A good web design and strong content will go a long way in getting potential customers to your web site. But some of the most powerful messages on your website don’t come from you; they come from your satisfied customers. Great customer testimonials tell people that your product or service is not only legit, but awesome enough that other people are happy enough to recommend it.
The question is, how do you get believable testimonials? Let’s look at some of the sites you can collect reviews upon, as well as how to encourage reviews from your customers and how to gather them from all around the web.
- Facebook Reviews If you have a Facebook page and are set up as a local business, your page now comes with a Reviews tab. Make this tab visible, and encourage your Facebook fans to go over and enter some reviews.
- LinkedIn Recommendations LinkedIn recommendations are only available for individuals (not companies), which is great if you’re a sole proprietor like a doctor or freelancer. But if you own a company with employees, you can encourage your employees to join LinkedIn, and if they get recommendations, you can ask to use them on your website, either on a page related to the services they provide, or on your About Us page.
- YouTube Video Reviews Video reviews are stronger than written reviews, and Google loves video. Encourage your satisfied customers to add videos to their own YouTube account and let you know the link so you can add it to your website. You could also create a video review in your office or at the client’s home when a job is done.
- Local Search Directories Local search directories such as Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Merchant Circle, and CitySearch allow members to write reviews. If you have great reviews on these sites, you should share them on your website as well. You can encourage satisfied customers to write reviews on these sites, and not just for your website. The reason is simple. If you are trying to get Google search traffic to your local business, you want your business to come up in the search with the most reviews.
- Google Alerts and Social Mentions Finally, there are likely customer reviews that are written about your company on other sites, such as personal blogs, that are unsolicited. Setup daily notifications via email on Google Alerts and Social Mention for a variety of relevant terms in order to keep track of brand mentions, including your name, business name, brand, and specific product names plus the word review.
Use these alerts to find out about any reviews and ask the people who have mentioned your business you can feature their comment or story on your website. Usually people are happy to oblige, especially in exchange for a link from your site.
The Down Side of Reviews
There is one downside when it comes to opening the door for reviews on your Facebook page, local search directories, and other sites that you can’t control, and that is the chance that not all of the reviews will be positive.
Whenever you come across a negative review about your business, it is essential that you respond to it. If someone comes across a negative review, but also sees that you have offered to help solve the problem in a public forum, then that potential customer will see that you do care about your customer’s happiness, which may lead to a positive impression after all. Setting a Google Alert on your business allows you to keep on top of reviews of all kinds.