A successful business is a highly reviewed one.

Chick-fil-A breaks boundaries in the fast-food industry just by asking their employees to say, “my pleasure.” This tiny move changed the way people think about fast food. All because people feel great when they eat there.

Dollar Shave Club is another excellent example. They care a great deal about their customers, and it shows with a motto like “We don’t respond to situations; we respond to people.”

Why do these companies do so well? They focus on service, and customers like that and are quick to give a social shout out when they do.

High customer service + Positive reviews = Rapidly growing customer base

When a customer leaves a business happy, they will spread the word. How Stuff Works has reported, “Satisfied Customers will tell 2-3 people about their experience,” while on the other hand, “unsatisfied customers will tell 8 to 10 people.”

Those numbers blow up with social media. It can spread good and bad reviews like wildfire.

Reviews are an element of a growing business. So, let’s talk about,

  1. How to ask for testimonials and
  2. How to leverage them in your content

It’s time to take advantage of free promotion with reviews, especially with the holidays coming up!

How to Ask for Testimonials

Great reviews can help a small business beat out a big company any day. But you have to ask for them.

Think back to shopping at any big retailer. The cashier would hand over your receipt and say something like, “There’s a survey link at the end of this receipt. Tell us about your experience.” This isn’t the best way to do it.

As a customer, I would have to log into my computer, go online, type in the web address, and take the survey. And that’s time-consuming!

Quick tip – make the process as seamless as possible!

Let’s say you have a local floral and gardening shop. Phrase your ask like this, “I hope you had a good time shopping here. If you don’t mind, our family business would appreciate your support. Please tell your friends about us and we’d love to share your thoughts on our website.” Then offer them a way to do that with an easy to fill form.

Alternatively, what if you have an email list? The key again is to make leaving a review as straightforward as possible.

Email your top email subscribers. Those that open more than 30% of your emails. Tell them how grateful you are for their support and that a review would greatly help. Give your subscribers prompts to get their thoughts flowing and include a link right to your Facebook page where they can easily add great feedback.

How to Leverage Reviews in Your Content

You successfully made an ask, and now you have a hand full of reviews. Your first plan of action should be to respond to those reviews: the good ones and the bad ones.

Responding to reviews make your business look efficient, aware of its online community, and it’s also just the right thing to do. If someone came up to you on the street and complimented you, you wouldn’t walk away. So, don’t ignore online compliments.

One great tip from HubSpot lets you get a little picky when it comes to testimonials. If you have multiple testimonials, promote the “effective testimonials that are specific and refer to the tangible impact the product or service had on the business results.”

Another way you can leverage reviews is to shout them out from the digital rooftops. Aka, post them on social media, on your website, have it in your email signature, create a case study or blog. Here are more specific ways to leverage reviews:

  • Using testimonials in digital ads like Google or Facebook. Testimonial focused ads tend to cause lower cost per acquisition results.
  • You can also post organically to social platforms to build trust with your followers. Use snippets of the testimonial to post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.
  • Content Marketing Institute talks about leveraging testimonials through video using YouTube. If you’re a local shop that sells dog toys, you can record a video showing the durability of the toy and close by reading off a customer review.
  • Build credibility by placing reviews on your website. Again, take action from HubSpot’s playbook and showcase specific reviews.

We’ll say it again. By leveraging your customers’ feedback, you can take advantage of free promotion through reviews. Social proof can help your business stand out in the crowded digital landscape and give you an advantage over your competition. And that’s one free marketing opportunity that you can’t afford to miss.