7 Creative Ways to Get Customer Testimonials

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.

facebook 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.

linkedin company profiles

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.

LinkedIn Company Profile

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.

youtube customer reviews videos

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.

Google Places Reviews in Local Search Results

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.

Social Mention Search

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.

  1. Those are great suggestions, I had never considered taking the comments from those sites as testimonials thanks for the suggestion

  2. Isn’t incentivizing testimonials with rewards considered a black hat tactic by some?

    • I think a lot of businesses offer something in exchange for a review / testimonial. Restaurants in particular give you a chance to win cash or get a free meal for doing a survey / review. I get email surveys all the time that offer a discount or chance to enter a contest in exchange for a review. And I’ve been to doctors who will offer you a free session (adjustment, acupuncture, etc.) if you provide them a testimonial. I don’t think it’s black hat really unless you say “I’ll give you $100 to say you love us.”

      • True. Most of the travel booking sites send you an email after your purchase to review the site and after you return from your trip to review the airline, hotel, etc.

        In the age of social media the voice of the customer is more and more important each day, so being able to communicate with your clients and having into account their words is for sure the way to go.

        BTB, great post Kristy!

    • Yes, Most professionals would not “bribe” a customer for a good review. Good service and easy access to write reviews is a good way. (Make them be able to see where to write, along with previous reviews)

      Encouragement!

    • That’s what I was thinking, this may encourage a false positive? (not that business owners would be bothered) Also place testimonials ‘inline’ with the service or product, not just on a single page.

    • Where the problem comes in- is if you said, “We will only give X prize if you give us a 5 star review” There is nothing wrong with offering an incentive for a customer to write a review- albeit negative or positive shouldn’t matter. We offer incentives, because let’s face it- unless someone got really pissed off or a very slim few who COMPLETELY love the stuff- 99% of customers don’t write reviews- however if you offer them something (free product) in exchange for a review (and not stating a good review or bad review- just a review) then they most likely will write a review.

  3. A great round up. A great way to get them is send a follow up email after an ecommerce customer has received there order. Amazon sends me one when I buy.

    Thanks!

  4. Hello Kristi

    Great actionable advice. One of the things we’ve noticed at Unbounce is some of our best customers come from a referral/testimonial and we’ve had many discussions how we can get more of them. Your list has given me a few good ideas.

    Cheers,
    Rick

    • Thanks Rick! I think some people are just naturally more comfortable writing a testimonial on one platform over another, so giving them the option to do so everywhere you can and then compiling it all later will get you the most response.

  5. Good tips, especially the YouTube one. You want to make sure that Google has plenty of quality results to show when someone inevitably searches “(your product) reviews.”

    Also, don’t forget about 3rd party reviews. For some potential customers, these may carry more weight. My company (Tortuga Backpacks) compiles quotes from 3rd party reviews on a Reviews page with links back to the original article. We also use these quotes on our product page as social proof.

    • I’ve seen some companies that take their review snippets from across the web and compile them on a testimonial page – kind of like Google Places imports reviews from all over for their pages. Definitely a great idea Fred!

  6. A client (plumbing company) already has in place a next day follow-up phone call to make sure that everything has been done well and the client is happy. They mentioned that some customers said they had wanted to leave a review on Google, Yelp etc, but did not want to register an account, so had not done so.

    We set up an unlinked page on their site which contains a simple review form.

    After speaking with the customer on the phone the company sends them a thank you email with a discount coupon for their next call. At the end of the email it now says “If you would like to tell us (and others) what you think of our service, log in to one of these networks (clickable links to google places, yahoo local, yelp) or go to our website to Write a Review (clickable button)”

    Reviews from the website are emailed to the company’s relationship manager and to me. Reviews are then added to the testimonial page on the website.

    Simple, but it works!

    • That’s a good point Sha – some people hate having to register. Making the process as simple as possible is likely to lead to more testimonials!

      • We do something where we give customers a choice- so for example “Thank you for your order…. please fill out the questionaire (simple form that GUIDES the testimonial) and select two additional choices to receive your free product.” Additional choices are things like, Write a review and post to our facebook page Write a review and tag us in the facebook post Upload a 30+ second video to You Tube reviewing one of our products Add a review to any of our products that are listed on Amazon Write a review and rate us on Google Places etc…..
        This gives our customers the option to do what they want (which goes along with- not wanting to create accounts just to leave a review) so they can choose where they already have an account. Also this helps to get us a multi-facet of reviews from ALL over the web- and not just ONE place (like facebook).

        Goal here is (1) Make this is EASY AS POSSIBLE for customers (2) Offer them something of value in exchange for their TIME!

  7. That’s a great list Kristi, thanks for taking the time to put those useful ideas all together.

    I agree that most companies could benefit from collecting and sharing their customer’s experiences and there are several online tools that can make this process less fiddly and time consuming that are possibly also worth a mention.

  8. Free audio testimonials like GoodVox.com can make your testimonials page stand out as well.

  9. Typically if we have done a good job in customer service and someone is telling us how much they like our product, we will take that opportunity to ask if they would like to submit a testimonial for our website. A lot of times they are excited because it provides some exposure for them and maybe even a link back to their site.

    • Exactly! Plus potential customers are going to be that much more excited to see the face of a real person and be able to check out that person’s business to see if their industry is getting good results with a product or service!

  10. Good compilation. In addition, the list is very useful to find gaps.

  11. Thanks for the compilation. Btw I was slightly mislead by the title; I was hoping for 7 out-of-the-ordinary ways to get testimonials. (#1 or #7, of course, would have to be: Contact the Customer Personally and Ask For a Testimonial)… Maybe do a followup article which encourages creative sharing? :)

    • Maybe Ersan. I think the creativity for some businesses would be setting up the portals and content so that people will be attracted to them to make the testimonials, such as a great Facebook fan page, videos on YouTube, etc. Plus you can put a lot of creativity into #6 when deciding what incentives will encourage the reviews!

  12. why didn’t you mention disqus comment application? it is very popular.

    • Commenting systems aren’t a bad way to go when it comes to testimonials. I find that in some cases though, people are going to leave their 2 cents just to get a link back to their site on someone’s business page.

  13. Thanks for the advice… but for me comments are enough.. :)

  14. Every time I have a client and I finish the work for her, I kindly ask her to provide me a testimonial or leave me a LinkedIn recommendation.

    Most of them reply with a testimonial or a recommendation and in time I actually got a few testimonials that are impressive for prospective customers.

  15. After your give your customer something. Offer to send them a bonus if they email you one specific thing they liked about your product/service.

  16. We have many testimonials on http://www.pixelfanatix.com website compiled over time from Linkedin and emails we get from those who have done business with us. The one suggestion I have is to never create/share fake reviews and to not ask those who have never worked with you for a review as it puts them in an uncomfortable predicament. Best time to ask for a review is immediately after a transaction or a positive interaction happened.

    I also encourage asking clients for constructive feedback to improve your services not only for them to praise you. The negative feedback can be private but the goal is to have them share their honest thoughts so you can help them better in the future.

    For those who are very busy and don’t have time to write up a formal review, pay attention to email or other communication, ask them if you can quote them if at any point they say something positive or constructive about your relationship, process, solutions.

    A great incentive for a testimonial / review may be additional exposure opportunity by linking back to their website, product and mentioning their review in your newsletter. Give before you ask to receive.

    Marzena

  17. One of my new favorite ways is having them fill out a survey with the question: “What did you like best about [our product, course, service]?” etc.

    I also enjoy getting quick 140 character testimonies by asking them to tweet any “ah ha” moments via my training sessions on Twitter.

  18. Facebook has dropped the Reviews tab on pages and replaced it with a Recommend box on the right side of pages with a physical location.
    More info here: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=254646391237470&ref_query=page+review

  19. People tend to leave lots of feedback on Facebook wall and Twitter and if you are using moderation blocklist you can minimize number of negative reviews. You can ask your fans to add those reviews to your Google Places to increase your Google rank http://s.rezdy.net/z2f5ug

  20. We just started using a company to record video testimonials. It is working out really well so far and they even post the videos in google searches and youtube for me. Also they allow customers to share their videos with friends on Facebook. Here’s the link…

    http://webcamtestimonials.com/

  21. Great! I always been counting to this site techyv.com. It helped me a lot in my daily issues regarding IT related problems especially in the viral security issues. Thank You for posting.

  22. Hazel Gilbert Apr 24, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Hey, thanks for the article post. Really Cool.

  23. Great ideas! I think sometimes people need that extra incentive to leave a review, so the coupon, or discount is a great idea!
    Also, somewhat negative reviews are not a bad thing as long as they are few and not terribly negative. It makes the product, or company more real and believable. Especially, if as mentioned before the company has responded and taken a proactive step to make that customer happy. Great ideas!

  24. I think it is important to be unique when creating a page to showcase your testimonials. I really like this page from a contingent workforce management company that lets you filter their reviews with a few different options

    http://www.targetcw.com/testimonials

  25. Great information Kristi
    Customer Reviews are essential for small business success. Honest small business owners should ask their customers if they wouldn’t mind writing about their experience with the company. I’ve made up a flyer that has my website address and asks them to go to my “Customer Reviews” page where the information on where they can post a review for us along with some of our recent “Customer Reviews” are posted. It’s the dishonest companies that probably wouldn’t encourage this.

  26. Thank you for these great tips, I will have to try using them for my business! I wish more people would write testimonials for everyday businesses. I have been looking for some good lawn care service testimonials for Salt Lake County, because I need to hire someone to come take care of my lawn. You would be surprised at how few and far between the testimonials are for most sites.

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