When I launched my first course here on Zen Courses, I didn't have a clue about how to get testimonials. So I decided not to worry about it.
That was a huge mistake. I didn't hit my sales goal and, looking back, I know that a lack of testimonials was a big factor.
It took me a long time to figure out how to leverage specific strategies to get testimonials for courses (and other digital products). Here's what I wish someone would have told me way back when.
Why Testimonials Matter?
Have you ever bought anything online? If so, what's the second thing you do when you find something you want to buy? If you're like me, you look for reviews.
You want proof that other people have bought that item you're eagerly considering AND that they're happy with their purchase. (I mean, there's no way I'm buying that J Crew sweater if everyone says it pills after one wash. AmIRight? AmIRight?)
When done right, testimonials are powerful social proof that can comfort potential customers and convince them to buy your course.
But how do you get testimonials for your online course? And what do you do if you're launching a new course? Keep reading to find out.
How to Get Testimonials If You Have Existing Students
The only way to get testimonials is to ask for them. If asking is scary for you, here's a few options to help you make the ask:
- Option A: Send an email to existing students and ask them for a review. Something simple like "How's the course going? I'd love it if you could write a short review."
- Option B: In your onboarding emails, set-up regular intervals where you ask for feedback. When you get positive comments, ask if you can use it as a testimonial.
- Option C: When students email you positive comments, ask to setup a 20min Skype chat to learn more about their experience.
Whichever option you choose, make it easy for students to leave a review. Tell them how long you need it to be, or send them specific questions to answer, or send a Calendly link to schedule that Skype call in your initial email.
How to Get Testimonials If You're Launching a New Course
If you have a new course it feel like there's no way to get testimonials. But that's not true. Here are two ways to get testimonials even if you're launching something new:
- Give people access to your course in exchange for a testimonial. Be transparent here. Make it clear that your goal is to get testimonials to use when you launch your course. (This also a good way to get initial feedback.)
- If you offer consulting or coaching in an area related to your course topic, use testimonials from prior clients.
When I launched my course, I completely overlooked the fact that I had tons of testimonials from prior clients and people who'd taken my free products. If that's you too, don't be like me: put together a list of your testimonials that you can refer back to.
Different Types of Testimonials
There's a hierarchy of quality when it comes to testimonials. Think about it, does text alone make you buy something? But if you see a name, or better yet a picture, it adds more weight. Here are the four levels:
- Text + Initials Only - This is the entry-level testimonial. It doesn't lend as much credibility as the others, but it's a start. Your customers may question whether this testimonial is real.
- Text + Image + Name - The next step up. Adding an image is a serious boost to credibility. Having a real name is an added bonus.
- Written Case Study - This is the holy grail of written testimonials. It's not just a snippet of nice text. It's detailed info on your product (or service). And it means your customer was so wowed that they took time to provide detailed answers.
- Video Testimonial - These. Are. Gold. They convert better than anything else. I primarily use these for my consulting services, but you can totally use them for products too. Here's a sample from my work with Philip Morgan:
What Questions Should Your Testimonial Answer?
When people stumble upon your course or product, they want to know two things:
- Does this get the results it promises?
- Will it work for someone like me?
To answer the first question, be sure to include reviews that are results specific. Case studies are great for this.
To answer the second question, include reviews from people of different professions and backgrounds so your customers can 'see' themselves in a review.
Back to You
I'll be using these strategies for my next course launch. What about you?
How do you get testimonials for your online course or digital products?