Woman with thumbs up and thumbs down and customer review stars for business marketing

Why you should be using customer reviews in marketing

Online shopping. Don't you just love it? No crowds, no sore feet and no closing time. But when was the last time that you bought something online without looking at the reviews first? Even if you are 99% sure
you're going to make that purchase, don't you read a couple of reviews just to make sure? And what happens if those reviews go along the lines of "Don't touch this product with a barge pole"... "Total rip-off", or similar? Reviews have the power to make or break a purchase.

But, when it comes to reviews and testimonials for your business, are you quick to request feedback and what about using customer reviews in marketing? Are you leveraging this powerful tool to its best advantage?

Around 91% of people read online reviews and use them in their buying decision. If your audience can see reviews of your products or services, they are drawn to “follow the crowd” – that’s just how we, as humans, are programmed to act. So, it stands to reason, that the more great reviews you have, the more social proof that will draw people to you. But, once you’ve got your customer’s (hopefully) kind words, how can you use them to your best advantage?  Here’s 5 tips to using customer reviews in your marketing

1. Be bold!

As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get and it’s all too easy to forget to ask a customer for some feedback.  Build a request for feedback into your sales procedure.  Either include a form with their invoice, or include a link to an online review form (like Google forms for instance) in your email footer. Leave cards requesting feedback on your shop counter, or on Restaurant tables or put a request with links to review sites on the back of an appointment card and remind customers that you really appreciate (and act on) feedback through social media and emails.

Once you have some feedback, proudly display it on your website, in your email footers and make sure it’s prominent.  You really need to shout it from the rooftops! If you’re displaying reviews on your
website, then create a custom page for them.

Apart from making you feel all warm and fuzzy, reviews help answer visitor’s questions about your goods or services and go a long way to building the “Know, Like and Trust” of a successful buyer/seller relationship.

Use one of the free graphics programmes available. We use Canva.com to create a branded template and slot your testimonials in as and when they arrive.  You can then post these on social media.

2. Be responsive

When someone takes the time to leave you a review, be timely in responding.  A simple thank you goes a long way, demonstrates that you monitor your social media or website and that you care about the customer – and isn’t that the customer experience we all want?

Two speech bubbles one with customer review stars the other with the words Thank You

3. Spin the negative

Anyone who has heard me talk about this, or who has undertaken social media training with me will have heard the story of when my husband and I owned a café in New Zealand and a woman once complained that her coffee was “too wet”! It can be soul destroying to receive a negative review when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a project. What’s really imperative though, is that you respond quickly and ask the complainant to contact you directly to discuss the problem. Demonstrate that you are willing to do all you can to rectify the problem.  A good phrase to use is, “How can we put this right?” This allows the reviewer to feel that their complaint has been heard and is being acknowledged.  Others that come across the negative feedback on your site, will note how you dealt with it and the strange thing is, the review then becomes more about how you dealt with it positively, rather than the issue itself!

4. Make it easy for your customer

How many times have you been asked to provide some feedback and then felt burdened by page upon page of “on a scale of 1 to 5…” type questions?
Make any review process short and sweet.

If you’re using a printed or online feedback form, tailor the questions so that you can use the information provided. For example, instead of an open-ended question such as, “How did you find our range of services?” prompting a likely single-word answer, craft the question to encourage a full sentence answer, which you can then use as a quote (subject to the reviewer’s permission, of course)

Why not consider creating a poll on social media to find out what your audience think?  Questions trigger the human reflex of instinctive elaboration.  This forces us to stop and start formulating an answer.  We all just love to give our two penn’orth!

5. Create brand ambassadors

Make using customer reviews in marketing easy – get your customers to do the work!  Ask them to tag or mention your brand in their social media posts.  Give them an incentive to follow the link you provide to your Facebook reviews page, “Leave us a review and be entered into our monthly draw…” Create a custom hashtag that they can use in a Twitter or Instagram post. If you treat your customer right, they will come back for more!

In summary

We all think our business is great (at least we should do!) but you can shout it from the rooftops until you’re blue in the face.

The proof of the pudding, so to speak, is in the hands of your customers.  When they give you feedback it’s in their own, distinct voice - it’s authentic, it’s real and your audience will pick up on that. Using customer reviews in marketing gives you the opportunity to showcase your goods and services, sure,  but also to demonstrate your authenticity as a brand; to show that you value your customers and their opinions and that you are taking these into account and constantly evolving.

Your business is great – now prove it!

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