Social proof is a necessity for small businesses -- especially those in the early stage -- in the digital world we live in today.
Reviews and testimonials help warm up cold leads who have just recently learned about your brand. They don't want to hear you talk about your services, but instead would rather listen to those who have hired you talk about the experience. Most importantly, they'll want to hear about the results they got from hiring you.
It's important for small businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors, given how crowded many market verticals already are. Social proof allows them to do exactly that, and when used in combination with a strong value proposition, they can be extremely effective.
We've got some ideas for how to get testimonials, and how they should be structured, so check them out below.
How to get website testimonials from clients
- Give clients a "freebie" that's outside of the scope of work for a project. If you go the extra mile, they'll be incentivized to reciprocate, in the form of a review, referral or future purchase. Don’t be afraid to ask clients for a review after a project is done
- Create a standard “moving forward” email that you send out to every client after completion of a project, and include a link to Google Reviews (or whatever website you want to use).
- Create a guide for clients to follow for writing reviews. Make it as simple and easy as possible. Generally, a three-step process is effective, including: name of the business, what market vertical it operates in and what challenges they were facing which you helped them overcome. Give clients specific examples of recent reviews to use as a template.
- Add urgency or give them a timeline in which to write their review, otherwise they might forget. Ask them to submit it by a certain date.
- Reinforce how important it is and how much it means to you and your business, and that you care about their review.
- Incentivize them by including a financial benefit, if needed. For example, you can take a percentage off another service they might be interested in.
- Use a WordPress plugin (such as Google Reviews Pro) to display Google Reviews directly on your website.
Summary: Why social proof helps small businesses grow
Small businesses need to do whatever they can to stand out among their competition and help position themselves in their respective market vertical.
Price, product and promotion are all very important, but so is social proof. Getting clients to tell the story of their experience to those currently deciding whether or not to hire you is extremely beneficial, and you should invest time into creating a process to make that happen.