There’s a powerful marketing strategy you’ve yet to utilize effectively.
The best part of this technique is that it’s absolutely free.
Using customer reviews in marketing is a powerful method of swaying an audience. While skeptics may hesitate to believe your words, they have little reason to disregard third-party opinions.
First, we will talk about how you can get customer reviews at no cost. Then, we’ll show you the best ways to use that content for satisfying results.
How to Get Customer Reviews?
Obtaining honest reviews from customers is a simple task.
However, the exact process will vary depending on the method you intend to use to gather data. We recommend that every business take advantage of every review and testimonial channel that the internet offers.
Let’s start with arguably the most important platform.
1. Google My Business
Every business is eligible to create a Google Business Profile.
A Google Business Profile allows business owners to control their online presence and any data about business operations.
Your profile will allow you to:
- Add business photos
- Establish NAP information (Name, Address, Phone Number)
- List your website
- List business hours
- Post status updates
- Collect and respond to customer reviews
Google’s study purports that 60% of customers utilize a GMB profile found in search results to contact a business.
This is because a business with a complete GMB profile appears more legitimate than results without one. Additionally, the accessibility of information makes choosing one of these results, particularly from the local 3-pack, a no-brainer.
Furthermore, those featured brands show off their customer reviews with ease. These require a star rating, at a minimum, while also often featuring direct statements from the user.
Any brand can get customer reviews from its Google Business Profile. To create or claim one, follow these steps:
- Navigate to the Google Business Profile Manager here.
- Search for your business. Even if you’ve yet to use this tool, it’s possible that a profile already exists.
If your business appears, look for the link that reads Claim this business. Click this. Then, skip to step 5.
If your business does not appear click on Add your business to Google.
- Enter your business name exactly as it’s registered. Then, select the most appropriate industry category.
- Add the necessary information to complete your business profile.
- You will now need to verify business ownership with Google.
In some scenarios, Google may choose to validate your business instantly. In all other cases, you will need to provide a verification code sent to your phone or email address.
Just like that, you now have your own GMB profile! Any time a user searches for your brand or uses related keywords, they can find your profile and leave a review.
To gather more customer reviews, you want your profile to show up in rankings. To achieve better rankings, be sure to optimize your profile frequently. Ensure that you fill out information for all categories and that it is consistent with other descriptions of your business online.
2. Get Your Brand on Social Media Platforms
Social media is an excellent way to get customer reviews. Although, the method will differ from the process described above.
The only social media platform that provides aggregated reviews like GMB is Facebook. There, like Google, you can create a separate page and profile for your business. This allows you to distinguish your profile from the business entity.
To create a Facebook business profile, you’ll first need to create a personal profile. You can do so here.
Then, follow these steps:
- Log in to your account. At the top of the page, click on Pages.
- Click Create New Page.
- Follow the step-by-step prompts to create and categorize your business page.
You can similarly use this page for your GMB profile. You can upload business photos, add business information, and post regular updates.
Customers will then be able to post reviews and comment on your updates freely.
Users will still be able to search for businesses on these social media platforms. While they cannot find obvious star ratings or a dedicated review section, follower comments are still visible.
These comments effectively act as reviews and testimonials. You may also ask your followers directly to share their experiences, positive or negative, in any given thread.
3. Sign Up for Local Directory Listings
Though listings sites may not be as powerful as they once were, they still offer legitimate SEO value.
Examples of local directories are Yelp, Yellow Book, and Foursquare. These sites categorize local businesses by industry to help local customers make connections.
These platforms function similarly to Google My Business or Facebook. You’ll need to create a new profile or claim an existing one for your business. You’ll then need to verify yourself as the owner.
After claiming or creating the profile, proceed to optimize the page with up-to-date business details. Then, users can readily find your company and leave reviews about their experiences.
Keep in mind that certain industries also have niche platforms available to them. For example, restaurants can sign up for services like UberEats, which lists your full offerings along with qualified customer reviews.
Be sure to run a quick search and investigate which directories apply to your brand. These sites are generally free and offer potential benefits to your overall SEO strategy.
4. Business Rating Sites
Business rating sites are not unlike directory listings. However, these tend to be primarily focused on consumer education and holding businesses accountable.
Examples of the sites we’re referring to would include the Better Business Bureau or Trustpilot.
Because these organizations take business ratings seriously, maintaining high review scores there may prove valuable for your success. They carry trust with consumers simply due to their brand power alone.
You can create your profile for free on sites like the BBB. While you’re at it, you can also apply to get your company accredited by the BBB itself.
5. eCommerce Reviews
This tip applies specifically to brands that sell products or services online.
If you sell your products through a third-party distributor like Amazon, Overstock, or eBay, a customer review feature is available by default. Those platform owners want customers to understand the quality and trustworthiness of their sellers upfront.
If you choose to build your eCommerce site through Shopify or Weebly, you should enable customer reviews for each listing. After all, as much as 90% of customers search for reviews first before buying. Listing reviews right next to the product not only helps you collect more of them but may help to drive sales overall.
6. Direct Customer Surveys
Our final tip may seem obvious, but it’s often underutilized.
If your brand is looking for new reviews, ask for them.
Too often companies focus purely on the data collection aspect. However, talking with your customers or prospects about their experience is an excellent way to show that you care and are listening.
One strategy is to utilize email marketing to fetch reviews from existing customers. Not only will it benefit you, but it can be an effective way to re-engage customers and keep them thinking about your brand.
If you’re having a tough time getting cooperation, consider presenting a limited-time offer. This could be exclusive discounts or vouchers they can obtain in exchange for leaving a customer review.
Using Customer Reviews in Content Marketing
Now that you’ve amassed a healthy number of customer reviews, it’s time to put them to use.
Customer reviews serve as a persuasive marketing tool. These reviews can offer and help with:
- Social proof that your products or services are quality
- Relatable stories to help customers identify use cases
- Attracting new followers
- Generating new, compelling content
- Opportunities to show you care (particularly when responding to negative reviews)
Customer reviews can offer these benefits by simply existing on any of the aforementioned platforms. However, you can leverage them for even greater effect when leveraging the following strategies.
1. Feature Customer Reviews on Your Website
Your website is like a dynamic business card.
It’s the core way that new and existing customers learn about who you are, what you offer, and how you can help them. Website content serves to educate, while also calling your audience to take action toward a purchase.
Customer reviews can help with that act of persuasion.
Consumers are savvier than ever. They’re well aware that every brand is going to speak to their believed strengths and how they’re better than the competitor. While that’s all well and good, letting your customers do that work is more effective.
It’s up to you how you choose to present reviews throughout your site. You can choose to have a dedicated section for them. However, we recommend interspersing them throughout the content to drive home key selling points.
For example, if a paragraph is speaking about a specific service, it features a related review. That testimonial serves as the exclamation point and can push prospects to take the next step.
2. Leverage Customer Reviews in Paid Campaigns
This functions effectively the same as using them on your main website.
However, you’ll want to dial in on reviews that primarily speak to the campaign offer or promotion. These then offer the same powerful social proof as to the ones on your business profiles.
Once you have the review in hand, the creative possibilities are endless. You can utilize the review within the ad itself or disperse them throughout the landing page.
Specifically, try to create video content out of your reviews. If you can, ask clients to shoot a quick view of their experience. Almost everyone carries a smartphone with recording capabilities, and a basic video is all you need. In many cases, a “budget” video may appear more authentic and trustworthy than something that’s produced.
3. Utilize User-Generated Content
User-generated content is any text, pictures, or videos created by your audience rather than your team.
Thanks to platforms like social media, the everyday individual has more of a voice. They might use that voice to express loyalty or passion for the brands they love. If you’re doing your job well, you may find yourself receiving UGC periodically.
You can also incentivize your audience to create UGC.
For example, some brands may choose to promote giveaways. The giveaway itself promotes attention and brings in new leads simply because you’re giving back to the community with free goods.
However, rather than just asking for names and numbers, task your followers with content creation.
You can start with something as simple as asking for real customer stories. These are like reviews, but give your followers a greater opportunity to elaborate about themselves and how your company impacted their lives.
Alternatively, you can prompt followers with a creative prompt. A great example of this is Coca-Cola’s #ShareaCoke campaign. They added names to all of their bottles and asked users to show themselves sharing a coke with someone in their lives. This resulted in a massive influx of user photos posing with the drink.
Even though those photos don’t have text, the photo tells the entire story. That’s the power your brand can have with UGC.
4. Use Customer Feedback to Guide Future Content
This final tip focuses less on presenting reviews to others. Instead, you’ll be reading the testimonial for feedback. This applies to both positive and negative reviews.
Look carefully at what your audience is saying. Identifying negative patterns is particularly important as it indicates a problem worth addressing.
Let’s look at our own company, DashClicks, for inspiration. While most of our clients fully understand the tools we offer, others may need more direction.
Rather than ignoring and alienating potential customers, we created a video series showing off various use cases for each software. Not only does this allow us to get ahead of potential concerns, but it also helps us create legitimately worthwhile content for our audience.
Look to your reviews and customer experiences for similar inspiration. Then, plan out new and compelling content that speaks directly to what your audience needs.
Get Customer Reviews to Work for You
Customer reviews are a requirement for businesses to survive.
In a world where the internet gives access to so many options, audiences need proof that your brand is worth the cash. Few things are more persuasive than the opinion of an outside party.
Remember, customer reviews offer:
- Social proof that your brand offers quality
- Insight into how others use your products or services
- Emotional connection from hearing audience stories
- A final push to convince prospects to become buyers
You can leverage these benefits in several ways. Primarily, you want to always seek out ways to disperse relevant reviews into your existing content. Let it serve as the punctuation on any selling points.
If you need more customer reviews, make sure that your brand is listed on the available listing sites online. That also includes social media platforms, business review sites, and more. Finally, ask for specific stories from your customers when possible.
As your brand grows, you’ll find that more customer reviews will appear organically. Be sure to stay on top of these reviews, respond to your audience, and become a business that puts the customer experience first