How many of your customers have told you how much they love your product, or how surprised they were by the quality of your service? Now how many of those customer comments did you take the time to capture and catalog for later use in your marketing efforts?
If your answer is zero, then you are missing out on one of the cheapest, and most effective forms, of mandatory marketing. Think of Amazon.com. They do a very good job of ensuring customer comments and reviews are highlighted, and easy for us to find. We use the experiences of other buyers as a way to justify our purchase decisions. Amazon takes it one step further and uses a five-star rating system. I know that I’ve made several purchases on Amazon solely based on the customer ratings of a specific product.
The power of a customer review is too incredible not to harness! You only need to know how to capture their feelings, and (with their permission) yell their approval from the roof top! Let your prospects understand that your product has been tried and tested. Your service is solid, and they will definitely get their money’s worth!
The last I checked, none of us are perfect! Our flaws, mistakes and blemishes are what make us human, and in today’s business world, being human is a good thing. If you choose to promote only the positive posts, reviews and customer comments, sooner or later your prospects will get the feeling that your offering is too good to be true. If your brand new to business, you will learn quickly that, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to please everyone. Inevitably, a customer will become disgruntled or dissatisfied with your service. The best thing you can do, especially if their complaint was broadcasted via social media, is to reply in a professional manner, while striving to make things right. Even if it takes a freebie, a percentage off or gift card, make sure that your actions to rectify the situation take place where everyone can see it! Show the world you own up to your mistakes, and don’t let customer concerns go unsettled.
Be the better person.
Our initial intentions are to offer up rewards only for positive reviews. But as I described above, only acknowledging positive reviews is a slippery slope. If you are going to offer a 10% coupon for every review, you want to make sure to develop a fool-proof tracking plan, and limit the offer to first time reviewers only. Also, be careful when offering incentives for reviews. Some of the online review sites frown upon this method. I would stick to in-house postings until you double-check the online rules.
A popular practice for small businesses, especially food based, is to place a laptop or tablet close to the checkout area. Place a little “call to action” sign asking for the customer to Like your establishment on Facebook, or Tweet about their experience on Twitter. You can also offer a small reward for their efforts, but only after you review the rules of engagements online. As I indicated on my website, www.BentBusinessMarketing.com, a recent study stated that 48% of consumers now make their purchase decisions based on their peer’s approval on social media. That’s too big of a number to ignore!
Most business owners understand the importance of building a healthy presence online. With the massive amount of social sharing applications available on both Apple and Android devices, it’s now possible for a customer to inform over ten thousand of their closest followers that the steak they were served in your restaurant was over cooked. Not only will their voice be heard, but their message will hit the streets of the social web before they even say “Check please!” That’s the reality of word-of-mouth in today’s business world. Share-ability has given everyone a voice, and a platform to ensure their voice is heard. That’s why you need to make sure you have a presence in the same social circles. Just like the example I used above when I described responding to a negative review, Imagine the disastrous impact a single negative comment would have if you weren’t tech savvy enough to be listening. A negative posting could go unanswered, and generate a ton of similar complaints. Your business name was used so aggressively on a single site that Google thinks it’s built around relevant content. So if someone sat behind their computer and searched for your business, the first page that pops up could possibly be a Twitter thread that bashes your customer service! That’s a black eye from a punch you could have ducked if you educated yourself on ways to listen.
Try running a Google search on your name and business. You might be surprised at what you find!
Still the number one most viewed content online, videos have the power to add a face to the review. Video can convey happiness, empathy or relief. Every successful late night sales commercial is loaded with customer testimonials. Proactiv does a great job creating visual proof that their product is both effective and affordable. The average everyday user is just like us! You can do the same thing by requesting a testimonial from your most valued customers. Smart phones today come equipped with awesome cameras that provide several editing options. You can quickly adopt the skills necessary to make attractive videos to use on your websites. I would suggest finding a generic legal release form online. You want to make sure that the subject authorizes the use of their image for your marketing efforts. In 2012 alone, video was shared more than 12 times as often has text posts and hyperlinks combined. That’s a ton of video content! It’s time for you to channel your inner Spielberg.
Related Content: Digital Media Guru Reveals His Top 10 Video Marketing Tips
One last word of warning before you head off in search of reviews and testimonials,
DO NOT create false reviews, or reviews authored by employees. That type of misleading content is insanely frowned upon, and can result in your site being shut down. If you upset the wrong person with deceptive advertising, freedom of speech allows them to launch sites whose sole purpose is to bash your business! And there is nothing, at least nothing cheap, that you can do to stop them.
Harness the power of positive customer interactions, and remain genuine. They’re already saying great things about your business, you just need to capture it!