Testimonials and reviews can be a powerful addition to your overall marketing mix. Think about how frequently you read reviews about a product, a doctor, or another service before you make a purchasing decision. If people are looking to do that same level of research about your business, are there reviews or testimonials for them to read?
Including testimonials or reviews is a great way to incorporate social proof in your marketing. Social proof, initially explored by Robert Cialdini in the early 1980s, is a psychological concept where people view certain behaviors as the right thing to do because we see other people doing it. In marketing, the term is often used to mean showing evidence that other people have found value in a specific product or service.
Here are some simple steps to take if you want to incorporate more social proof in your marketing approach through testimonials and reviews.
Ask for reviews and testimonials
This is a relatively easy step but one that most business owners don’t do regularly. Take a look at your customer flow and see if there’s a logical place to ask for a review. If you’re shipping a physical product, send an email shortly after the product arrives and ask the customer to share their thoughts via a reply email, an online survey, or on a public platform like Google. If you deliver a monthly consulting service, consider reaching out at the three-month mark with an email asking clients to leave a review.
Always get written permission to use them
If you’re directly asking a customer to provide a testimonial for you, there’s some implied permission there already. However, it’s still a good idea to have your client sign a short release form or send an email explicitly granting their permission to use their name, business name, photo, and words in various platforms to market your business. This is especially important if your client sends a draft testimonial and you make any minor edits to the content, which is common for product/services names or grammar/style. Be sure you have their approval for the final version!
Leverage reviews from online platforms
If someone has left a review on a public site like Facebook, Google, or Yelp, you can likely share it in your marketing without getting additional permission from them. However, if you want to modify the review slightly for use on your website or social media, be sure to get written permission for the modified version of the review.
Online reviews will show up automatically if someone is looking at those specific platforms, but you can also add a widget to your website to pull in Google reviews of a certain level automatically or create social media graphics from any of your review sources to share on other social platforms. While having positive reviews on those sites are great, be sure to leverage those reviews in other ways to promote your business!
Using testimonials and sharing reviews in your marketing is not only a great way of saying, “Hey, we’re awesome” without writing it directly in your copy — it’s also an opportunity for customers to visualize themselves working with you if they relate directly to a scenario shared in a testimonial or review. So, if you haven’t asked your customers to provide a review or testimonial recently, drop an email to a few key customers and ask what they love about working with you.