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!

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