent place on your site to post your reviews and demonstrate a history of positive customer engagement. They’ll serve as valuable social proof and establish your credibility, reassuring prospective clients that you’re the right choice.

Optimize the customer journey on your client sites eBook banner

5. Feature client reviews on relevant platforms

In addition to your site, you should have a presence on platforms that feature agency reviews. It’s all about widening your visibility online. A more expansive web presence increases the likelihood prospective clients will come across your business through a simple Google search.

Customers generally conduct web searches to find service providers. Being featured on a reputable ratings and reviews platform, with substantial domain authority, may place your business higher in the SERP.

If a customer searches “top web design companies”, the leading organic search result is a Clutch reviews page.

Google SERP for "top web design companies"