Most of us are naturally a bit skeptical. We’ve seen a lot of advertising; we’ve heard a lot of marketing promises. We know that businesses often promise things they can’t deliver or only tell the positive part of any story. If you’ve ever shaken your head and thought sarcastically, “oh, sure…” after hearing a sales pitch, you know what I’m talking about. Some things just sound too good to be true.

This ^^^ is why using praise effectively is so important for your online business. Praise – when used properly – backs up your claims, showcases your brilliance, and builds trust in your brand.

Want strategies you can use to make the most of every testimonial, glowing client email, and tiny bit of praise you receive? Keep reading, because there’s more to being effective than just slapping together a quick praise page. 🙂

Strategy One :: Strategic Placement

This is my personal favorite, because I feel it is most effective. See, copywriting is all about creating a dialogue inside the mind of the reader. I intentionally make overt (and subtle) marketing promises throughout website copy… the kind that might occasionally sound a bit too good to be true. Strategic placement of praise allows me to meet the reader in that “yeah, right…” moment and demonstrate that my claim is completely true.

Let me show you this in action… in a way that’s easy to understand and apply.

Imagine you pride yourself on really listening to your clients, understanding their needs, and creating a welcoming, collaborative feeling as you work with them. You feel this is a main point of differentiation for your design business, and you want to make sure potential clients identify this as a reason to work with you.

Your about page might say something like this –» Working with me is like collaborating with an old friend. I listen closely, ask good questions, and support you as you explore options. Just like selecting the perfect outfit for a big event, we work together until we create the perfect digital strategy to highlight your strengths and draw all eyes to your expertise.

Sounds a little cheesy, right? And, maybe just a bit over the top. But, what if you matched this “claim” with strategically placed praise?

Insert a testimonial such as –» “Michelle listened carefully while I explored a variety of strategies to see how they fit my business. She answered my questions, gave me space to try on options, and gently guided me to the perfect look for my business.” «– BAM! Now that cheesy claim is ultra-believable.

In my professional copywriting opinion, each marketing promise you make on your website can (and should) be supported by a strategically positioned praise item.

But, I also believe that each page of website copy can only support a maximum of three testimonials or quotes. This – in my humble opinion – is a natural guideline for your messaging. Limit your promises to 3 per page, and you’re good. 🙂

Side note –» Bloated copy (just like busy, bloated design) is the mark of an amateur. If you want to get serious about upleveling your design business, talk to a copywriter. Professionally written copy is one of the best investments you can make in your business.

Strategy Two :: Case Study / Portfolio

Make the most of client testimonials by weaving them into your portfolio. I recently shared an easy system for creating simple case studies for your website. You can read it here. I highly recommend selecting a few projects you’re particularly proud of and converting them into case studies.

Of course, not every project is worthy of a case study. However, using praise as part of your portfolio is an easy way to make a bigger impact. Share your work… and then share your client’s feedback. If possible, select a testimonial that praises your design process, creative ability, or technical know-how. This will add depth to the visual images you use to showcase your work.

Strategy Three :: Social Proof

Wondering what to do with the positive comments and love you receive on social media? This type of praise item is perfect for sales pages because it provides a quick injection of social proof and creates energy and excitement about the offering.

I recommend using screenshots and placing social proof strategically within the sales or landing page. You want it to be obvious that the comment was made on a social media platform… so no one wonders if you made it up. 🙂 While I typically recommend getting permission when using praise on a website, it’s not strictly necessary here. Social comments are already in the public domain, so they are usually quite safe to use. If you can get permission, however, it’s always polite to do so.

Strategy Four :: Praise Page with Callouts

Let me be clear a minute… there’s nothing wrong with using a praise page on your website. In fact, this can be a great strategy for sharing additional testimonials and praise points that haven’t been used in one of the other three strategies. BUT – a praise page is only effective when it is read. We can agree on that, right?

So, here’s the problem I see all the time –» sharing lengthy testimonials in a small font, one after another down a seemingly endless page. No one reads that mess, honestly.

The solution is simple, really. Pull out the most impactful phrase or snippet and call it out in a different color, size, and font at the beginning of the testimonial. Then, share the most powerful and impactful testimonials first… so I can read them without scrolling.

Here’s how this looks…

See what I did here? I made it easy to skim this testimonial and consume the point I wanted emphasized. Strategic callouts like this one draw in the reader, capture interest, and make each testimonial more powerful as a result.

Thinking strategically allows you to make the most of every bit of praise you receive… so you can get the best possible results.

Do you ask for testimonials at the end of a project? Do curate praise, save positive emails, and take advantage of social media comments and feedback? Using praise effectively is a simple way to uplevel your business. My challenge? Select one of these strategies and schedule time to implement it on your website this week. You’ll be glad you did.

How to use praise to back up your claims and uplevel your freelance design business.
Author: Michelle Hunter

Michelle Hunter is a business strategist and copywriter with a gift for connecting entrepreneurs and their clients using great writing. She is a regular contributer to the DtD blog and co-creator of Designing Success Bootcamp - Helping designers create a strong marketing engine to power business growth. Visit MichelleHunterCreative.com to contact Michelle or learn more.