Every business, regardless of the industry it operates in, needs a client acquisition strategy. And while there are countless ways of attracting new customers, the one we’re going to discuss today is particularly effective and budget-friendly. Business reviews, client testimonials, and success stories can help turn undecided prospects into customers.
Continue reading to find out what makes reviews such a powerful marketing tool and how you can encourage customers to become ambassadors for your business.
Understanding social proof
Let’s start with the why. In order to explain the benefits of business reviews and client testimonials, we should first take a look at the concept of social proof. The term was coined in 1945 by accomplished American psychology and marketing professor Robert Cialdini. It relates to a psychological mechanism that pushes people (in the case we’re discussing, potential customers) to assume that the actions performed by others are correct. This assumption can play an important role in validating a choice or decision (in this case, a purchase decision).
How does this tie in with testimonials and reviews? When made accessible to your prospective customers, positive reviews are a form of social proof. They prove that your business is legitimate, that you have a customer base, and that you provide a high-quality product or service. This can work wonders because customers are more likely to believe your reviewers – a.k.a. real people – than your carefully crafted, all-positive website copy, sales pitch, or advertising.
Steps to take before you ask customers for reviews
Before setting out to collect reviews, you should set up a platform – or multiple platforms – where customers can share their feedback. There are a few ways you can go about this. Below is a list of approaches you should consider.
Create a Google My Business listing
If you operate a business that has a brick and mortar location, you probably already have a Google My Business (GMB) listing. If not, it’s time to set one up! Think of GMB listings as digital business cards. When potential customers search for your business using Google’s search engine or Google Maps, your listing shows up alongside search results as a comprehensive summary of important information about your business including your address, phone number, hours of operation, and… Google reviews.
Apart from the great effect that having a well-optimized Google My Business listing can have on your visibility in local search results, it also provides your customers with an easily accessible space to share their thoughts about your business. What’s more, using GMB, you can answer reviews and showcase the quality of your customer service to potential customers.
Create listings on review websites and in business directories
Some people like to dive in a bit deeper when considering whether or not they should make a purchase or use a service. That’s why it’s a good idea to go the extra mile and create listings on other review sites relevant to your industry. Yelp, Trip Advisor, Foursquare, eLocal – these are just some of the sites out there that could help you reach more potential customers. Do some research and cover your bases. Your happiest customer might just be an avid Yelp reviewer – don’t miss out on the opportunity to help them spread the word!
Optimize your social media accounts
If you use social media to connect with your customers and raise brand awareness, make sure you’re making full use of this channel’s potential. For example, make sure that your Facebook Page settings allow customers to leave and view reviews. In the case of social networks that don’t have in-platform review features, make sure you provide your community with an easy way to get in touch with you.
Now, with all the groundwork out of the way, we have arrived at the all-important question…
How do you get customer reviews?
Let’s move on to the how. Even if your customers love the products or services you provide, not everyone is naturally inclined to share their thoughts. Here are a few strategies you can use to encourage your patrons to write an online review or share a testimonial with you:
Ask for reviews
This strategy may seem obvious, but it can go a long way. If you conduct your business online, add a simple call to action at checkout or in your post-purchase thank you email. If you serve your customers face to face, even better. Once your business with a specific customer is concluded, ask them if they can share their experience in a testimonial or review.
In both cases, make your request specific. Name the specific site or listing you would like them to use. Unclear instructions can make the task seem too complicated and not worth your clients’ time.
In some cases, asking once may not be enough. Make sure your customers can effortlessly get back to your request at their convenience by making it easy for them to find and access your listing. You can do this by adding a link to your listing along with a clear call to action (e.g. “Please leave a review if you enjoyed our service!”) on your website, in your email signature, on your business card, or on social media.
Utilize ‘casual’ opinions
Sometimes a customer will give your business an amazing compliment unprompted – be it in person, on social media, or during a customer service call. In such cases, ask if you could write down what they said and use it in the testimonial section on your website. Before publishing your testimonial, you might want to confirm the exact wording with the client to avoid misunderstandings.
Respond to reviews
Some review sites allow business owners to respond to customer feedback. Whenever possible, utilize this option to show customers that you acknowledge and appreciate their opinions. This goes for both positive and negative reviews. Thank the customers who write good things about your business. Address the concerns expressed in negative reviews – apologize and offer solutions when applicable.
Why take the time to answer reviews? Interacting with customer feedback can contribute to a positive image of your business. Knowing that every review is reviewed and acknowledged can also encourage more customers to share their opinions.
Need help reaching new customers online?
If your business is in full speed and you need extra hands on board to set up and optimize your Google My Business listing or automate the process of collecting client reviews, we’ve got you covered. These and many other SEO services are provided by our team of leading SEO experts at Soulpepper Digital Marketing. We can help you set your GMB listing up for success, create listings in all relevant business directories, and make your website more visible in search results, thus growing your organic online presence and helping prospects connect with your business.
Our team of digital marketing experts is only a phone call away. Too busy for a call or want to know how we can help your specific case? Take our short client quiz and tell us more about your marketing needs.