Why Customers are Your Best Marketers
Businesses of all sizes devote a significant portion of their budget to marketing. They hire consultants, they outsource, they do all kinds of research and split-testing. Through it all, there is one invaluable resource that is often overlooked: their customers. These days, the majority of consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision. There’s a reason that sites like Amazon make a point of putting customer reviews right up front. Online reviews have given customers greater power than ever before. And while many potential customers are suspicious of advertisements and marketing-speak, they are more willing to trust the honest opinions of regular people. Testimonials lend credibility and can even improve your SEO. Conversely, negative reviews can cost a business significantly. It’s hard to measure how much business a company actually loses due to negative reviews, so be sure to foster and highlight the positive ones.
To make the most of your customers’ goodwill, you must engage with them and encourage them to share their experiences. Ask your customers to post about your company on social media using a unique hashtag. If they are leaving positive reviews on places like Yelp and Google, be sure to emphasise those by featuring them on your website. Many sites have rules against simply copying and pasting their content, but you may be able to add an official plug-in that will display those reviews. If a customer leaves a testimonial on social media, make sure to ask them for permission before adding it to your website.
Another way to boost your positive reviews is through surveys. Ask your customers how likely they are to recommend your service to a friend. If they respond positively, ask them for a testimonial. You may be surprised by how often these customers will take the time to do so. If they respond negatively, ask them instead for feedback so that you may improve your service.
If you are fortunate enough to have many testimonials to choose from, display the ones that don’t sound like sales pitches. Testimonials often produce better results when accompanied by a photo of the reviewer. Be careful when incentivizing customers to leave reviews, however. If you are sending free products or otherwise benefiting the reviewer, it may undermine their credibility and yours.
Your best customers will be loyal brand advocates and can go a long way to convincing even the most sceptical person to give your company a try. By working hard to leverage these reviews and testimonials, you can create a powerful marketing force capable of reaching more people than ever before.