Put the gift of customer feedback to work for your brand

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In our last blog post, we shared how customer feedback is a tremendous gift, particularly for emerging and service brands. Now let’s talk about how to put that feedback to work for you.

You are getting reviews and ratings about your business. What should you do next? First, if you have a less-than-stellar online review, respond to the complaint to learn about the customer’s experience. Even the act of following up can help turn a disgruntled customer into one who would consider purchasing from you. And take heart—a negative review can lend authenticity and credibility to an otherwise stellar pool of reviews.

As you would expect, your positive reviews have tremendous value. If you’re in the B2C space, about 95% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase (Powerreviews). For B2B marketers, 92% of potential buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a review. While online review sites provide a great way for potential customers to learn more about you, there’s much more you can do with your accolades.

One of the best ways to leverage positive reviews is to turn them into testimonials. What’s the difference between a review and a testimonial? A review is posted by a customer on a third-party review site (such as Yelp or Google Business), whereas a testimonial is a quote—often pulled from an online review—from a customer who agrees to let you use it for your marketing efforts.

9 tips for turning good reviews into great testimonials

  1. Pull out the best sentences (1 to 3 max) to form the basis of a strong testimonial. Don’t make significant changes to the content. To keep it authentic, the quote should be in your customer’s own words.
  2. One change you’ll want to make though: Customers appreciate steps you take to make them look good, so go ahead and fix any typos or grammatical issues.
  3. If there are lots of “golden nuggets” in one review, consider creating several testimonials from it.
  4. For longer reviews, especially ones that provide details about the work or how your product solved a problem, consider creating a case study, as well.
  5. You’ll want to get permission to use each testimonial. According to Google (where a vast majority of business reviews are posted), “you must obtain consent from the reviewer to use a customer’s review…for marketing purposes.” Plus, it just makes good business sense.
  6. Assess your testimonial pool collectively. Does it cover a variety of aspects about your business, such as using your product, the buying experience, customer service, how you handled a difficult situation, etc.? Ideally, you’ll want your testimonials to tell a first-hand story about what it’s like to work with or buy from you.
  7. If possible, you’ll want to attribute the quote to the individual who says it (versus anonymizing the statement). Include first and last name, and add title and organization for B2B quotes.
  8. If your customer is not comfortable with full attribution, consider using one of the following forms of partial attribution: first name and last initial, first initial and last name, or initials and location (city and state). All of these options can help legitimize an anonymous review.

Ways to use testimonials Once you have your testimonials selected and approved, it’s time to use them to support your sales and marketing efforts. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Your website: It’s the first place you’ll want to feature your customer quotes.
  • Proposals: Help increase the likelihood of proposal acceptance.
  • Bios: When testimonials mention you by name, consider adding them to the bottom of your bio or resume.
  • Pitch decks: Testimonials can be used in many places, depending on what they say, but often a good spot is toward the back of your presentation—to reinforce the pitch you just made.
  • Collateral: Testimonials can strengthen brochures and other marketing/sales materials—whether printed or electronic.
  • Email marketing: Have a newsletter? You could feature a different testimonial every month.
  • Social media: Your latest testimonial makes a great post—and gives you a way to thank the person who gave it to you.
  • Point of sale: The product pages on your ecommerce site, trade show graphics, and in-store signage are three placements to potentially consider.
  • Get creative: If you provide a professional service, consider adding a short testimonial to your email signature or the back of your business card. You could feature a testimonial in a digital ad, on a customer log-in page, or in loyalty emails to current customers. So many possibilities!

Harness the power of customer reviews by turning them into testimonials. Prospective customers benefit from having more ways to access first-hand customer experiences as they prepare to buy. And your brand is strengthened by all the good things people are saying about you and your organization.

And to practice what we preach, check out this testimonial from one of our amazing clients:

“I just wanted to say you all are my heroes. 😊 Watching you walk through the deck with our executives and all the work we’ve accomplished over the last few months was so inspiring. I’m thankful to be partnering with your team on this brand refresh—and as we continue building greater brand awareness for our company in 2023. I’ve learned so much already, and I’m incredibly excited to learn more from you all.”

Alicia C., brand and content marketing director, financial services company

Martha Holler

Martha Holler is the co-founder of ShinePR and has over 25 years of experience in public relations. Her expertise is amplifying brand purpose and delivering tangible and measurable results for her clients.