Small Business Life

3 compelling qualities of super effective testimonials and how to get them

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Lyzi Unwin
Content Producer
Fervent blogger sharing signature Studio Cotton advice & small business stories
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This article and all others on the Studio Cotton blog are written by humans. Please enjoy our opinions, expertise, advice, experiences, and typos.

Testimonials… oh gosh, are they a great tool for selling more. If you’re not really sure what a testimonial is, it’s basically a bit of text written by client or customer of yours saying how much they liked your service or products – testifying to your qualifications.

Adding testimonials to your small business website is a wonderful way of turning potential customers into definite customers, because they show how valuable your products or services are, and are an assurance that they’re worth the money.

Sure, you can say that you make the best things, that you’re reliable and have the nicest team, and any other nice things about your small business, but it could all be codswallop.

The public can often be (quite rightfully) sceptical, so that’s where testimonials and reviews come in to back up your claims.

Well then, it must be a good idea to chuck every single nice thing your customers have ever said about your small business onto your website, right?⁠

Well, no actually. Any testimonials are better than no testimonials, but as you can see in Aime’s Margie vs Baz below, a few tweaks and hand-picked sentiments can make all the difference.⁠


3 qualities of a super useful client testimonial

As we’ve established, some testimonials are more effective than others. We’ve made this super clear for you, because we like you so much and want to see you make loads of money.

Testimonials and reviews reassure potential customers that they’ll love your stuff because that other person loved your stuff.⁠ But these tools only work if:⁠

→ they’re actually read⁠
→ they back up something you’ve said⁠
→ they help paint a full picture⁠

If a testimonial doesn’t meet the qualities of that effective small business tool, it sounds like you might be using them as a lil ego boost.⁠

Ideally, your testimonials need to have the following 3 qualities.

1. Brevity

This is just another way of saying concise or short. Shorter text is more likely to be read and remembered, so edit out any filler for a dense and succinct review.

As lovely as your client’s 3-paragraph raving review is – please do not post it all on your website.⁠ I know it feels really lovely when you read it, but that’s just a little too much for potential clients to read.

2. Specificity

A testimonial should vouch for your products and services, so try to avoid statements which might feel like generic-but-positive fluff.

3. Variety

Nobody wants to read the same thing from 3 different people. Each testimonial should flesh out the story of how your small business benefits your customers and clients.


It also helps if your testimonials are professional (or at the very least, text-speak free),⁠ excited, and impressed⁠. Take the time to review your reviews, and edit them down to the most convincing and most flattering highlights.⁠


How to collect the best testimonials for your small business

Sure, you can ask your customers or clients for some comments, but to get really effective testimonials, you need to lead them in the right direction to hit all the values outlined above.

An efficient way to get your perfect testimonial is to make a Google form with some questions and options which give the filler-outer some direction.

Take a look at Aime’s brilliant example in her Instagram post below in which she shares her feedback form, and why she chose these specific fields. Oh, and by the way, she fully gave you all permission to adapt this form for your own small business testimonials too – yessssss.

The form gently guides the client to be specific and concise, then gathers the other basic info needed, such as name, location etc. It also contains a section for consent, which is really important, as most people won’t like to see their words used somewhere they weren’t expecting.



Send it out to clients whose projects you’re super pleased with, or to customers who bought some of your best products. Include a lovely message with a note that it’ll help their SEO to have a backlink to their website, if they have their own small business.

You can read a little more about backlinks in our blog post, 7 simple and free SEO backlink building tips using only your existing contacts and relationships.

We put our testimonials on the Studio Cotton homepage and service pages, so that our potential clients can easily see what past and current clients thought of us. You can also pop some testimonials on your about page, if that tickles your fancy.


All of this doesn’t mean that all the fluffy, emoji-filled feedback you get has to go in the bin – oh, hell no!

Those compliments and lovely messages might not necessarily help potential customers figure out if you’re the small business for their needs, but they have a different, very specific, and very important purpose: making you feel all fuzzy inside.

Whether you want to screenshot them and keep them in a folder on your computer or phone to refer back to when you’re feeling the small business dread, or pop them all into a document and choose a nice font, and print it out to pin it above your desk, they’re definitely worth keeping and looking at for a lil ego boost.

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