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How to collect GREAT testimonials for your online course

Max van Collenburg By Max van Collenburg

Your can say yourself that your online course is amazing, but it’s much more powerful when someone else does 💪

(especially when it tackles an objection a potential customer might have)

But collecting testimonials & using them in the right place isn’t that easy.

You need to know what to ask, where to use them, and how to automate the process.

So that’s what this guide is for!

Let me share you some different methods to (automatically) collect testimonials from your students 🙂

Let’s dive in!

What is a testimonial?

A testimonial is essentially a review or recommendation from a customer that describes their experience with your online course ✍

About what feeling they got, which problems they solved, which goals they achieved, etc.

And those testimonials can also be in different formats;

  • Video testimonial: the student who says a few words about your course.
  • Text testimonial: a short quote or a long case study
  • Image testimonial: a photo that shows a result or a before/after of something.
  • Audio testimonial: the student who says a few words about your course.

But whatever it is, they always have the same goal; showing how great your online course is 👏

And to show that, you can cover different things;

  • How they liked you as a teacher 🧔
  • About how the course was structured 🧰
  • How the course helped them to overcome something.
  • What results they got from your online course 🏆
  • And anything else that’s relevant to your course.

But the most important thing is that they are authentic, never ever use a fake testimonial.

(this is not one of those fake it till you make it situations)

It’s better to use no testimonials at all, than fake ones.

Why are testimonials important?

Testimonials are important because they build trust with your potential students.

And trust is superduper important, because people buy from people they trust 💸

You can praise the hell out of your own course on the sales page, but it’s much more powerful when someone else does.

Compare this;

“My course will blow you away! The course is greatly structured and will help you to be a professional astronaut in two weeks, even if you’re a total beginner.”

To this;

“I’m blown away by Max his course! I didn’t know anything about space yet, but this course helped me to become an astronaut in just two weeks because it was so greatly structured. I was finally able to visit the Moon!”
– Emmah Doe

That’s much more convincing, right? 🚀👨‍🚀

You basically want to use the words of your students to sell your course, instead of having to convince people yourself.

What makes a great testimonial?

I think anything good a student says can be used as a testimonial, there are not strict rules.

But you could keep some things in mind if you want the testimonials to make more impact;

  • Authentic: don’t use fake testimonials. People see through this, and they’ll never trust you again.
  • Keep it short: most places where you’ll use testimonials it’s handy if they’re not too long. Just 2-3 sentences or a couple of minutes. But you could always consider doing a in-depth casestudy on a separate page.
  • Tackles objections: people will have certain doubts about your course, and it would be great if your testimonials could tackle those specifically.
  • Contains specific results: if your course promises a certain result, it’s great if you can show students who had success.
  • Face & name: makes it more personal & authentic, but always make sure to ask for permission to use people their photo & name.

Where & how to use testimonials

Testimonials aren’t just for sales pages, you can use them in a lot of places in a lot of different ways.

Let me show you some examples.

Option #1: Sales page

The most obvious place to use testimonials is on your sales page.

You’re trying to sell something, and without any social proof that’s really hard.

So your sales page is where you really want to go all in, and show as many testimonials as possible.

I, for example, added a special ‘what students are saying’ section:

And also added testimonials next to the pricing table:

example of testimonials next to pricing table

But you can do it in many different ways.

Option #2: Checkout page

When people are tempted to purchase your online course, they usually go from your sales page to your checkout page.

This is another great opportunity to use one or more testimonials.

Here’s an example of one of my checkout pages:

See how I’m using the testimonials in the sidebar?

Option #3: Homepage & about me

Don’t just stick to your sales & checkout page.

Why not sprinkle some love on the rest of your website too?

It doesn’t have to be specifically be about your courses, but could also be about you as a person or teacher in general.

Here’s an example of what I do on my homepage:

example of testimonials on a homepage

And here how I incorporated some testimonials in my about me story:

about me page testimonial example

For me, this helps to build trust as a teacher.

So whenever someone looks at one of my courses, they might remember those testimonials.

Option #4: Marketing emails

I’ve the feeling this is one course creators often don’t think about when they pitch their online course.

(it also took me a while to start doing this)

You can obviously link to your sales page, which has the testimonials.

But why not already share some of your best testimonials in the email itself?

I, for example, like to sometimes include a testimonial in the PS section like this:

Testimonial in the PS section of an email

Or you could also include a screenshot of a video testimonial in your email;

Example of a video testimonial in an email

When people click the screenshot to watch the video, it links to this page on my website with a big purchase button underneath:

But you could also consider having a dedicated email about the testimonial.

During a promotion, you could send out an email 1 day before the deadline of the promotion expires, to highlight a student that has been successful with your course.

Option #5: Webinars

If you’re doing webinars, be sure to include a slide with some testimonials of your students.

And maybe casually include some testimonials during your presentation.

Option #6: Go crazy

You can’t use enough testimonials.

Try to use them whenever you are trying to sell something, or when you are trying to build some trust in general.

How to collect testimonials (without lifting a finger)

You can always reach out manually to students to ask what they think about your course.

But that’s quite a lot of work, and you need to keep track of who finished certain parts of your course.

That’s why I think it’s important to automate as much of this as possible.

Here are some of my favourite ways 💪

Method #1: embedded surveys

At the beginning, during, and at the end of the course I like to embed surveys into the lessons.

The one at the beginning of the course I use to understand what people want to get out of the course (why they bought it).

The surveys during the course are helping me to improve the course.

And the one at the end generates a lot of testimonial material.

It’s a bit zoomed out, but here’s a screenshot to give you an idea of what that looks like:

Example of end survey after following course to collect testimonial

So it’s separate lesson page called ‘The End’ in which I ask people to fill out the form below the video.

I’m still experimenting with different questions, but here’s what I’m asking right now;

  1. Did this course meet your expectation?
    • Follow-up if yes → what did you like most?
    • Follow-up if not → what could I have improved?
  2. How did you like me as a teacher?
  3. Which problem did this course help you solve? Or which goal did it help you achieve?
  4. Is there anything that you missed in the course? Or anything that I could improve?
  5. Would you recommend this course to others?
    • Follow-up if yes → How would you describe this course in 1-2 sentences to a friend or colleague?
    • Follow-up if not → What could I’ve done to make it better?

With some questions, I dynamically ask a different follow-up question based on their answer.

(I do that with the SuperForms WordPress Plugin)

That way, the initial survey doesn’t look so long, and it helps to get more relevant feedback.

Method #2: automated timed email

This depends a bit on your online course platform whether this is possible or not.

But I’ve build my own platform with a combination of WordPress/BuddyBoss/WP Fusion, which allows me to automatically send emails when a student completes a specific lesson or a whole course.

So after someone completes an important module, I like to send something like this:

Hey Emmah!

I noticed that you just finished the module about marketing strategies.

How did you like those?

– Max

P.S. If you’ve any questions, let me know!

Or you could send something like this when the student finishes the course:

Hey Emmah!

I noticed that you just finished the course, wohooo! 🥳

What do you think about the course? Was it helpful?

– Max

P.S. If you’ve any questions, let me know!

This is a great way to gather feedback & improve your course, but you can also use their replies as testimonials! 🙌

Method #3: why me email

This is an email that I send automatically two months after someone purchased one of my courses.

I find it a great way to figure out why people bought a course from me.

But often I also get good feedback back about the course, which I can use for a testimonial.

Hey Emmah!

It’s a few months ago since you’ve purchased one of my products.

Super awesome!

I’m still very grateful that you took that decision and I hope it has really helped you so far.

But I’m curious..

There are so many marketers out there.

So many marketers who’re also talking about marketing automation, funnels, bots, etc.

That’s why I want to ask you a question;

Why me? 🙃

Why did you decide to purchase on of my products, and not of some other guy?

I would love to know 😄

– Max

Method #4: use what you get

Sometimes you’re lucky, and you don’t even have to ask anything at all.

You might sometimes just get a nice email or message from a student with a compliment about your course.

Use that as an opportunity for a testimonial.

Sometimes you can literally copy & paste what they said.

And other times you have to ask some follow-up questions to get something relevant.

Method #5: asking

This is not automated, but it’s still a great method if you don’t have any testimonials yet.

Simply send an email to students who’ve followed your course, and ask them for help.

Hey Emmah!

A while ago, you’ve followed my course Astronaut Mastery.

I hope you got a lot of value out of it, and wondered if you could help me out by writing 1 or 2 sentences about how you liked the course?

That will help me to convince others to get the course too.

Thanks a lot!

– Max

Honesty goes a long way.

And people like to help other people out, especially if they got value from your course.

Conclusion

You now know why testimonials are incredibly important if you want to sell more online courses.

And you also know how to collect them now 🤓

But don’t stress too much about having to collect tons and tons of testimonials right away, it also took me a while to collect so many.

Good luck!