AMY PORTERFIELD: “You should absolutely be sharing your testimonials anywhere and everywhere. But here's a list of easy places to share them: on your social–media platforms, your website, your sales page, in your webinar slides. If you were on my Digital Course Academy masterclass, I've never used more testimonials in my life, and it was so much fun to share their faces and their stories throughout.”
“Also, you can share them at the bottom of your email signature or—I love this one—on the opt–in page for your lead magnet or your welcome email for some of your courses or lead magnets. Like, you can get really creative where you share them, and I think you should share them a lot. So if you're going to do this work, the time, even put in a little money to get these great testimonials, by all means, make sure you're using them everywhere and anywhere it counts.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: Well, hey, there, friend. Would you be interested in significantly increasing your conversion rate for your products, or boosting your lead–magnet sign ups and email subscribers, or growing your audience exponentially? I have a feeling you're saying, “Come on, Amy. Of course I would.” And I'm glad we're on the same page, because today I'm going to tell you one simple strategy that will help you do all of those things that I just mentioned. Two words: glowing testimonials. Yep. It almost seems too good to be true, right? I mean, come on. Can simply posting testimonials really do all of those things? The answer is yes. However, if you want to do it right and you want to collect testimonials that actually convert into sales, then there are a few tips and tricks you've got to know, which is why I'm sharing them with you today.
In my eleven years of business, I've learned a thing or two about collecting and utilizing testimonials the right way and the wrong way. And with hundreds of testimonials from my brilliant students and our goal of curating 1,000 testimonials by January of 2022, which is our company goal, I can show you exactly how to get glowing testimonials and where to place them to ensure that they get your audience members to convert into customers time and time again.
Now, before we get into the goods, I want to clarify that whether you're brand new, maybe you're still in your nine to five and you're working on building an online business that allows you to become your own boss, or maybe you're already your own boss and you're looking for ways to grow your business and continue to increase your revenue, whether you're a beginner, more advanced, or somewhere in between, this episode is going to help you become a pro at collecting and using testimonials. After all, testimonials are a sign that all the work you're putting in is worth it. For me, testimonials are the bread and butter of my business. If they stop coming in, I know there's something not working in my business. However, when they continue to flow, I know that I'm accomplishing my goal of supporting online entrepreneurs in becoming their own boss, calling the shots, impacting more lives, breaking through the financial glass ceiling, and creating a life on their terms. And that, my friend, makes it all so worth it.
All right. So let's get into the core of this episode. You're going to learn why testimonials are worth spending time collecting them; how to find them; how to request them; how to conduct an interview, if you choose; and the proper way to format them to make sure they convert—there's actually a formula for that. I'm going to give it to you—and also, where to actually use them. And real quick, today's episode comes with a freebie to help you curate glowing testimonials. So a lot of what I'm going to cover, including the questions you can ask in interviews to get the best testimonials, it's in my free guide. Let's get to it.
First things first. Why in the world should you be spending your precious time collecting testimonials? Well, because a well-written testimonial is the ultimate social proof for you in your business. And that is invaluable when you're attracting your ideal community and selling anything, especially online, where, many times, people won't be meeting you in person. So it's so important that you build that know, like, and trust factor, and trust being the most important word there. And testimonials can help you do so. After all, having your students singing your praises is far more powerful than you sharing about what you can do for your audience. It's just a different kind of intimacy when they hear it from people that have taken your courses or experienced your products.
Now, keep in mind that when you're gathering and sharing testimonials, you want them to be a reflection of your ideal community, because when potential customers read them, you want them to relate to the stories and the results shared in those testimonials. It's also important to note that the FTC is always updating their regulations on the use of testimonials, so make sure to stay current on your local laws. You can find this information at FTC.gov.
Now, you're probably thinking, “Okay, Amy, how the heck do I find these glowing testimonials you speak of?” And if you're a newer entrepreneur, you're definitely asking this. And if you're not a newbie entrepreneur, I've got some ideas for you, too. So let's talk about it.
Here are three ways to find or collect testimonials. Now, keep in mind that you can gather testimonials from more than just a digital course, meaning if you have a physical product, coaching, consulting, service–based business, you want testimonials. But if you have a digital course, you'll want to have the bulk of your testimonials come from that, because I think having testimonials for digital courses as you get going in your business is going to be incredibly valuable for you.
Now, however, if you don't have a digital course or you’re brand new to digital courses and your students are going through them right now, so you don't have any testimonials, you can still get testimonials from people who have consumed your lead magnet or have been coached by you, or you can gather them from people who are attending your Facebook Lives as well.
So number one, use social media. While some of you may already be doing this, here are a few unique ways to encourage success stories and wins from your audience members. And actually, let me take a moment to talk about the difference between success stories and wins. Of course, we all want success stories, meaning somebody talks about the struggle they had, then they went through your course, and they got great results, and now they're talking about what their life looks like or their business looks like now. To me, that's a success story.
However, when you're just starting out, maybe you just start collecting wins, where wins are smaller. Wins are, “I went through your lead magnet all about food prep, and I just did my first week of food prep. I'm feeling good. I have more energy. My family says I'm more relaxed.” That's a win. And I would actually put that win on the opt–in page for my lead magnet. So wins and success stories, we want them all. And when you're starting out, you might just be finding a lot of wins as you have people go through your course and get bigger results, and those turn to success stories.
Oh, one more thing I’ve got to say, and that is that if you get into the habit, if you're just new at all of this, if you get into the habit of collecting wins, when the success stories start rolling in, you'll already have a system for that. My mistake that I made, I had no system for years and years and years. And when I was launching my courses before Digital Course Academy, I remember telling my dear friend Stu McLaren, I said, “I don't have any success stories.” I think it was Courses That Convert. And he’s like, “Yes, you do. I’ve talked to your students. I've heard their successes.” I'm like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “You’re not asking for them, Amy. You're not looking for them. You don't have a system. So you think you don't have success stories.” And he was right. The minute I started to put together some of the strategies I'm sharing with you here, they started coming in. But without a system—I wasn't looking for them, I wasn't asking for them, I wasn't doing the work, and so I thought no one was getting real good results with my course, which is a total lie.
So just so you know, you have to do the work. It is not your students’ responsibility. I hope if you're multitasking, you come back to me right now. If you're not actively seeking testimonials, wins, and success stories, you're not going to find them. It is not the job of your customer to, out of the blue, say, “Hey, I've got a great success story for you. Do you want to hear it?” Rarely does that ever happen, okay? So this is on you as the entrepreneur. Just want to make that really clear. I wish somebody told me that many, many, many years ago. Well, I guess Stu did, but it was, like, many years into my business. I wish I knew this right from the get–go.
Okay, so here we go.
You want to watch for testimonials in everything you do and post. If you do a Facebook Live, review the comments afterwards and pay attention to anyone who might sing your praise or share how much your strategies have helped them. Or if you share your lead magnet in a post, see who comments on those posts. Oftentimes, people will share how much they love your lead magnet and how it supported them in some way or another. Now, this might take a little time. Your lead magnet has to be out for a bit of time, but it does start to happen.
If you have a private Facebook group, a free Facebook group, a paid Facebook group, you'll start to see testimonials naturally popping up. That's another reason I love Facebook groups. However, a really great way to curate them in a Facebook group is to do weekly or monthly win posts, so where you ask them to share about something they've accomplished using your strategies. We do this all the time in our free Facebook groups and our paid ones like Momentum. So you could say something like, “I want to celebrate you. Tell me what strategy or program or free resource,” whatever you want to say, “that you've used and how it supported you in your transformation or your growth.”
So you can use whatever word best describes what you do in your business. But you want to put out a post, maybe a really fun image that grabs their attention, “Let's celebrate. Share your wins. Share your success stories. I want to hear all about them.” So I think we have to actively put that out there consistently. One time doesn't cut it, my friend. So if you've got Facebook groups, make that a weekly or a monthly kind of thing you do.
All right. Number two—and this is great if you’re just starting out—offer either a coaching session or even offer your course for free, in exchange for a testimonial. So basically, you’re saying, “Hey. I will coach you on x, y, z or you can go through my course, and I’m going to give it for free as long as you keep me updated on your progress, and as you finish it and implement it, you give me a testimonial.” So that's something fully legit that you can do. And make sure that people are very aware that there is an exchange that you are looking for.
And then the last way is to simply ask your email list. You can do this whether you have a large email list or a small. Many of you listening, you’ll have an email list that’s on the smaller side, and it’s actually easier with a smaller email list. So you could send out an email and just say, “I want to hear about your wins.” Kind of like the post I mentioned earlier, and maybe even give them some examples. Sometimes I have to say, “If you've made your first five figures with a digital course, or you got to the first 250 people on your email list,” or whatever it is, “I want to hear about it. Hit Reply to this email, and let me know.”
And so that way it makes it really easy for them. That's another trick here. The easier it is for them to tell you their story, the more likely they will tell you. So if you have them jump through ten hoops to give you a testimonial, it ain't going to happen. If the only way you want a testimonial is if they make you a video, you're going to get very few. Some video testimonials will come in. But most people don't want to do a video testimonial. So you've got to have different opportunities for them to give it to you, and make it as easy as possible.
And you can automate this. So let's say you have a digital course. You can send out a few emails that are automated in advance, when they hit a certain point in your program, to check in on their progress, get any aha moments or wins. Of course, at the end, ask them to share. And then I’d send another email a couple months later asking them to share.
One thing I notice with Digital Course Academy is that when I launched it for the first time in January 2019, about a year later is when so many success stories started flooding in. Now, that didn't mean it took people a full year to go through my course and implement it. But because I had launched it twice in 2019, it became more popular. And so people started to gravitate toward me more and have a relationship with me and feel more comfortable having conversations with me. And they started to share their wins, big and small, where in the beginning they're a little hesitant. And so when they started other people sharing, they're like, “Oh, I've got a story, too.”
And maybe some people, it did take them a year to kind of get those results. But really what happened was I started sharing the smaller wins as well as the bigger wins. People saw that, and they're like, “Oh, I've got to win like that.” Like, if my audience thought that the only wins I was sharing is if you made $100,000 or more with your launch, then somebody who made $5,000 would not want to share. But I started sharing the $5,000 launches and then the $10,000 and $20,000 launches. Success stories started coming in. So just know that it's like a domino effect. You've got to start this out and be patient.
Okay. And lastly, the third way is more for those who are either a newer entrepreneur or someone who's in transitioning from in-person work to a digital–course business. So collecting testimonials from your one–on–one work, these may not be specifically about your course that you're working on right now, but they can still be about your teaching style or transformational strategies. And like I said, if you're just starting out, maybe you offer a one–on–one session or two in exchange for a testimonial. So make it a habit to always be looking for the students who are sharing how your teachings are changing their lives. When you keep your eyes peeled, you'll find snippets all over the place.
From there, you can reach out to your student or your audience member and set up a time to chat to develop their testimonial even more. Did you hear me on that one? Sometimes somebody might post, “Oh, yeah. I had huge transformations with your course. Thanks a bunch.” You're like, “Uh, can we talk?” I say that all the time. Someone will post something on social media about, like, a huge shift they had in their business or a great launch. I’m like, “Um, hi. Can we get on a phone call? Can we talk?” And typically it's not me getting on a call; it’s somebody on my team; but still, we make sure that we reach out to these people. So, we’ll talk about those calls.
But, really, just, I want to talk to you about this idea of reaching out for more information. For starters, it's a wonderful way to connect on a deeper level and build a relationship with your audience members. If you take the time to listen to them and hear more about their successes, they're more likely to become a loyal lifetime customer. So, like I said, as my business has grown, I'm not the one doing the interviews, but I used to. Now it's Sylvia, Emmory, or Brittani on my team. They are all part of my community team. But it used to be me. And so whether it's me or if they get on the phone with Sylvia on my team, they have a connection with us. They know that we genuinely care. And this also gives you the opportunity to ask interesting, engaging, and intentional questions that will truly allow you to spotlight all of their wins. You get to dive a little bit deeper.
Also, a beautiful thing about hopping on a call with your audience member or your student is that it helps you continue to develop your ideal community and to get to know them even more intimately. So I've created a free resource for you that helps you to reach out. It's a fill–in–the–blank version of the email that we use when we're reaching out to students or audience members to set up a time to chat, like in real time. So keep in mind that, just like you, people have a lot on their plate. So if you can keep your interview to twenty to thirty minutes max, I think that would be great. So to get this freebie, amyporterfield.com/338. Go grab that free resource because that email alone will help you to reach out to people and really understand their story.
One really cool thing is when you understand somebody's success story, you start to understand how they use your course. So let me give you a quick example. When I started to interview Digital Course Academy member students on their successes, one thing that totally blew my mind is almost all of them presold their course. I didn't teach that in Digital Course Academy until this year, 2020, meaning they were doing something, that they were taking everything I taught them, but they were doing a presell before they created their course because they didn't want to create the whole freaking course before they knew it would actually sell, which is legit, right? But I was stubborn in my first year teaching Digital Course Academy, because I know that when you presell, if you don't do it right and you don't, like, really know what you're doing, it's very stressful. So finally, after doing success story after success story, hearing people pre-sell, I’m like, “Okay, I get it,” and I changed my course.
Now, in Digital Course Academy, before you create your course, I teach you how to make some money with it, sell it, and then create it. That came from all of my success stories and their detail of how they got success. And I actually made my course better. So just know if you're willing to get on some calls, your course will become better for it.
Now, I recommend you do Zoom. Makes it more personal. I do recommend you turn on the camera. If for some reason the person doesn't want to turn on their camera, fine. But you should just assume that you're going to turn on your camera. It makes it more personal.
Now, I like to email a list of preliminary questions ahead of time so that they can begin formulating thoughtful responses. I know some of you love off–the–cuff questions and, like, in the moment, but they're going to be a little bit nervous. And here's the thing. You want specifics. Like, for me, I want to know how long your launch was, how many people on your email list, how much money did you generate? They need time to go collect that information. So if you're asking questions that they're going to need to go collect a little bit of data or think about dates or think about timing, give them the questions in advance. They will really appreciate it.
Now, in addition to specific questions I ask, I also ask questions like, what do you do in your business? Tell me about yourself. What was your biggest challenge prior to joining my program, and what's changed since you've implemented and gotten results? And I ask them about how they feel and the thoughts that they have. And we really get into it. So again, amyporterfield.com/338. I'll help you with the questions to ask on these calls.
Now, in addition to sending the list of questions, always ask if they have any questions for you in advance. So I know it's a testimonial interview, but they might be nervous about it. So give them a chance to reach out with anything ahead of time. Just make it really kind of easy breezy for them.
And if you don’t quite feel comfortable conducting an interview, you could just send them over a set of questions in a Google Doc and just have them answer those questions in written form. And if you want to do it that way—I'd love for you to get on a call—but that is another option.
Now, as a side note, if you do get on a call, it's always recorded. You let them know “I'm recording this.” And we always get it transcribed so that we have it for all times. Now, I use a company called rev.com. And it's a great, inexpensive resource for transcription, so I highly recommend it. I also use some contractors to transcribe our interviews, but I've used rev.com a bunch as well.
All right, one more thing. You know I'm a stickler for process and systems, right? I want you to create one place—let’s say you use Dropbox, like me—one place on Dropbox for all testimonials. Like, think about how you want to create the folders in terms of the written testimonials, the audio file, the transcripts, maybe the video testimonials, the notes from your interview. All of that should be organized. So whether you do it by this certain type of course or date or the person that you're interviewing, whatever you want to do, set your system up, your shell—that's what I always call it—like, the shell of the Dropbox organization ahead of time. Why do I say this? Well, because up until about two years ago, we had a horrible organizational system on Dropbox. We couldn't find anything. And when I went to go look for a testimonial, I was like, “Where is this person? Where's their picture? Where's the written testimonial?” It was so confusing to me. So now we dial that organizational system in so that I could always find testimonials.
Okay, let's keep rolling. Your next step should be to revamp, rewrite, recreate—whatever word you want to use—the testimonial. Yeah, you heard me right. So believe it or not, there's actually a very specific formula for crafting a testimonial. And it's important because you want your testimonial to be inspiring and powerful, to get someone to actually sign up for your course or opt in to your lead magnet or whatever it might be.
Now, the person giving you the testimonial does not know this formula, nor should they. So they're giving you the testimonial in their own words, whether they write it out or they make you a video or you interview them. So from there, you need to then put together a really beautifully written testimonial. Do your best. Now, I use a copywriter, but I'm also eleven years in. So if you can't afford a copywriter for this, just do your best. And remember, somebody might write it for you, and then you're just going to finesse it.
Now, speaking of that formula, let's talk about it. This was inspired by Derek Halpern. And I go into more detail about that in episode 119. So if you want some more helpful suggestions for testimonials, I did an episode a long time ago, episode 119. So you can go check it out. But the gist of it is that a testimonial, a glowing testimonial, has three parts, and all three parts are essential in order to make a testimonial work. He says that your testimonial should include the problem. So the problem or struggle that they are dealing with or were dealing with. And then the solution. So the solution might be what they did with your lead magnet or what they did with your course or the coaching you offered them. And then the results. And get specific here. So whether someone lost fifty pounds or they started to meditate an hour each day or they started to have better communication with their spouse or whatever it might be, you want as many specifics about what their life looks like now. The more specific, the better.
Now, I want you to use this framework when you rework or create that testimonial. Now, for the record, you want to make sure that the person you interviewed is good with the reworked testimonial. So you want to make sure, that you could tell them in advance, “Hey, I'm going to take this and put it into a testimonial, and I'll run it by you before it goes live, to make sure you sign off on it.” So if I ever rework a testimonial, if I ever create a testimonial from scratch based on an interview, I always get the person to sign off on it. And I actually also use an agreement for testimonials, where people will give us permission to use them. So you can do some research on what kind of maybe written consent or agreement you want. Some people just starting out will literally send an email saying, “Here's the testimonial I'd like to use online. Are you good with this?” And they write back, “Yes, I approve,” or “Yes, I'm good with that.” At least have something in writing when you're starting out. You can get more fancy later. Although, I'm not a lawyer, so maybe consult with a lawyer. And if you are part of Digital Course Academy, I have many lawyers in my communities that you can ask. Okay, one more thing about rewriting the testimonial. It needs to sound like the person. And so use as much of the language they used when you talk to them in that testimonial, so it feels good to them.
Now, if you're not a writer, again, consider hiring a copywriter. You could do so on Fiverr or Upwork or scripted.com. So those are three great places to find copywriters, and they won't break the bank. So something to consider.
And then, of course, once you're done with the testimonial, you send it to the student to get their approval, and at that time, ask them for a headshot. And that's something that you actually keep on Dropbox or Google Drive or wherever as well. That's why there's a lot of moving pieces here, so keep it organized.
Now, lastly, but certainly not least, now that you have a handful of glowing, highly converting testimonials in your back pocket, it's time to share them with the world. You should absolutely be sharing your testimonials anywhere and everywhere. But here's a list of easy places to share them: on your social–media platforms, your website, your sales page, in your webinar slides. If you were on my Digital Course Academy masterclass, I've never used more testimonials in my life, and it was so much fun to share their faces and their stories throughout.
Also, you can share them at the bottom of your email signature or—I love this one—on the opt–in page for your lead magnet or your welcome email for some of your courses or lead magnets. Like, you can get really creative where you share them, and I think you should share them a lot. So if you're going to do this work, the time, even put in a little money to get these great testimonials, by all means, make sure you're using them everywhere and anywhere it counts.
Now, there are a few things that I want to mention about sharing your testimonials. First of all, I encourage you to share an array of testimonials, not just the ones that blow your mind. Consider sharing testimonials that seem more attainable and tangible for some of your newer students or customers.
For example, we have students who have had six-figure launches. We’ve also had students who have made one, two, five, or ten thousand dollars off of their first or second launches. And guess what. In my eyes, this is just as much success as a six-figure launch, because I believe that if you can make your first thousand online, you can make a hundred thousand online. So I think it all really matters.
So, I like to share stories from my students who have more-relatable results as well. You’ll want to do the same. So think about these customers who have tangible results, and share them just as much as you share about the other really big ones.
Another thing you’ll want to do is to include an earnings disclaimer. Now, I’m not a lawyer—and trust me, you don’t want me to be one—so be sure to seek legal counsel when crafting this. But basically, an earnings disclaimer will ensure that you’re protecting your business from potential legal difficulties by accurately representing you and your business. So an earnings disclaimer shares that these successes are not the average results of your offer, and it does take some of the risk off of you. Again, I’m not going to give you a fill-in-the-blank disclaimer, because I believe that’s something you should seek guidance on from a professional. But it is something that you’ll want to do. You’ll want to craft a disclaimer, and you’ll also want to be very mindful of where you place it on your pages with testimonials. So ask your legal counsel about that as well.
In fact, I’m going to include an earnings disclaimer on the show notes for this episode since I shared that we have students who make six figures. So, basically, we include it any time we mention a success story or a testimonial. So you can check it out on the show notes page if you want to do so.
All right, my friend. Yes. That was a lot of information. But as I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, testimonials should be a priority in your business. They'll help you grow and build that know, like, and trust factor with your audience. So putting a little time and effort into collecting them is well worth it. The earlier in your business that you do this, the better. So this is something I wish I put a system together with so early on in my business, and I didn’t, and I really struggled for a while. And I think it boosted my confidence when I started to see the testimonials come in. And they were there all along, and I just didn't know it. So if you're looking for a confidence boost, put some time and effort into this. Plus, the more you grow your business, the easier it will be to collect them. Aside from that, it's one of the most–fun parts of being an entrepreneur, hearing how what you're doing, what you're teaching, the strategies that you're putting out into the world have helped other people. I literally get goose bumps from these stories, and I want you to feel that as well.
And of course, don’t forget to grab my free resource that gives you a fill-in-the-blank email you can use to reach out to get a testimonial, along with questions to ask during your interview. You’re going to love this free resource. Be sure to head over to amyporterfield.com/370 to grab that. It’s amyporterfield.com/370.
All right. Thanks so much for tuning in. I'll see you next week same time, same place. Bye for now.