By Lucy Bradley
88% of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, showing that customer testimonials are one of the most powerful tools when it comes to securing a sale from a potential lead. Therefore as marketers, this is something we should be focusing our time and efforts on. But the question is how do you generate these reviews in the best way possible to really maximise their value? Well, that’s where we can help you out…
Putting together an email marketing campaign can be a simple, but very effective method of targeting your current customer base in order to gain testimonials from them. Doing so also allows you to take a more segmented approach – in terms of service or by your current or previous customers, therefore this can help you to adapt the content of the emails to these different customer bases.
There are various approaches you can take to put together an email marketing campaign (read our tips for creating an effective campaign); you could ask them about how they found the service or ask for ratings for particular products/services. Depending on the nature of your business and industry, you could also subtly look to offer incentives with reviews, this could be in terms of a backlink to their site if it is in a B2B capacity, or with a percentage off their next purchase for example. With doing so however, it is important not to cheapen your brand or put customers off from making a repeat purchase; but as previously mentioned, this is greatly dependant on the nature of your organisation.
A very simple way to maximise avenues to gain reviews, and an idea you may not have thought of, is to include a link to provide a review in your email signature. Within the signature, you can include a wide range of different ways in which to review – from a function directly on your website, to leaving a review on your Facebook page. Including this in your email signature is low maintenance and easy for you. It also allows you to target current and future customers in your communications; maximising those you can gain reviews from. However, this does depend on how often you are emailing customers that you are wanting to gain testimonials from.
It’s important to make the process of leaving reviews as easy as possible for your customers – make it simple and easily accessible. A great way you can do this is through your website design, whether this be including it on your homepage under a testimonials section, in your footer or on the designated testimonials page itself (if your site has one). Doing so provides a range of avenues for your customers to provide their thoughts, and leave those all-important testimonials for others to read.
It shouldn’t just be easy to leave a review, it should also be easy to find them. What’s the point of people saying great things about you if nobody can see that? Think of it as your bragging rights to shout about how good your product or service is.
Facebook makes it really easy for you to generate reviews for your business, with your local business page including a reviews tab to make it super easy to reap the benefits from. With such a large proportion of us now being on Facebook, it provides an easy way for customers to leave reviews, and the easier the process the more likely they are to use it. So make customers aware of your Facebook page as a way to them to leave reviews, and utilise this easy review generation tool. Making use of reviews on your social pages also opens up the possibility of creating a greater social gathering.
When generating more customer testimonials, the key idea to remember is to do it promptly. Your customers are much more likely to provide a review when their experience is fresh in their mind – so don’t wait around, act quickly.
When it comes to your testimonial review strategy, it is important to always bear in mind the nature of your business, and whether the review generation strategy is in line with this and your target market. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews either, embrace these and try to connect with your customer about why they left a negative review. This can be an opportunity to showcase amazing customer service, and actually convince the bad reviewer to return to your business!