One of the most powerful pages on your website is your testimonials page. Great testimonials tell people that your product or service is not only legit, but awesome enough that other people are seeing great results from it.
The question is, how do you get believable testimonials? Let’s look at some of the sites you can collect reviews upon, as well as how to encourage reviews from your customers and how to gather them from all around the web.
1. Facebook Reviews
If you have a Facebook page and are setup as a local business, your page now comes with a Reviews tab.
Simply slide this tab over into your visible tabs, and encourage your fans on your wall to go over and enter some reviews.
2. LinkedIn Recommendations
LinkedIn can be a great source of reviews, extracted from your recommendations. Of course, you can’t get reviews on your company profile – they are only available for individuals, which is great if you’re a freelancer, doctor, sole-proprietor, and so on.
But what if you own a company with many employees? Why not encourage all of the employees to be active on LinkedIn? This might lead to individual employees receiving recommendations from customers they work with on behalf of your company, and with their permission, you can use these recommendations on your website, either on a testimonials page or a page dedicated to your employees’ bios.
Plus, it wouldn’t hurt for someone who is researching your company on LinkedIn to see that you have an employee with an exemplary record, like the LinkedIn member above.
3. YouTube Video Reviews
What is stronger than a text based review? How about a video of your customer talking about how your products or services have helped them? Encourage your fans to add videos to their own YouTube account and let you know the link – you can add these videos to your channel as Favorites and create a playlist of customer reviews.
You can also keep a Flip camera in your office / store and film reviews on the fly to add to your own YouTube channel. If you have a strong YouTube channel to begin with, people will be happy to be featured on it in exchange for their thoughts.
A great example of a customer review video collection is the Experience LG channel above which has customer reviews for their home entertainment, home appliances, mobile phones, and computer products.
4. Local Search Directories
Local search directories such as Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Merchant Circle, and CitySearch allow members of their networks to write reviews about local businesses. If you have great reviews on these sites, you should share them on your testimonials page as well.
Why would you want to steer your customers to writing reviews on these sites as opposed to writing a testimonial directly for your site? Simple. If you are trying to get Google search traffic to your local business, you would want your business to come up in the search with the most reviews.
Many local search directories are interconnected as well. Google gets reviews from Google users, as well as pulling in reviews from other local search sites like Yelp. Merchant Circle allows member reviews and also pulls them in from Yahoo Local, CitySearch, and other sites as well.
So what does your business need to do to start getting reviews on these sites? Claim and update your listings on them, for starters, and promote your listing directly on your website so customers know where to go to send their reviews.
5. Niche Review Sites
Depending on your business’ industry, you may also want to focus getting reviews on niche review sites. Hotels, for example, would want great reviews on sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Trip Advisor, as many people get their first impression of a hotel off of these types of travel reservation site over the hotel’s main website.
6. Rewarding Customers Who Review
So, considering all of the above mentioned sites that you can get customers to share their opinions on, what can you do to encourage them to create these reviews?
Chances are, if you’ve been to a restaurant recently, you have seen an offer on your receipt for a chance to win a cash prize if you call in to do a review over the phone. This same strategy can be applied to online reviews as well.
Offer your customers incentives for creating reviews. Local search directories allow you to share coupons and discounts on their sites. Special coding on Facebook can allow you to share special offers for fans only. You can offer a giveaway for people who send in a video review. The possibilities are endless, and the better your offer, the more reviews you’re likely to receive.
7. Google Alerts and Social Mentions
Last, but not least, there are likely a ton of customer reviews that are written about your company on other sites, such as personal blogs, that are unsolicited. Setup daily notifications via email on Google Alerts and Social Mention for a variety of applicable terms in order to keep track of brand mentions, including your name, business name, brand, and specific product names plus the word review.
Use these alerts to find out about any reviews and ask the people who have mentioned your brand if you can feature their comment or story on your testimonials page. Usually people are happy to oblige, especially in exchange for a link from your site.
Compiling Your Testimonials Page
So now that you have collected all of these great reviews, you will want to add them to one page on your website that you can direct potential customers to so they can see what great things you have done for others. Be sure to credit the review to the site it came from (such as linking to your Yelp profile), as this may encourage people to continue on to your profile on that site and add more reviews. Also, if necessary, get permission from the person who wrote the review and confirm that it is alright if you add their review to your main site.
The Darkside of Reviews
There is one downside when it comes to opening the doors for reviews on your Facebook page, local search directories, and other sites that you can’t control, and that is the chance that all of the reviews will not be positive.
Whenever you come across a negative review about your business, it is essential that you respond to it. If someone comes across a negative review, but also sees that you have offered to help solve the problem in a public forum, then that potential customer will see that you do care about your customer’s happiness, which may lead to a positive impression after all.
How Do You Acquire Customer Testimonials?
Now it’s your turn. How do you get your customers to write or record reviews about your company? What other tips would you give to businesses looking to increase their testimonials page for more credibility?
About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing, including social networking strategies and blogging tips.