I just read an great article by online marketing consultant Donna Gunter: 10 Secrets to Asking for Effective Client Testimonials for Your Website. Her tips are more sophisticated than most free web advice on writing testimonials, and I think she’s generally spot on.* I especially like her Secret No. 9:
9. Create a system for requesting testimonials. If you’re selling information products online, incorporate a testimonial request and testimonial writing guideline into your follow up autoresponder system. If you work with clients on an ongoing basis, incorporate your testimonial request into the sequence of your regular correspondence and follow up with your clients. If you work with clients only on a short-term basis, incorporate your request into your invoicing process and provide either an email address or online form to make the process as easy and automated as possible for them.
Implicit in this system is the idea that you’re doing “regular correspondence and follow up”. And if you are doing those things right, not only will you get great testimonials, but you’ll also have a much better chance of keeping your client constantly happy — or at least knowing sooner rather than later when you need to change course.
*I’d argue with a couple of her points — particularly her advice about short testimonials — but do read her article. You’ll be the smarter for it!