Creating profiles on review sites such as Yelp, Google and Facebook opens up your business to feedback – positive and negative –  that can have a direct impact to your online reputation in terms of influencing customer purchase decisions. But it also creates a unique opportunity that your business can take advantage of, in the form of the direct voice of the customers reactions and response, which can be used in a number of ways.

92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 80% of those consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. When you open up your business to receive (and respond) to this feedback, you also open up the possibility to utilize this feedback beyond these review sites.

One way to utilize feedback from reviews is by turning them into customer testimonials, which can be featured on your website. They give you the ability to share credible and unbiased recommendations for your business, right where consumers are looking for information about it.

Why are testimonials effective?

Testimonials are effective for three reasons:

  1. They build trust. Sharing direct commentary from customer’s positive experience with your business gives additional credibility to the message.
  2. They aren’t selling anything. Testimonials share experiences and unbiased accounts of actual customer experiences without the typical sales component of company created marketing messages.
  3. They answer questions. Especially for potential consumers questioning making purchase decisions, testimonials answer the most important question “Should I do patron this business?”.

What makes a good testimonial?

After you’ve established profiles on top review sites and started collecting reviews you can begin to find the reviews that could be powerful testimonials for your local business. 5 key elements to look for include:

  1. Filled with benefits that informs a reader specifically why your business stands out above other, beyond simply “These guys are great!”. Look instead for comments such as  These guys helped me pick out the perfect bed frame for my needs and my price, and even delivered and set it up for me! Could not have been an easier, faster or more pleasant experience.” That covers cost, speed and customer service all in one.
  2. Backs up your business claims, echoing the sentiments consumers can find in your marketing material or said in your location.
  3. From a relatable figure, such as a person within your target audience. 64 year old widow Molly Johnson may be the best representation for your college-town retail location, compared to a review from the college’s star football player.
  4. Is credible and includes a first name, last name, hometown and a photo to really showcase that your testimonials is from real customers in your area.
  5. Sets your local business apart, whether it compares your business to another in the area or simply emphasizes a customer’s outstanding experience they received, a good testimonial helps your business stand out from the crowd.

Once you’ve found reviews that contain these 5 things, you’re ready to start sharing them! Feature your testimonials anywhere you share your business’s benefits and services, and help to back-up and make your business’s claims more credible.

When sharing reviews in the form of testimonials it’s always advised to reach out to the reviewer first, asking if it’s okay for your business to share the review elsewhere. It’s also a great opportunity to ask for any additional information from the reviewer or further feedback.

Take advantage of the positive reviews and feedback you get online by sharing them as testimonials of your local business. Your customer’s passion for your business and services can drive more folks to your business, to create the same passion over and over.

Start managing your online reviews through the Vivial platform where you can manage all of your digital marketing from one place. See how your business can use it today!

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