Using Testimonials on Your Website

Todd Tychiewicz
Todd Tychewicz, Wonder Bug. Hammered sterling silver brooch, 2 inches in diameter. Photo by Steve Sonheim.

My good buddy Todd Tychewicz asks:

I have some dandy testimonials and wanted to include them on my site. . . . Do I need to ask permission from my customers to use their messages to me? Does it mean more to have a name at the bottom of the enthusiastic praise? Or would it be best to just use one liners in quotations with no names attached?

Yes, real names from real people are much more effective than anonymous testimonials. In order to avoid any potential unpleasant surprises, always ask for permission before publishing someone else's words.
Not everyone likes to see their name in lights – especially art collectors. Whenever you publish someone's name, there is the potential (if only slight) that another person reads the post and thinks, “Oh, so-and-so must have a lot of nice things in their home.” In other words, there is the risk of future theft.
You must protect your buyers and collectors at all costs.
There's a way to systematize this process that could make it easier for you in the future.

How I Make Testimonials Work for Me

I am truly blessed that testimonials come into my inbox almost on a daily basis. You – my readers, clients, and Conspirators – are generous with your kind words.
Whenever I get one of these nice emails from artists, here's what I do.

  1. I respond with gratitude and a note: “Would you mind if, at some point, I used your words and name as a testimonial? I would link to your website or blog if it's appropriate for you.”
  2. After receiving approval from the artist, I save the testimonial in an email folder or in Evernote. I make sure to use a good subject line with the saved message so that I know what the testimonial is for and so that I don't have to wade through a bunch of messages to find the one I was looking for. I include the artist's URL and email address in the note – again, so I don't have to search for it later.
  3. When I use testimonials on a website, I'll add the  hyperlinks to the artists' names and email them to tell them where it appears.

Tips for Better Testimonials on Your Site

Keep your testimonials SHORT and snappy. Look for the juicy stuff within all of the other words and remove what is unnecessary. Long testimonials aren't better testimonials.
Try to get your buyers and collectors to give specific testimonials. Rather than just “I love your art,” press them to go deeper. Does the work bring back a memory? Make them smile more? Lead to world peace?
My $7 tip: If the words in a testimonial need tightening up, I edit them a bit and ask if it would be okay to use my version. I feel comfortable doing this because the author of the email was just sending me an email – not expecting it to be published anywhere. I make it easy for them to approve it because I do all of the work.
How do you use testimonials?

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9 thoughts on “Using Testimonials on Your Website”

  1. thanks Alyson ~ I love using testimonials on my site! I always ask for permission and then use the buyer/collector’s kind words ending with their initials and location. I sometimes link to the piece they are talking about, as well.
    I think it is fun to see all of the places around the world where the work has traveled. Every time someone responds saying “yes” I can use their words, they are always honored, as well. It is a win-win. I know that testimonials encourage others to feel comfortable purchasing from an artist. Thanks again!
    Sincerely, Katie m. Berggren

  2. I’ve gotten one or two “official” testimonials and permission to use them. I plan on placing them on relevant pages. You don’t actually address this Alyson, but I thought I’d mention it. What I’d like to know is how to not feel cheesy about asking for testimonials or asking to use someone’s spontaneous compliment as a testimonial. 🙂

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Patricia: I would never have thought it was cheesy to ask someone to use the words they’ve already said/written. It’s harder to ask people for a testimonial out of the blue, but it’s quite natural when it comes as a result of conversation.

  3. I always learn so much from your posts. So far, I only have testimonials on Linkedin, but after this post will look at the best way to incorporate them on my blog. Thank you.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Sue: Easy enough to ask your LI connections if you can use outside of that site.

  4. I have found the best things in life come from hard work, and patience. Taking the time to ask permission from my custies has been a great way to reconnect and remind them of how much I appreciate them, it’s a win, win deal.
    Thanks for the tough love Alyson!

  5. Pingback: Share the Stage to Make Fast Fans — Art Biz Blog

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