Having a positive online presence is a marketing must. Customer reviews and testimonials are a big piece of the equation – they build credibility and visibility, which supports sellability.

Credibility is all about helping people know, like and trust you. You reinforce credibility with testimonials and reviews. Customers value transparency. The ability to read a real-life experience about your product and/or services gives potential customers a second-hand experience and valuable insight into what they will be purchasing.

Encourage Positive Reviews. If you have clients and customers that voice their love for your organization, help them spread that love – request they post a review. Make it as easy as possible for them to do so – Create an email template that you can easily to send to happy customers to click and go straight to posting a review or print a card with step-by-step instructions and the exact URLs to your Google My Business, Yelp as well as Facebook and other review sites. They can choose the site they like best to post their positive review.

The key to requesting a review is how and when you ask. Fast Company’s article Five Non-Awkward Ways to Ask for a Recommendation, offers advice on how to make requesting reviews painless. In the article, The Marketing Therapist®, Web Marketing Therapy’s fearless leader/CEO, and author of The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing, Lorrie Thomas Ross states:

“Asking for a testimonial is only awkward when the requesting party makes it awkward. If a simple request like this seems difficult, uneasy, or stressful, then your approach is wrong.”

Here are the five easy ways to get testimonials from your clients:

  1. Offer to do most of the work – The more you require someone to do, the less likely you are to get what you want. There is often a common feeling from customers that writing a review takes a long time, so that myth needs to be busted. If you want that testimonial or recommendation letter, make it simple. Show the customer examples of short reviews so they can see how small of the request it is. And, take it a step deeper – instead of asking the client to do the writing, Lorrie suggests that you offer to write the review and let the client edit it. She offers an example of a letter requesting a testimonial from a client.
  2. Make the request for a review a compliment – For example, you could say: “Working with you was such a pleasure, and would really appreciate it if you’d be open to sharing your experience working with me in a LinkedIn recommendation.” Or, “My marketing team asked me to gather some reviews from our favorite clients and I would really love to brag about working with you. Would you be willing to write a few short sentences that we can share on our website?” (Once the review is written, you can also ask the client to post this to an online review.)
  3. Make note of past compliments – Write down whenever someone says something nice about you – many times, the love letters are sent in conversational emails or texts. Reuse them! Ask clients if you could use those as testimonials. Keep track of results on key projects, that way you can provide bullet points describing your work when you ask for a testimonial.
  4. Make it a natural conversation – Stay in touch with your former clients and colleagues. Email them to see how they are doing, and send holiday cards, that way when it comes time to ask for reviews it will feel reasonable and organic.
  5. Make it a two-way street – Make it a practice to write unsolicited reviews on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. This way people are more apt to reciprocate with a review for you – “Give to get.”

And don’t worry about negative reviews. While they hurt, they provide feedback on what you can do to improve, and believe it or not, improve credibility and authenticity. Speigel states – “Previous PowerReviews research found that 82% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews. This is consistent with our theory that near-perfect ratings undermine the credibility of the review. Readers are skeptical of reviews that are too positive and, in many cases, a negative online review is seen as more credible.”

Whatever type of review you receive make sure you interact with customers by responding to the reviews that they leave about your business. Consumers expect a response and favor businesses that do. Responding to reviews builds trust with your customers. An important credibility indicator is a business that goes above and beyond by publicly responding to complaints, as well as, thanking their praises.

You also increase your company’s visibility (yes, SEO!) with increased reviews. Sign up for a Google My Business account so that customers can leave reviews there. According to ReviewTrackers, more than 63% of consumers check Google before visiting a business – more than any other site. In addition to Google, customers can leave reviews on Facebook, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and many other service-specific sites.

Once you have collected reviews from multiple sites, display your customer reviews on your website and create images to share on your social media.

Reviews are a valuable SEO (search engine optimization) tool and place you in front of consumers. The more positive reviews you have, across various platforms, improves your search ranking. Reviews have started to infiltrate search engine algorithms, and experts say that metrics such as the number of reviews a business has, the velocity of reviews, and the diversity of reviews received are all taken into account.(BrightLocal) Also, responding to reviews improves your local SEO as that builds trust with the search engine itself.

Sellability – helping others understand why you—the person and/or your brand—stand out as the best choice in any given market. Customer testimonials and reviews are invaluable sellability assets. Almost all customers seek out recommendations and testimonials before choosing a product, business and service. About 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, and displaying reviews can increase conversion by 270%.(Spiegel)

Review Wrap-up
Reviews have become an integral part of digital marketing and will help you optimize your customer experience to help you create a positive online footprint. Build credibility and visibility by encouraging positive reviews, signing up for more review services, sharing your customer testimonials, and interacting with your consumers. In turn, reviews will improve your SEO and support sellability to ultimately increase revenue.

And if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’d love to support you!