For the small business owner or entrepreneur, a good testimonial is like a badge of honor. Testimonials are one of the best forms of advertising. In fact, BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review survey found that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. As such, here’s a look at how you can encourage customer testimonials and use them to further your brand’s reputation.
Courting customer testimonials on Facebook and other social media outlets is a great method to generate reviews for your business. If you don’t have a Facebook account for your business, that needs to change immediately. Expanded Ramblings reports that a single Facebook referral generates an average of $1.24 in revenue for a business. Every Facebook page for businesses comes with a Review tab, and this tab can be moved to your front page to encourage visitors to leave a review of your business. Whenever a customer leaves you a review, respond to it in a positive manner and thank them, regardless of whether it a glowing review or not. Simply engaging with customers who take the time to talk about your business shows that customer service is of the utmost importance to your brand.
While it is a social media service noted for brevity, Twitter can also be a great place to gather testimonials for your business. Tweets make great testimonials for your business because they are bite-size and tend to be written in a moment of enthusiasm. Best of all, tweets are easily embedded in your business website. With a simple website widget, your favorite tweets from customers can be displayed for the world to see.
Customer testimonials aren’t much good if you don’t share them with the world, and the act of simply putting them on display can encourage other customers to share their experiences with your brand. Take, for instance, the identity theft prevention service LifeLock, who not only shares customer testimonials prominently on its website but also displays the average median review score for its business at the top of its testimonials page. This shows new customers not only individual experiences from those that have used your service or product, but front-loads their reading of these testimonials with a positive expectation. If you have a particularly glowing review, reach out to the person who left the testimonial and ask him or her for permission to highlight it on your front page. Nothing makes a customer feel more appreciated than a direct, personal contact from a business, and something as simple as putting their words and face on your front page can show just how valuable your customers are to you.
One of the easiest ways to encourage customers to review your business is to reward them for doing so. Next time you eat at a restaurant, look at your receipt — there’s a good chance that it offers a chance for a coupon or cash prize for something as easy as leaving a review or taking a survey. This strategy for review generation is time-tested and effective, and can be used by any business. Offer a monthly opportunity for your customers to be rewarded for their engagement, and your cache of reviews will grow exponentially. You already spend money on advertising to reach customers, so setting aside a small portion of your advertising budget as a cash prize for those customers who generate reviews for your business makes sense.