If you have a great business, you probably get positive online reviews as well. Directly and indirectly, that helps your business surface high on the search results of local ratings sites, and thereby to attract new customers as well. But instead of sitting back and waiting for reviews to gradually work their magic, here are six active steps you can take to amplify positive reviews and turn them into customer magnets.
1. Respond to all reviews. You’re likely already responding to negative reviews, but take it a step further by also responding to positive ones. Georges Greek Cafe, a restaurant in California, posts a personalized response to every review it receives. It may take time, but the investment is worth it. It’s a simple way to make customers feel appreciated for taking the time to write an online review and it also shows prospective customers reading those reviews that you’re an engaged, friendly and responsive business owner.
2. Post reviews on your business website and in your marketing materials. But don’t just create a “testimonials” page and stick your reviews there — very few people will see them that way. Instead, strategically sprinkle a few standout reviews on landing pages that are important to the conversion process—pages where customers are making a decision about whether to buy or not. You should also include a line or two from a great review in your email newsletters, your print brochures and flyers, your ads and other marketing materials.
3. Spread online reviews through social media. Update your social media status by quoting great reviews. Post a line from the review, then link to the full review so prospective customers can learn more. If you do, be sure to thank the person who gave the review—you can either thank them in your post or tweet, or find them on Twitter or Facebook and thank them personally. They’ll feel valued, and are more likely to share the post with others, further amplifying the reach of the review.
4. Use reviews in store signage and more. We saw one grocery store where the owner printed snippets from good reviews of products and put them next to the products on the shelves. This tactic could be adapted in a variety of ways—you could print key quotes from good online reviews and use them in a window display, at your store entrance, on a restaurant menu or in your lobby or waiting room. If you own a restaurant, consider printing reviews (or parts of them) on the back of servers’ shirts or on paper napkins.
5. Go above and beyond the review. Do you have a happy customer who gave you a really amazing review? Get in touch and ask if they’d be willing to help spread the word about your business in other ways. For instance, if you’re an interior designer and a client posts a great review, see if he or she would be willing to be a reference for your prospective customers. Or, see if they would be willing to do testimonial videos about how much they love your business.
One word of caution: Always ask before using a customer’s real name or otherwise disclosing private information. If you’re unable to contact the reviewer, or they decline to allow the use of their full name in print, consider whether you can use their initials, or their first name and last initial only, as alternatives.