We recently looked at the big picture of “social proof” and discussed how powerful it can be as part of your marketing efforts. Customer testimonials are one of the most important social proofs you can deploy to boost your business, and there are two critical steps you need to accomplish to be successful. You must:
- Collect the testimonials, and
- Get the testimonials in front of your prospects.
Let’s look at some strategies for encouraging, gathering and deploying testimonials.
Virtually every social media platform has the potential for creating customer reviews and testimonials. A Facebook business page, your company’s LinkedIn page, and reviews on your YouTube channel are all prime locations to drum up customer reviews and comments.
The key here—and the key throughout this process—is to ask, or create the opportunities and environment in which customers will share their thoughts. Start threads that elicit reactions and ratings from your customers. Plant seeds that get people talking about what you do or the products you sell.
There are all kinds of sites where users rate their experiences. Some are very general, such as Yelp, while other are more specialized, such as the travel sites, where customers will discuss hotel accommodations, tours, sights and more. Service providers need to find the best match for their prospects.
Once you have a presence, you need to promote yourself. If you’re on Yelp, for example, include their logo with a message like, “Share Your Experience on Yelp.” If you sell through Amazon, don’t forget to look at customer comments there and grab some to use in other places.
As I said above, asking is the most important step and this can take many forms. You can even have a comment book in your store. Bed and breakfast inns collect great comments from their guests. That strategy could work for other businesses.
Related Article: 8 Ways to Grow Positive Word-of-Mouth About Your Business
Asking within your email communications is another good idea. All the customer has to do is hit “reply” and enter a few comments.
Tip: Asking for “feedback” is usually better than asking for a testimonial or endorsement. If you are doing things right, your feedback should be overwhelmingly positive.
Broadcast Your Testimonials
Testimonials buried deeply within a thread of Facebook comments don’t promote your business very much. You need to capture your comments and feature them throughout your website, business location, and marketing materials, such as email newsletters and print vehicles.
Testimonials on your homepage and landing pages are perhaps the most magical elixir you have to turn prospects into customers. Keep a long list of good comments and consistently add to it. Following your feedback comments is always important anyway, so be sure to copy and paste some into a file that’s frequently updated.
Frankly, some businesses invent positive comments from “customers” and prospects know this. Get permission to identify customers, or cite the source like Yelp and include a link if possible. For many businesses, featuring the customer’s name with a photo is a fantastic idea.
The great thing about these testimonials is that they can be almost free. The only cost involved is the time it takes you to ask, collect and post the comments.
This article was originally published by Susan Solovic
Published: June 16, 2015