Customer reviews have become a crucial element of both sales and marketing. With an online platform for making their voice heard, customers can be a main driver of growth if their voice is used the right way. Of course, the first step in that is to encourage authentic customer reviews. How can you get started on this process?
Tip #1: Claim Your Listings & Identify a Primary Platform
Take the time to find all of the online listings associated with your business. Unclaimed listings can be damaging to your reputation, particularly if there is outdated (or even inaccurate) information included on the listings.
The best way to find and claim your listings is to use a backlink research tool, like the Link Explorer from Moz. Entering your website will quickly spit out a list of existing backlinks to your site. You can take a step-by-step approach here:
- Go through the backlinks and identify which sites are indexes or listings.
- Contact each listing individually, asking what steps you need to take to claim your listing.
- Verify your information with the listing with the required information.
- Correct or add relevant information to your listing.
Once you take that step, you can narrow down which review platform you want to focus on for encouraging customer feedback. This doesn’t mean you’ll neglect the other listings, just that you’ll have a primary platform for building your customer’s voice.
Tip #2: Get Personal With Your Emails
Really the only way that you will start to see authentic reviews roll in is by taking the time to send personalized emails, at least to a portion of your customers. Many customers would love to become advocates—all they need is to be asked!
As you begin to reach out personally to your customers, you should be careful to include a broad range. Don’t try to narrow it down to customers you know will give a positive review, and don’t exclude certain clients just because they’re not in a leadership position. Potential clients will look for variety in reviews, and will be understandably dubious of any listing that only has positive reviews.
Be sure to make it clear to your customers that you’re looking for honest feedback about your service or product. Authentic reviews are always better reviews!
Tip #3: Track Your Results & Stay Engaged
Encouraging customer reviews is not about sending a single email and leaving it at that. Instead, you should look for ways to stay engaged with the process. There are a few ways to stay on top of this:
Follow Up: Send follow-up emails to customers who have not responded. Send a thank-you email once a customer does leave a review. This can be a relatively quick and painless effort. Create a template and set time aside each week to follow up on the running list.
Keep it Social: Customer reviews are good when they stand alone, but they are better when they show company engagement. Comment on reviews, both positive and negative! Share reviews on social media and track results. Ask questions of your customers.
Use Reviews for Content: Start incorporating user reviews in your marketing content. Quotes from users and customers can be used for social media posts, newsletters, and even landing page copy! Reviews are proven to convert more than sales language. You should also take negative customer reviews seriously—consider ways you can improve your product or service.
With these tips in your back pocket, you should have a good start to encouraging customer reviews for your business.
Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.