How often do you check the reviews before you buy something? Reviews are so common now that we expect to be able to read other’s opinions on a product before we buy.
So how can we get those great testimonials and reviews?
Any marketer will tell you how important a good testimonial can be for your business. To feel confident enough to buy, we need to trust that our investment is going to deliver whatever value it promises. Ideally, we’d get a recommendation from a trusted friend but, if that’s not possible, a review from someone else who has bought is the next best option.
The purpose of marketing is to make it easy for people to buy from you and become raving fans. So you also want to make it easy for them to refer or review you. How can you do that in your business?
Here are some ideas…
1. Collect them via an online platform
Choose a platform where people can easily leave you a review and prompt customers to go there.
There are lots of places where you can collect reviews: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, TrustPilot, CheckaTrade, or your own website (if it’s sophisticated enough to have this feature). Whichever you choose, make sure that it's appropriate for your business.
Then, whenever you get positive feedback like ‘thank you for [your product/service], that was great', say ‘would you mind putting that as a testimonial on [wherever you’re collecting reviews]?’ And immediately send them a link. It’s important to do this quickly, while they’re feeling buoyed by how great your company is.
Alternatively, include the link in a follow-up email a few days post-purchase. Something like, “We hope you’re enjoying your [product you bought]. We’d love it if you’d share your experience of it on [review platform]. Write a review here [link].
Once someone posts a testimonial on a public platform, you can copy it to your website or use it in your marketing materials.
2. Do a customer feedback survey
Another way to gather testimonials is via an online or offline questionnaire. It’s good practice to send them out routinely at the end of every project or shortly after every delivery. If that’s not appropriate for your business then you may prefer to run a one-off survey with an appropriate prize draw to incentivise customers to take part.
This is a useful way of asking for feedback on what you can improve, as well as what’s going well or what messaging ideas are most likely to resonate with your audience.
Make sure you include one or two open-ended questions at the end of the questionnaire, such as “What do you like most about our product/service?” or “How has using our product/service impacted on your business?”, with a check-box saying “I am happy for you to use my name and comments in your marketing”. Be sure to ask for the customer’s contact details and job title so the quote can be properly referenced.
From my experience, this is the most effective way of getting good testimonials in businesses like mine that have a personal relationship with their clients. It works well because it allows the customer to say exactly what they think, in their own words, with barely any effort on their part.
First, think about what you would like your customer to say as part of the testimonial. Do you want them to say how good your product was? How good your customer service or training was? How much their business or their life has been positively impacted by working with you? etc.
Next, make a list of questions that will encourage the sorts of comments you want. Open questions are best (my favourites are below) to get them talking. Try and get them to tell the story of how and why they became a customer, as well as their experience of what you delivered for them to receive richer testimonials.
Ask the questions over the phone or in-person and record their answers word-for-word. Even better, if you do the interview over a video call and record it, you’ll get a video testimonial as well!
Edit it if necessary and ALWAYS send it to them to review and approve before you use it anywhere.
Here are a few of my stock questions:
What do I do with these testimonials and reviews?
Whichever approach you take when asking your customers for reviews and testimonials, the most important part of your strategy should be consistency. Make sure you are consistently asking your customers these questions and make sure that you are sharing all the great reviews and testimonials you receive on your website, on your social media, in your proposals, in your newsletters… EVERYWHERE! Because when was the last time you purchased something without reading the reviews first?
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