Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names could break your business. From childhood, we are taught that what people say doesn't matter. It is your belief in yourself that really matters. However, that all changes once you get into business. Your company's reputation matters and so do the things that people say about the stuff you sell.
Testimonials matter. They demonstrate to would-be customers that your products or services are worth the risk to try your brand. From Yelp to Facebook, Google My Business to Amazon, reviews help inform site visitors - and they carry serious clout. According to Nielsen's Global AdView Pulse, reviews are one of the most trusted pieces of information that people review before making a purchase, second only to a recommendation from someone they know. Another survey from Search Engine Land found that more than 70 percent of consumers trust reviews and personal recommendations equally. Unfortunately, many reviews tend to exist only on sites devoted to sharing opinions.
However, you can move past site-specific placement. While those reviews are still an essential contribution to your marketing efforts, they are only a beginning. You can use testimonials on your site and in your marketing to great effect. Here's how to get started.
Testimonials are one of the best tools you have to let people know how great your products and services are, but getting started can be a challenge. In our experience, most business owners simply don't know how to ask for testimonials. It can feel awkward to ask for feedback that you will use publicly, especially if you want to use a photograph or a video of customers. Plus, even once you do ask, the resulting testimonial can end up feeling staged and inauthentic - like asking to take a photo of customers at lunch to use a testimonial for your restaurant instead of getting a more candid picture.
Our best advice is to not to panic. You can get testimonials that will make your customers flock to you. Here's how.
Leverage Customer Compliments
Start with where you are. Look through reviews of your company on social media sites, sales platforms, and anywhere else that one of your customers may have written about your brand. If you have been selling quality products or services and providing excellent customer service, you should find something you can use. Once you see a quote you like, ask for permission to post those statements or use them in your ads. It's that easy.
"Thanks for your review! May I post this on our website with your name?"
Follow Up After Every Sale
If you don't have many reviews out there, start following up with your customers after each sale. Follow up and start a conversation about what they liked about your products or services. A simple open-ended question is all you need to get the ball rolling. Not only could you get a testimonial you can use (always ask permission) but you could gain some valuable insights into what matters most to your customers, how your company is performing, and any areas that could use improving.
"Just checking in. How do you like your [products/services] so far?"
Make It Easy
You can also get testimonials for your company by making it easy for your customers to provide feedback. Sending out surveys are one option, but you also need to make sure you are encouraging your customers to leave reviews on sites like Google Places and Yelp.
Kristi Hines for Neil Patel explains, "Why would you want to steer your customers to writing reviews on these sites as opposed to writing a testimonial directly for your site? Simple. If you are trying to get Google search traffic to your local business, you would want your business to come up in the search with the most reviews."
Make it easy for your customers by claiming each of your company listings, verifying the information, and making sure everything is consistent across sites.
Provide the best Customer Experience Possible
The one downside to reviews and testimonials is that they might not all be positive - and that's okay. Use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your stellar customer service. While you won't want to use these testimonials on your website or in your marketing, you can show your commitment to quality by responding publicly to each complaint and stepping up to make things right.
In some cases, you might be able to turn that negative reviewer into an advocate but, at worse, other would-be customers will see how well you respond to criticism and your willingness to make things right. In turn, they can trust that if there is an issue with one of your products or services, you will respond instead of ignoring a complaint.
Getting testimonials for your company is easy - when you know how. Follow our tips and see how reviews can help improve the success of your marketing efforts. Authentic statements about your products or services can go a long way to helping future customers understand the value in your offerings. We can help you organize and share the testimonials you receive. Contact us to learn more!