There are a number of companies these days promising to guard your online reputation or increase your customer reviews on Yelp and Google. This service comes at a premium, but there are simple steps you can take to have a treasure chest of reviews to use as you see fit.
New business owners tend to believe they need to be in business a long period of time before they have testimonies, let alone advertise them. This is not true. Gather these testimonies even before you open your doors. These pre-launch testimonies might serve as Research and Development (R&D), pointing out some flaw or giving you a new idea. Have family, friends, and colleagues experience your product or service and write compelling testimonies. Your website should feature such testimonies from day one.
Once the business is off the ground, each customer should be given the opportunity to provide a testimonial. I personally like to mail and hand out customer feedback cards to all customers once the job is done. The benefit is two fold here: I get to make sure my company is providing the best work and customer service possible and I am sending a message to the customer that I deeply care about their satisfaction. On the feedback card, I specifically ask for comments or testimonials. Many customers will provide “did a great job” or “thanks,” but a few will take the time to write something meaningful. I personally ask them to share this on Google reviews, Yelp, etc. and ask their permission to use the testimonial on my own websites and in print marketing. There is no shame in giving an incentive to these satisfied customers to share online, so feel free to offer them a special discount on the next time they buy your product or service in exchange.
Collecting testimonies after you are in business requires some legwork. But, marketing blogger, Kristi Hines, has ideas on how to get started in the right direction.
- Facebook Reviews: This is built into a business formatted Facebook page. Cut and paste.
- LinkedIn Reviews: Businesses can’t have references posted, but individuals (you and staff) can.
- YouTube and Vimeo Video Reviews: With no money, you can post videos on these sites and embed them in your website. This puts a human face on the review, making it that much stronger.
- Local Search Directories: Reviews on Google Places, Yelp, and Yahoo will pop up when customers search for businesses like yours.