One of the most important factors in running a successful sales or service company comes down to proving to your customers or clients that you provide the best options possible for them. One of the best ways to do this is by gathering and sharing a large collection of positive customer reviews and testimonials. This augments your business reputation management efforts in ways that are much more effective than anything you can do on your own.
Consumers are much more likely to purchase a product or interact with a business if someone they trust recommends it. This creates social proof for your brand. This makes directories and social media and the entire friends and followers dynamic so important for digital marketing success. However, in order to reap the benefits, you first need to attract testimonials and reviews.
How to Get More Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Two main methods exist to get more positive reviews sent to you, posted on social media, and added on popular review sites like Google MyBusiness and Yelp. First, you can impress people so much with your exceptional products, essential services, and wonderful customer service that they are eager to spend their time writing up a five-star review everywhere possible. In order to succeed with any business, this is the type of thing you should strive for continuously.
The other way to encourage testimonials takes a more direct route. You can simply ask for them. Remember that it is absolutely not a good idea to incentivized reviews in any way. Do not hire someone to create fake ones or bribe people with discounts or freebies in order to leave you glowing reviews. If you want to succeed for the long-term without risk of penalization from search engines or the general public, keep things completely aboveboard and positive. A simple “Please leave a review if you were happy with your service” or similar phrase may increase your collection.
Some techniques that encourage people to post more positive reviews and testimonials include:
- Asking for them directly but not excessively
- Providing multiple platforms and options
- Engage more personally with customers to build relationships
- Show appreciation for customers who do leave reviews
- Always ask for permission to use testimonials
- Offer incentives wisely – never for positive reviews only
Business Reputation Management Tasks Off-site
In order to facilitate customer testimonials, step off your own website and social media pages and get involved with the biggest review sites online. Claim your pages and make sure that your customers know they have options. Many of these are dependent on what type of business you run and your target audience. Others, like Facebook, Yelp, and LinkedIn, offer more general possibilities and a higher potential as most people are on these sites as well.
While asking for reviews and directing people to these sites can help, you cannot control everything about the testimonials you get. This is where active business reputation management comes into play. In order to stay on top of your brand mentions online, track them and respond professionally and with excellent customer service skills if you get a negative review. Of course, it helps to encourage more positivity if you engage with satisfied customers as well.
Use Reviews and Testimonials On-site Effectively
Always ask for permission to post reviews or testimonials on your website. If you have ever purchased the product or service online, you have seen positive attributed reviews next to the particular item, on the front page below the fold, in a sidebar, or filling up an entire testimonial page of their own. You have perhaps come across re-posted reviews on a company’s social media feeds, as well.
From a company’s point of view, the ability to use these things in a controlled manner definitely boosts the entire customer experience. Not only do you get more content, which is highly effective at attracting interest from future potential customers and clients, you also get an automatic boost to trust and value. As mentioned above, people are much more likely to make a purchase somewhere recommended to them. Even a picture, name, and testimonial from someone they do not know can help push them over the edge from consideration to pulling out their wallet.
The Power of Brand Advocates and Fans for Digital Marketing
People who take the time to leave reviews become brand advocates and fans. In the entire world of digital marketing, and even before the Internet existed, one of the most powerful lead generation and conversion methods comes from word of mouth advertising. This comes directly from consumers instead of the brand itself, which automatically gives it more credence. It is one of the things that make social media the hottest platform for marketing today.
Getting and using customer reviews and testimonials represents one of the most powerful aspects of digital marketing that can help propel a brand from obscurity to household name status. Business reputation management represents a relatively complex problem for companies who do not follow all the best practices that consumers expect from them. Even those who strive to offer the best products and services and use exceptional customer service methods can end up with a bad review sometimes. While interacting positively with the dissatisfied individual and attempting to transform the negativity into something more useful matters, the best way to improve your audience’s overall impression is to encourage and share more positive reviews and testimonials. After all, the success of any company depends primarily on how the public views it.