Getting testimonials, what are the best practices?


Testimonials can be a useful marketing tool. I wanted to toss a bunch of questions out to see if someone with some experience in the area can provide feedback and guidance.

  • Are there times where it does not make sense to publish testimonials?
  • Are they typically solicited or unsolicited?
  • How do you approach clients with a request for a testimonial?
  • Is it customary to ask permission before publishing?
  • Should you keep the customer names anonymous?
  • How much editing of the original comment is acceptable?

Our target industry/customers are small-to-medium size broker dealers and proprietary trading firms. Generally we work directly with the firm principals but the testimonials can come from them, their managers or traders themselves.


asked Nov 27 '09 at 03:31
Oleg Barshay
2,091 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

1 Answer


To your questions, from my experience:

  • I don't know about the size of your customers or the industry so those will have an impact. And don't know if you're talking about companies or consumers/individuals.
  • If you're talking about companies, usually getting approvals is way, way harder than you can imagine, especially if you're talking about bigger companies.
  • Be clear about what your objectives are from a marketing standpoint and how testimonials will be a part of meeting those objectives.
  • If there are testimonials that don't meet those objectives, don't publish them.
  • It's awesome if they're unsolicited but usually you'll have a sense of your best example customers and the ones you'd most like to use and go after them.
  • Present to them exactly how the testimonials will be used. Print ad, website, press...however. Try and convey some benefits to them if there are any. Visibility for their company or individual, ...whatever.
  • Yes, always get permission. Risks are pissing off and losing a good client/customer or worse. So be safe, get their approvals.
  • Using customer names depends on who they are and how they'll help you achieve your objectives. Usually a testimonial is a lot stronger with a real company name or a real person's name. But again on the company front, sometimes they won't let you use their name. So while not ideal, you can still give some general "F100 company" or "top aerospace company" or whatever is most credible without the name. Likewise if you're talking about individuals, "a criminal attorney with major law firm"...whatever.
  • Don't edit the comment at all without their permission. Never. It's okay to work with them on the wording you want but it's best to work real close to what they really say and how they say it. Authenticity is important and hard to manufacture. Keep their style but help them get the key points you want in their words.

Good luck. And share a little more info on type of clients, industry, etc. for the benefit of others jumping in with their answers.

answered Nov 27 '09 at 04:25
4,214 points
  • Thank you for your answer, Chris. I added more detail to my question. – Oleg Barshay 14 years ago

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