How To Toot Your Own Horn Without Being Totally Annoying

how to promote yourself

There are probably a million awkward, difficult things about running your own business.
(And a million awesome things, too! Spending a weekday eating pizza and buying over-priced bras with a dear friend being chief among them.)

In addition to networking on Twitter, blogging regularly, and finding clients, you should probably find a way to toot your own horn and showcase all those satisfied customers.  Preferably without being super annoying about it.

Is that possible?  I hope so!  Here are a few things that I’ve tried.


Rotating testimonials in your sidebar
You should definitely, definitely have a testimonial page loaded with kind words from satisfied clients (more on that below.) But even the most convincing of testimonial pages is probably tucked into your menu bar.  That’s why I have short testimonials rotating through my sidebar.  They’re  a lot more eye-catching than the ‘testimonial’ tab in my menu bar.  My designer built mine for me, but you could probably do something similar with this WordPress widget.


A testimonial page
Buy you already knew that, right?  If at all possible, your testimonial page should also include photos of the people recommending you + your wares and links to their online home.  It adds a lot of weight to their praise and reassures us that, yes, Real Actual Humans have used your services and goods.

Not sure how to get those testimonials?  My girl Alex Franzen wrote a great blog post about exactly how to do it.  If applicable, ask your clients to share really specific, quantifiable changes that have resulted from working with you.  How many more clients have they landed?  How much longer are people staying on their website?  How many more sales have they made?


Tweet about it

Did someone say something nice about you and your wares on Twitter?  Retweet it.  Are you working with a new client?  Tweet about it and @mention them.  This shows your Twitter followers that
a) you’re a busy, popular, painfully talented person
b) you appreciate your clients
c) the type of clients you work with

You can also tweet links to clients’ new products, new websites, or new developments that you were involved with.

On your sales page
If you have several different offerings, that accomplish several different things, tuck a few testimonials specific to that offering (with headshots and links) into that sales page.  Customers want to know that they’re not the first person to purchase this product and what other people got out of it.


On Facebook
Did someone send you a photo your product in use?  Put it on Facebook.  Did someone write you a super lovely email about how your ebook changed their travel life? With self-deprecating wit and graciousness, put it on Facebook.  Is someone using using your jam in a recipe on their food blog?  Link to the post on Facebook.


Link to your press mentions
Press mentions are lovely because someone else is doing the horn tooting for you!  All you have to do is link to them and mention how flattered you are.  If you regularly get mentioned in the press, you can even create a ‘as seen in’ section for you sidebar.

Most importantly, toot your horn for other people
If you’ve purchased a product or service that you love, tell the internet about it.  Tweet that you just got the proofs from your photographer Leslie Plesser and you loooooove them.  Or that your designer Kim Lawler is a genius of unparalleled abilities.  They will appreciate the kind words and you’ll be supporting people and businesses that deserve it.

How do you incorporate testimonials into your websites and social media?  




I’ve had “update my testimonial page” on my to-do list for months and it always gets back-burnered to fulfilling orders and churning out more content online. So until I can get to all that, I love love LOVE the easy and practical suggestions you have listed here-especially the ones you mention about Twitter and Facebook. BRILLIANT, I say! :)


I really wish I had kept track of my testimonials from various services I’ve provided.

My question, however, is in regards to the amount: What if you get a lot? Should you display them all? Am I allowed to correct the grammar?

Sarah Von


If you worked with the clients in the last year, I think you could reasonably email them again and ask them for testimonials. And from here on out, just keep all the testimonials in a separate email folder.

I choose to display testimonials that:
* showcase work I’m particularly proud of
* are from clients who work in an area I’m excited about (I’m not really into tech or healthcare. I’ve had some super lovely clients who work in those areas but I haven’t posted their testimonials because I’m not really looking for more tech/healthcare-related work)
* are specific to different offerings. I write copy, and I have two different consulting offerings - so I have different testimonials for those
* Hmmm. Correcting grammar can be difficult. I’d probably leave it as is, unless you have their permission to edit it. You could say “Is it okay if I edit this for length, etc?”

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