Harness the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing (Customer Reviews)
Let’s talk about customer reviews, how to get them, and what to do with them. Through customer experiences, you can motivate your greatest asset to help grow your business.
As a solopreneur or small business owner, your team can seem small and downright singular at times. In these times, look beyond your current view and get creative about who is on your team. This can be an advisory board, vendors, and yes, even customers! How can customers be part of your team? Because they are your largest and greatest sales force!
Harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing and inspire your newfound “sales team” to help you gain new customer connections and sales. To do this, you need to understand why customer reviews are important, how to get reviews, and then what to do with them. Getting reviews is great, let’s take it to the next level and actually DO something proactive with them!
Why are reviews important?
- Relevancy – Current customer reviews help potential clients by answering important questions they have about what you are offering right now.
- Authenticity – Reviews give people an insight into your company culture and vibe. These are real feelings from real clients, and their reviews give authenticity to your customer service.
- Confidence – Reviews tell potential clients what they can expect from your company. People reading the reviews automatically start to feel more confident in your ability to help them.
- Authority – Customer reviews help to establish you as the authority in your niche. The more positive reviews someone reads, the more comfortable and confident they feel that you can solve their problem. When you are viewed as the expert, people are more likely to patronize your business.
“Reviews are 2x more likely to be an important factor in choosing a local small business over loyalty and 7x more important than traditional marketing. “ (localiq.com)
Reviews Impact SEO
Customer review content plays into SEO(search engine optimization.) When relevant keywords are used in Google reviews, this impacts your search results. When potential customers search for something on the internet, the search engines scour data to find relevant content. What is shown is often a map view of businesses and then organic search results, all based on the keyword search.
Here is an example of a search for a dog trainer. Each of the businesses suggested in the Map results has a review and most have some version of dog trainer in the review. These businesses appear because of a variety of factors, one being the relevancy of their reviews.
Tip: Not getting noticed in search results? Cultivate reviews on Google and work towards getting over 60(sixty) 5-star reviews.
How to Ask for a Customer Review
The first step to being more involved in cultivating reviews and really utilizing this great asset is to ask for reviews! Reviews will naturally and organically happen but this can sometimes be a long and slow process. Why not take a bit more control and foster an environment where providing a review was more natural and proactive?!
According to BrightLocal, at least 12% of people asked to leave a review will do so. This might not seem like a large number, but think about it, you can increase the number of reviews you get simply by asking!
Here are a few ways you can ask for a review:
- Ask in person!
- Text messages
- On your website
- Specific Campaign
- Email signature
- Social media post
- Bottom of receipt or invoice
- Thank you or confirmation page after online purchase
You can use some prompt questions to get customers in the right frame of mind to write a good review. You ideally want a review that explains what problem the customer had, how you solved their problem, and how they are feeling now. A review that says “They were wonderful to deal with, would recommend.” is good, however, it won’t help with any additional recognition by search engines and it isn’t particularly helpful to people reading it.
Here are a few prompts:
- What positive change have you seen as a result of XXX (attending the seminar, using our product, coming to our business)?
- What made our product/service stand out from other companies?
- What is the main reason you want to recommend our product/service?
- What made you the most happy when working with our business?
- What was the problem you had when you came to our business and how did we help you?
- Share your great experience: tell about why you came in and how XXX (business name) positively helped you.
Where are My Reviews?
Consumers have a lot of places they can write a review. It would be wonderful if you could know of and be proactive on ALL the sites where reviews might be. However, as a solopreneur or small business person, you have to be realistic and give yourself some boundaries. No need to go down a rabbit hole.
Here is a list of some of the more popular places to find customer reviews. There might also be more industry-specific sites. I recommend focusing on 2 or 3 for your cultivation efforts. Monitoring some of the others is good but again, don’t make yourself crazy by trying to engage on all of these platforms.
- Angies List
- Trip Advisor
- Air BNB
- Consumer Reports
- Next Door
- Yahoo Listings
- Mindbody Online
- Your Own Site
Easy Ask = Better Results
I personally am a big fan of Google Reviews. When someone searches online, it is frequently on Google. As business owners, we can improve visibility by using the right keywords in our digital content, this includes reviews. Since we don’t write the reviews, we must give customers the right cues to add our desired keywords.
People also love the path to least resistance. If you ask me to do something and then tell me all the directions to do it, I might nod my head but 2 seconds later it is gone. When you ask a customer to leave a review, give them an easy 1 or 2 step process to write the review.
- Put them in the right frame of mind by asking some of the prompt questions above.
- Give them a link to easily post their review.
Whatever platform you prefer to have your reviews on, use that link and either provide the link directly or have a QR Code made so people can easily scan and review.
For Google, you can go to your business profile in Search or Maps. Click on Promote > Ask for Reviews > copy your review link and share!
What To Do With Reviews?
Simple answer, put them everywhere! Use those amazing 5-star reviews and share them on other platforms to further your relevancy, authenticity, and proof of being the authority. When you share to other platforms, being concise is best. If it is a long detailed review, pick out one or two key points.
Here are some places you can add reviews:
- Marketing brochure
- Social media
- Digital marketing media board
- Restaurant menu
- Business card
- Posters in the business
- Paid advertising
- Email campaigns
Respond to Reviews
When a customer goes to the effort and time to write a review, respect that energy and respond to the review. According to BrightLocal,
89% of consumers say they would be ‘fairly’ or ‘highly’ likely to use a business that responds to all reviews, positive and negative.
Why respond to reviews?
- Acknowledge and show appreciation for good reviews.
- Mitigate negative reactions to a bad review, acknowledge the customer’s experience and then create an opportunity for open dialogue.
- Gives an opportunity to correct customer service issues.
- Build trust and rapport with customers.
- Show real interest in connection with customers.
If you are thinking to yourself, I don’t have time to respond. Then consider this statistic.
57% of consumers say they would be ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews at all. (BrightLocal)
As I mentioned above, the list of possible places people can write a review and be quite large. Pick the top ones in your industry. This will help you to increase your ranking and exposure on those platforms. Once this happens, you can slowly integrate in other sites.
Remember, reviews (and responding) are important for social proof, staying relevant, and establishing expertise. Ask for reviews in person, through digital communications, and in print. Use your reviews on multiple platforms to increase your ability to affect your social proof, relevancy, and perceived expertise.
Your customers already love your business and are your best advocate for helping tell other people about your business. Harness the power of great customer experiences and connections to help to increase and broaden your reach, increase your exposure, and gain more customers.
Hi! I’m Carolyn.
I help small business owners manifest their destiny through functional business coaching and social media coaching. My passion is helping people discover their greatness. If you are seeking a better life full of happiness and joy and an abundance of success, let’s talk. Your best life is waiting.