Episode 4 | Should I Use Testimonials to Promote my Practice?

In the Clinic with Camille

a podcast for integrative practitioners

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Testimonials can be powerful marketing tools.

When I was doing research for my recent webinar on how to find clients without using social media, I kept running across the recommendation to use testimonials.

Sometimes known as "social proof," they can reassure potential clients that you're a legitimate practitioner and that others have benefited from working with you. 

Almost all online marketing/business-building courses and gurus will tell you to include testimonials on your sales pages and in your marketing materials if you have them.

When clients are singing your praises, it does seem like a good idea to build on that enthusiasm so that future clients can see they'd be in good hands.

Not so fast.

As healthcare practitioners, we are automatically in an uneven relationship with our clients in terms of power dynamics.

Their care is our first priority.

We have to ask ourselves if there are any possible risks to our clients or to our relationship with our clients when we ask for or use a testimonial or review for self-promotion.

Could doing so affect your work together? Might the client feel compelled to oblige? Are there any risks to the client if their testimonial is published online or in other marketing materials?

Most organizations for counselors and therapists prohibit the solicitation of testimonials for these reasons. Rob Reinhardt (2015) has written about the Ethical pitfalls of online testimonials and reviews from a counseling perspective, but I think these are relevant considerations for integrative practitioners as well.

What about if your work with a client is complete? What if they sent you an unsolicited testimonial? Thes are mitigating factors that may change your willinegness to use them. 

There isn't a single correct answer here. 

I urge you to think about these issues and decide what feels comfortable and right for you. I share what I've decided for myself at the end of the episode.

I hope you find it helpful.

If you decide to use testimonials:

  • Give your client the option to stay anonymous, use a pseudonym, or use initials only
  • Be sure you have your client's permission and that they understand what will be posted online and any possible negative repercussions
  • Make sure the content is true (both what is implied and what is explicitly said) so that you don't run afoul of the FTC

Have a Question or Comment?

I'd love to hear from you!

Thoughts? Add your comments here. 

  • Hi Camille, just getting caught up on your podcast! I just listened to this one and thought I’d share that I agree with what you have concluded. I am starting to market my own practice at this point, looking to grow that side of what I am doing, and I had a thought to ask one of my client’s for a testimonial. But I didn’t do it and something about it felt off. I decided I would wait until we are totally done working together before asking, but now after listening to your take on it, I think I will just pass on it. I do have some very old testimonials on my website that I think are ok to keep up and I’m going to just leave those for now. But anyway, I appreciate your thoughts, as alwasys!

    • Thanks, Jillian! Yes, it seems like a delicate balancing act. I think there are probably cases and times when testimonials are appropriate and others where they’re not. For me, the key point is for folks to just consider the pros/cons and make an informed decision to use or not use them, rather than just going with the default!

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    Camille Freeman (she/her)

    Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and licensed nutritionist specializing in fertility and reproductive health. I faciliate the Monday Mentoring community of practice and offer continuing eduation programs for highly trained herbalists & nutritionists. I'm also a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I teach physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating.