With the rise of online consumerism, product reviews and business testimonials are growing into necessities for businesses to maintain a healthy online presence in today’s tech-savvy marketplace. From cars to toothbrushes and photographers to doctors, potential buyers can find reviews on just about anything before making any major, or minor, purchasing decisions. Most consumers consult online reviews about products and services, even before buying something offline. It can be argued that free reviews are more powerful marketing weapons than expensive ads. If your business has bad reviews or no reviews at all, you’re already at a severe disadvantage compared to your competition. So, how do you boost your online reviews and testimonials and improve your online brand image? Here are six simple suggestions your business can use to gather the customer referrals you need to grow your online presence and positive brand image.
- Follow up. Sometimes just asking customers to give a review is all the encouragement they need to give you one. Include a link at the bottom of their receipt, or in the order confirmation email if they purchase online. Unless a customer has a really negative experience, they most likely aren’t going to search for places to leave you a review. Help them out by including the links to your website, your Yelp page, your social media business pages, or any other review sites your business is listed on with every transaction you have with a customer. If you ask, they will come.
- Incentivize your customers. You don’t want to buy your customers’ reviews, but doing a random drawing every month for the customers who reviewed, good or bad, might be enough incentive to really boost your numbers. You could also use this as an opportunity to earn repeat business by offering a gift card to your store or a free item to the winner. You could even offer lesser prizes to everyone who participates, such as a 10% off coupon. People love freebies and are more likely to participate in a survey if there’s something in it for them.
- Incentivize your employees. Stress the importance of reviews to your employees and offer them bonuses for getting customers to review the business and mentioning them by name. You’ll get the personal aspect of your employees asking customers face-to-face, and they will be more likely to do it if there is a reward involved.
- Ask, again. If a customer writes to you about a positive experience they had, ask them permission to use it on your site for a testimonial. You can also reach out to repeat customers and ask if they would be willing to write a short blurb about their experiences and why they keep coming back. It might be helpful to set up a questionnaire that helps guide the customer through what you are looking for in a testimonial, so they don’t go completely off course in what they write about.
- Use reviews. If you find a good review on a review board, then use that on your testimonies page, and vice versa. Take advantage of reviews and testimonies by having them play off of each other. When asking customers about writing a testimonial, ask if they would be willing to rate you on Yelp as well.
- Get creative with social media. Obviously you can use testimonies on your Facebook business page, but you can also set up a YouTube channel and have people submit videos talking about your different products and their experiences with them. You can also offer special incentives to people who have liked your business page and also submit a testimony or review for you. There are many opportunities via social media to get the kind of interaction you are looking for. Having this type of communication on your social media pages also boosts your online presence by influencing your website ranking in Google searches, companies such as Over the Top SEO further elaborate how this process works by providing informative articles about the subject to their readers.
There are several ways to gather online reviews and testimonials, and these are only a few suggestions to get your business started on the right track. Social media and incentives are handy tools, but you’ll never get any feedback if you don’t ask in the first place. Once you set up profiles on review sites that are applicable to your company and start accumulating reviews, you’ll be well on your way to positively growing your online brand image.