Few phrases make a business owner happier than “I’ve heard good things.” (“Do you accept cash?” would be another.) And kind words about your business — especially from new customers — do a heck of a lot more than make you feel good. They make you more successful.
That’s because positive buzz about your business is contagious.
If I tell my Aunt Gladys about the mouthwatering linguini carbonara I had at the new Italian restaurant in town, she’s MUCH more likely to go there the next time she gets a craving for Italiano. Then she’ll probably tell someone else, and so on. And let’s not underestimate the power of social media. My Facebook® friends might be tempted to share the luscious linguini pic I posted. The same pic could score a few Pinterest® pins. And that five-star review I left on Yelp® while waiting for my cannoli to digest? That’s word-of-mouth on digital-age steroids.
A recent survey found that 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and more than half of those surveyed said they’re more likely to use a local business based on positive online reviews.
Without a doubt, positive feedback cultivates customer trust and drives sales. For potential customers, it eliminates some of the mystery surrounding what it’s like to do business with you. It breeds confidence. It boosts your credibility factor. That’s why it’s so important to include customer testimonials on your business website.
How do you collect customer testimonials?
- Just ask. If you’ve got a physical store, you might keep a “We love feedback” sign on your checkout counter next to a simple feedback form and bowl of candy (or granola or rub-on tattoos). Shipping online orders to a select group of repeat customers? Give them a personal call to thank them for their business, and ask if they’re willing to provide a testimonial for your website. Do the same with happy customers you’re engaging with via social media. Research shows that about half of social network users respond to requests for feedback; you can up those odds by reaching out to social followers with whom you’ve established a strong online connection.
- Add a feedback link to existing customer communications. Do you send emails to your customers? Like monthly newsletters or surveys or promotions? If so, you’ve got a great opportunity to collect customer testimonials. Include a link to a feedback form on your website. You might even add that link to your email signature. And you definitely should include a feedback link on your business’s social media profiles.
- Use third-party resources and local review sites. People take stock in the opinions of others, which is why business review sites like Yelp® and Angie’s List™ are so popular. (Not surprisingly, reviews with poor grammar and spelling knock credibility down a notch.) Keep tabs on your business’s reviews, and share positive feedback on your website with a link back to the original source.
Make it really easy for customers to testify by offering to email a short feedback form for them to fill out. (Always ask permission to publish your customers’ comments.) And if they’re comfortable with it, ask them to include a photo. Think about how many credibility points you’ll earn with a pic of your happy customer using your product. Or, even better, a video snippet. That. Is. Invaluable. Marketing.
A former small business owner and newspaper journalist, and a published nonfiction author, Andrea Rowland helps craft compelling communications for today’s go-getters through her work as an editor at GoDaddy. Connect with Andrea on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business.