There are fantastic benefits to gain from written client reviews.
Whether you’re starting out or been in business for a while, collecting testimonials is a powerful way to turn visitors into customers, build trust with your audience and give your brand authority.
Here are 7 creative ways to get client reviews.
1. The Anatomy of a Great Testimonial
What makes a valuable review?
The best reviews, either on Google My Business (GMB) or left somewhere else, are:
Truthful: This is a must. Making up testimonials is unethical and makes your website untrustworthy. They’re easy to see through too
An endorsement: Reviews should be from someone who is willing to endorse your product, service or website
Authentic: Use a headshot with their first and last name to boost authenticity. GMB and social media feed through profile images or they may have a Gravata set up for blog comments
Mention the Qualities: It’s not good enough for someone to say they’ve tried your business, the review should cover whether they like it and why.
“A testimonial is a truthful and formal statement testifying to someone’s character or the quality of a product or service.”
2. How to Ask
Don’t be afraid to ask for a review. In fact, Google recommends business owners to directly ask for reviews by email, phone or in person. GMB makes it easy with regular reminders, quick review forms and short links to customise and send.
If your client has a positive experience with your product or service, try asking for a few words.
- Contact your customer with a follow up call or email straight after they’ve had a good interaction with your business, it’s easier to write a review when it’s recent to ensure it’s as accurate and specific as possible
- Email a few sentences thanking them for their business and ask if they have a few minutes, would they mind leaving a review. Send the direct link with instructions to simplify the process
- Bring it up in conversation if someone tells you how they feel about your products or services
- Remind past clients, a gentle nudge after 2 weeks prompts busy customers who may have forgotten
- Add a form to your website or end a project with a short survey
I don’t believe in offering incentives for testimonials. Especially when it comes to Google My Business. Google states; “business owners shouldn’t offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews. Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased.”
It also means you can’t ask friends, employees or family to review your business. Nor should you be reviewing your competitors as that manipulates ratings.
Tip: Avoid sending generic or bulk mail outs – make it personal. Create a process for collecting reviews, for example; before or after images or entering reviews into a Google doc to organise and highlight the best to share on a regular basis
3. Utilise Social Media
Platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are breeding grounds for feedback. People love to talk, engage and vent about their experiences. This works in your favour if you have customers talking about how your products or services have helped them.
Check Facebook and LinkedIn for any reviews you may have missed. Format them into quotes and use snippets of recommendations or the entire review. Although LinkedIn only offers recommendations for individual profiles, not company pages, it’s still encouraging to have employees active on LinkedIn and receiving recommendations on behalf of your business. With their permission, you can use them on your website as part of your testimonials page.
Comments on content you’ve shared to social platforms may also be used as reviews. Find out what people are saying about your business through a name search on Instagram, Twitter and other relevant platforms.
Tip: Set up social media tools to track mentions. Hootsuite, Buffer, Google Alerts and Mention will send email notifications if there’s a mention about your business or certain keywords. To show testimonials from social media on your website, use a feed tool like Smash Balloon or Business Reviews Bundle. I use Business Reviews to display GMB and Facebook reviews – scroll down to view reviews on my portfolio page. Choose the paid option to customise how they’re shown.
4. Add Your GMB Link to Your Email Signature
Make it easy for people to leave a review with a tiny URL. Add the link to your email signature, send it to clients with a short message or share it on your socials.
Other creative ways are:
- Print on marketing materials like business cards, brochures or handouts for clients and networking events
- Leave humble signs, stickers or cards around your store to invite people to leave a review on the spot
- Share your GMB link on other local search directories and publish top reviews on your website’s testimonial page
- Use niche review sites specific to your industry, for example; Trip Advisor and Service Seeking
- Check comments on your blog to screenshot and use, entice people to leave comments with a quick note; “Have any of our tips helped you? Let us know in the comments below!”
- Create a post on social media asking for reviews and include a screenshot of a previous customer review. When people see other people leaving good testimonials, it encourages their feedback too and offers an example if they’re unsure what to write
5. Use Quotes from Emails
Received an email from a client saying what a great product or service you’ve given them?
Turn it into a review by asking if you may quote them or share a screenshot. This also works for readers who email saying they like a blog article, how helpful your tips are or any beneficial feedback about your business.
Email reviews look good because like social media, it shows someone has taken time out of their day to contact you about their experience.
Remember, email subscribers and customers are your biggest fans. Many of them would be happy to leave a review if you asked them.
6. Take Advantage of Header Pop-Ups
HelloBar is a creative header pop-up that doesn’t annoy your website visitors. I use it to promote recent blog articles or for newsletter sign-ups. But it’s also perfect for a creative ‘leave a review’ message too.
7. Compiling Your Testimonial Page
Reviews breed more reviews.
Create a dedicated page on your website to showcase your kind words. According to research, 91% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, so it’s useful to have them all in one easy-to-access spot.
Make it easy for people to find your most glowing testimonials. If they came from GMB, LinkedIn, Yelp or social media, link back to the original source. Don’t hesitate to promote your review page when it’s ready.
Tip: Be grateful for client reviews. Respond to them all, even negative ones, to build trust with your customers and show them you value their feedback.
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