I’m sure you already know that testimonials from past clients are one of the most valuable things you can have. Sure, they help you show off the ‘social proof’ behind the work on your website, but do you know they can also be used inside your business to help you identify your ideal client?
To your ideal client, testimonials say ‘other people have worked with me and achieved success, therefore that same success is also achievable by you’.
And that’s great and all, except when you’re feeling confused about who your ideal client even is.
If you’ve been caught up in the ‘my ideal client is anyone that will give me money’ mindset of a freelancer then you might be identifying a bit too much with this feeling.
In the back of your mind, you know that not everyone can be your ideal client and that you’ve been made to serve a special person with a special problem – the problem is figuring out exactly who that person is so you can reach more of them.
First, I want to share this unpopular tidbit: I’m against the whole ‘Ideal Client Avatar’ trend. I don’t think that building a fake persona with artificial tastes in coffee, retail stores, or music genres will in any way help me serve more people with messaging, design, or brand management.
So what do I believe in instead? Past clients. Past clients are the bread and butter of your business because you already know they’ve wanted what you sell, were converted by your words or messaging, and invested in you.
So while dreaming up a girl named Alice that loves chai lattes, Sephora, and indie rock may be fun, it’s not going to help me tailor my offer or messaging to reach more people that actually want to invest in my service.
In fact, after having worked with 150+ small business owners, I’ve worked with women like Alice, sure, but I’ve also worked with moms, women over 50, women with a corporate background, military veterans, highly-educated professionals, and even men. They’ve all had a successful business, a problem I could solve, and the money to invest – and that’s always been more important than their demographics.
First, if you’re not already sending out testimonial forms when a project is complete, start doing that.
Second, go back and send revised forms (with the questions I have below) to any past clients that you’ve loved working with. This ensures that we’re collecting feedback from the kind of clients we want more of.
So what questions do I ask when a project is over?
For collection, I’ve previously used Dubsado but now use Google Forms. This is so all of the answers to each question stay together rather than inside of each client’s individual dashboard in my CRM.
And getting reviews doesn’t stop there. Three to six months after our project has launched – I reach out AGAIN to see how things are now and ask how my experience has impacted their business and their sales.
And most creatives skip that part – but it’s just so important. Because saying I’m amazing is great but saying I’ve helped double someone’s sales is even better.
So once you have all these reviews…. what do you do with them?
First – sprinkle them throughout your website. Especially in key places anytime you’re telling someone how much you charge or if you’re asking them to take the next step in working together. Please do not place them all on one page labeled reviews to forever be missed by all that visit your website.
But next, analyze the crap out of them and highlight any similarities! Do most of your past clients feel the same way about your service? What shared frustrations did they have about the problem you help them solve? Record these key pieces and use them throughout the copy on your website.
Reviews are great but using your ideal client’s language back at them throughout your website copy is even better.