How To: Gather Testimonials From Past and Current Clients

Testimonials. Raves. Reviews.

Call them what you want, but know that they all boil down to one thing: social proof. Proof from past and current clients that you do what you do as well as you say you do. (How’s that for a mouthful?!)

It’s this social proof that can make or break your solopreneur marketing. Consider when you hire a contractor to work on your home, or are searching for a great new restaurant to take your friend for her birthday: I’m willing to bet that nine times out of ten, you’ll scour a review site to make sure the person or place is as good as their marketing makes them look. Agree?

The same happens when people are searching for the solution you provide. They land on your home page, check out your about page to see who you really are, and maybe hit up your blog to get a better feel for your expertise. But before they hire or buy? They’ll want to read reviews.

That’s why, whether you’re brand new to a side hustle or are a seasoned business owner, it’s incredibly important to collect testimonials and use them effectively on your website and in your marketing. Read on to get started.

Who to collect testimonials from

Consider the services and products you offer. For example, I’m a copywriter. So naturally, I’ll look to my copywriting clients to provide testimonials about my copywriting skills and conversion rates. But, I also provide other ways of helping fellow solopreneurs and One Woman Shops. Each time I offer a service or jump on a “pick my brain” call with a fellow solopreneur, I immediately follow it up with a gentle ask for a testimonial.

This could go on — if you’ve released an ebook, you’ll want to solicit reviews from readers. If you’ve built and facilitated a course, you’ll want to garner testimonials from participants. You get the idea — take all of your services and products into account (including what you’d like to offer in the future), and make a list of people who can provide a testimonial for each.

And remember: testimonials don’t have to be limited to your current client base. Keep your past clients in mind when you’re making your list.

Then, it’s time to make the ask.

How to ask for a testimonial

There are two goals when devising your process for testimonial gathering:

1. Make it ridiculously easy for your client.
2. Make it ridiculously easy for you.

Sounds great, right? Here’s how you get there:

Create a template. No matter how many services or products you offer, you can build a few standard templates to be used over and over again. You’ll want certain things out of your testimonials, but remember — your clients can’t read your mind. That’s why it’s important to create templates that prompt them for the exact information you’d like. Here’s an example of what mine might look like for my Copy Power Hour:

  • What was the biggest benefit you received from your Copy Power Hour?
  • Based on what you got out of your Copy Power Hour, how will your business’ copy change?
  • Would you recommend the Copy Power Hour to a fellow business owner?

I’m only looking for my testimonials to be about 100-200 words, so I keep my ask to three questions. For you, this might look different.

Templates are a great way to systematize how you ask for testimonials. (Click to tweet this!) Creating a few different templates tailored to your different products and services sets you up for easy asks when the time comes. And the real bonus? It makes it easy on your clients to answer specific questions and provide you feedback.

Load it into an easily replicable form. Once you’ve developed your set of templates, get them set up in an easy-to-share form. For me, that means loading them into Typeform. (I highly recommend it!)

The beauty of using a form generator like Typeform, Wufoo, or Google Forms, is that you can easily link to the form over and over again, and the software will gather the results and generate reports for you. Each time someone fills out a Copy Power Hour testimonial form, I get a beautifully organized email from Typeform with the answers, which I can then copy and paste into a testimonial on my site. Voila — you’ve just made it easy on yourself.

Save an email draft that you can personalize when the time comes. The final step once your templates are turned into beautiful forms: distribute. Again, the goal here is to keep it simple on your part. To continue with my example, this means saving an email draft in my inbox labeled “Copy Power Hour feedback.” Just a few hours after our session, I’ll send a quick follow up to the client with a summary of our session, and a link to the testimonial form.

For products or services sold on a grander scale, you might have a campaign set up in your email client that automatically goes out once they’ve purchased or completed something. Consider the best process for your biz, and make it happen.

Make testimonials work for your business

Word-of-mouth and referral marketing are the bread and butter of gaining new clients at very little expense. Asking for testimonials means purposefully gathering that word-of-mouth and referral marketing so that you can use it to work for you.

Stay tuned: we’ve got a post coming up soon on how to effectively use the testimonials you’ve gathered throughout your website! For now, make your list of past and current clients, develop your forms, and start making your asks.

3 Steps to Increasing Your Income

As a solopreneur, aiming for higher profits can often mean working twice as hard and twice as much. There are endless ways to expand your business – marketing campaigns, affiliate structures, social media posts, networking events, referrals. You can spend so much time trying everything, only to find that a few things actually work. But, that’s time you’d rather be spending with your family or at a yoga class, right?

To me, there is a systematic and absolute way to increase your income.

We were taught that we must work harder, or work more, in order for our bank accounts to have more money. But, I’ve found that is actually not the system at all. This system I’ve outlined includes an introduction to the Universal Law, the Law of Receiving, as well as practical, obvious steps for you to apply the Law in your business, right where it is, so that you can stop putting in so many hours and start bringing in the money you deserve.

The Law of Receiving is well-known as the Law of Cause and Effect, which states that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Or, in this case, for everything you give in service of others, you will generate a return.

There is a very specific way to apply the Law to your business, and I’ve outlined that system for you in three steps below.

This system can be used no matter what income level you are starting at, and it can be applied every time you desire to increase your income in the future.

Step #1. Give something of great value to others.

To receive anything, you must first give. This is how you have received all things up until now. For example, you give your time and talents in a “day-job” serving someone else, whether it be an employer or a customer. Because you are giving something that serves someone else, you open yourself to receiving — in this case, a paycheck. If you work more hours, you serve more, which then breeds a larger dollar amount on your paycheck.

The same is true for increasing your income as an entrepreneur, except you don’t have to increase your hours. You simply must figure out a way to serve more people, in a bigger way.

I suggest for my private clients to look through all of the things they have already created – workbooks, blog posts, checklists, videos, etc., and share just one of those things.

My tip: My favorite things to give away are tools that I’ve created to help myself improve an area of my life. For example, you can download my Weekly Productivity Workbook, which I created to help myself stay focused on the most important tasks I can complete every day.

Step #2. Give it to people who want it, need it, and are in the position to use it.

If you go into a homeless community and hand out budgeting worksheets, people are probably not going to use them. But, if you teach a group of homeless people how to make and sell jewelry, you’ve given them something that holds the potential to change their life.

Your focus is to look at what you can give and say, “Where are there mass amounts of people who need this, want this, and are in the position to use it?” Go there, and give those people the valuable item or tool.

My tip: The thing you’re giving away is not your entire product or service. It can, however, be a part of your service, like a worksheet or exercise that is useful on its own.

Step #3. Receive gifts in a specific way.

It is so important to provide a clear gateway for receiving. For example, if you give away worksheets about your unique system for keeping a food journal, but you don’t provide a clear way for people to reach you or learn more, you cut off both their learning and your receiving.

What you receive is not always a direct line from the people you give to. Many outside opportunities will drop in simply because the Law desires to bring you good from every possible channel.

My tip: If you’re not sure what to ask for, here’s a quick chart to help you:

If you want…

  • More private clients
  • To speak on stage to women
  • To sell your product through Whole Foods
  • To publish your book through a major publishing house

Then ask for…

  • Referrals
  • Contacts for event & group organizers
  • Contact information for the local buyer or manager
  • Agent connections
 

When you give, fully expect to receive. Just remember that you do not know what form or person it will come through. Be ready to boldly ask for what you want, because opportunities will present themselves.

If you’re looking for guidance on what you can give that is of great value to others, or exactly who to give it to, post your questions below in the comments and I will happily be your guide.

How To: Find (Almost) Any Email Address, Part II

Welcome to our How Tos, where we provide you with specific step-by-step instructions for common business questions. Have a tutorial you would like to see us provide? Let us know!

Awhile back, we posted a clever little trick for finding (almost) any email address. We’re back today with a few other hacks that you can use in case our first method doesn’t work for you.

  1. Google “email @url.com,” where url.com is the URL of the person whose email you want to find.
  2. Google “site:url.com AND (contact OR email).” This will often return results for pages or posts that include the person’s email address.
  3. Search for the site URL on who.is to find the email address of the site owner. This will only work if they don’t have domain privacy enabled.

How To: Embed a Tweet on Your Blog or Website

Welcome to our How Tos, where we provide you with specific step-by-step instructions for common business questions. Have a tutorial you would like to see us provide? Let us know!

You know when you get a tweet that absolutely makes your (rainy) day and you want to be sure that as many people as possible see it so they know how awesome you are…but they’re not all on Twitter?

Enter: embedded tweets.

We talked all about social proof in our webinar on personal branding– embedded tweets are a great way to drive home the message that your clients, customers, and followers have positive things to say about you.

Social Media Examiner has some other cool ways to make use of embedded tweets: to back up an argument or statement you’re making on your blog, embed conversations about your services or products (for example, we might embed the search “#onewomanshop”), or get buzz going for an event you’re organizing.

Here’s how to easily embed tweets on your blog or website:

  1. On the tweet you want to embed, click More

how to embed tweet2. Click Embed Tweet

embed tweet3. Copy the code in the pop-up box

embed tweet on website4. Paste the code wherever you want it on your site- try putting it into a text sidebar widget, on a page, or within a post

embedded tweet in sidebar widget

5. Admire your awesome new embedded tweets!embedded tweets

How To: Get Introduced on LinkedIn

As freelancers and solopreneurs, we love to use LinkedIn to build and maintain our professional network, but we understand why many people don’t see a ton of value in it- especially if they’re only popping up a profile and then stepping away. In our opinion, LinkedIn’s Get Introduced feature is one of the most underutilized functionalities of the site.

Wondering how it works? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to make use of the Get Introduced feature:

  1. On LinkedIn, search for the person that you would like to be introduced to- maybe it’s a potential client, partner, or contractor
  2. LinkedIn will tell you how many shared connections you have; click this green link to see who you are both connected to and make sure that you feel comfortable reaching out to one of themget introduced on linkedin
  3. Click the down arrow to the right of the Connect button, then select Get Introduced
    get introduced on linkedin
  4. Choose the person you (Person A) would like to have introduce you (Person B) to your target (Person C) when LinkedIn asks “Who should make the introduction?”
  5. Write a clear, concise message explaining why you would like to be connected to Person C and why you think Person B is the best person for the job
  6. Voila- you’ll soon have a direct connection to Person C- and you’ve unofficially been given the seal of approval by Person B!

Wondering what to say in your request for an introduction? Here’s what we might say:

Hi so and so,

Hope you’ve been doing well! I saw that you are connected to so and so and I was wondering if you would mind introducing us here on LinkedIn or via email. I’ve been following his/her work in xyz and would love a chance to connect with him/her directly!

Thanks so much,

Your name

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How To: Find (Almost) Any Email Address

Welcome to our How Tos, where we provide you with specific step-by-step instructions for common business questions. Have a tutorial you would like to see us provide? Let us know!

Ooh, do we have a good little trick up our sleeves today! You know those times when you’ve searched all over someone’s website only to come up blank on an actual way to contact them? Maybe they’ve hid their email address to prevent email overload or maybe they just overlooked the fact that it’s nowhere to be found. Either way, if you’re dying to make direct contact (tweets, Facebook messages, and repinning their pins doesn’t count here!), then read on.

Use this trick to make contact with potential partners, establish a relationship with a hot shot in your industry, seek sponsorship from a company, or recruit a contractor.

Note: in order for this to work, the person must have an email address tied to their domain. So, you wouldn’t be able to find a Gmail address- the person must have registered [email protected].

Here are step-by-step instructions for finding (almost) any email address.

  1. First, find and note the domain of the person you want to contact
  2. Plug the following formula into Google: “*”@theirdomain.com (that’s quotation mark, asterisk, quotation mark, the @ sign, and then the domain you want to search), then search
  3. Scroll down the results pages until you spot what looks like a valid email- it might be the the person’s name, [email protected], [email protected], or something else (f this doesn’t work, there may be no email address registered with that domain, so you’ll need to find a different way to make contact)
  4. You now know that you’ve found a valid email and can use it to contact the person directly!

Megan of Flawed Perfection Jewelry has graciously let us use her website and email address as our example. Let’s say we want to to contact Megan about a partnership- if you pop over to her contact page, you’ll see that her email address isn’t listed. If you’re hellbent on finding her email address, try this: Google “*”@flawedperfectionjewelry.com and note the link from Issuu.com about halfway down the page:

little email address trick

Aha! We now know that Megan uses the email address [email protected] and can get to work on contacting her!

Was this trick helpful? How are you planning to use it?

P.S. We did a follow up post on other tricks for finding email addresses if this one doesn’t work!

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How To: Insert Social Media Icons into Your Email Signature

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Did you see our snazzy email signature back in the day (before Sara joined #TeamOWS)?

how to insert social media buttons into email signature

We’re not trying to brag — we just thought you might like to know how to incorporate social media buttons into your email signature in order to let your email contacts — whether they’re potential clients, customers, or hires- know that you’re active on social media.

Here are step-by-step instructions for inserting professional but fun social media buttons into your Gmail email signature (the steps for other email providers are very similar):

  1. Log in into your Gmail account
  2. Hover over the “gear” icon and select “Settings”
  3. Under the “General” tab, scroll down to the email signature box
  4. Under your name and other contact information, select the “Insert Image” icon
  5. Find social media icons (Canva has a great list of 49 sites where you can find free icons and both Icon Archive and IconFinder have good selections. You can also Google “free social media buttons“). Be sure to examine the copyright license to avoid any infringement before using any icons you find
  6. When you find social media buttons that you like, choose a size (we recommend 32 x 32) then right click on the image and select “Copy Image URL.” Go back to your email signature and paste the URL into the “Add an Image box.” If you are satisfied with the image preview, click “OK”
  7. Next, highlight the icon you just inserted and click the link icon (the one that looks like a chain). Here, input the URL that you would the user to go to if they click on one of your social media icons- for example, for a Twitter icon, we would enter http://www.twitter.com/onewomanshop
  8. Be sure to test the link. If problem free, repeat the process for all social media icons you hope to include.
  9. You’re done! Sit back, relax, and know that your email contacts now have an easy way of connecting with you on social media

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