Customer endorsements are a powerful form of marketing and offers a tremendous ROI. Consider how you are spending your marketing dollars this year. Are you sure you are really getting value out of this?
With a customer endorsement your customers are reaching out to new potential customers directly. With the greater number of smart phones on the market getting customers to talk about you has never been easier.
The secret to getting these recommendations lie in a new class of websites applications that allow visitors to write and search for reviews on the go. These new application go by the name location based services but you may already know them by their more familiar names like Yelp, 4Square, Gowalla, and others. Each one is slightly different but they all have something in common – they allow people to look at and give on the spot reviews of your business. This is a really powerful advancement and if you are not taking advantage of it today be sure that your competition soon will.
As I said, there are many services. Let’s look at one in particular – Yelp. Yelp is a consumer powered review site that allows visitors to read and write reviews on a wide range of businesses. If you run a restaurant, salon, boutique clothing store you can take advantage of Yelp to help drive new traffic. Take some time to visit the website so you understand it. When you’re finished we’re going to look at some strategies for getting your customers to review you. These can apply to most of the location based services
Strategy #1 – Get yourself listed
If you’re not listed, don’t rely on one of your customers to enter your business information. Create an account and add your business.
Strategy #2 – Smart Phones are your friend
If you notice your customers with an iPhone or other smart phone ask them if they use Yelp. If they do then make sure and follow up to ask them to rate their visit. If you don’t ask, often people forget about it.
If you are running a restaurant, create tent cards asking people to rate their experience. This is a low cost and low friction way to get reviews.
Strategy #3 – Use your email list
In an earlier post we discussed the value of your email list. After every visit you should send out an email to your customers thanking them. When you do, include a link to Yelp and ask them to rate their experience.
Strategy #4 – Use your own computer
This strategy is not for everyone. If your have a spare computer or laptop create a rating station and ask your customers to rate their visit. If you put a computer in front of people they generally like to play with it. It’s an easy way to get reviews.
If you want people to think that you are a cutting edge business get yourself an iPad and load the Yelp application on it. When an opportunity arises, give your customer an iPad and ask them to rate your site.
Strategy #5 – Website links
Add a link to your Yelp page on your website. Even better, get your web designer to add the Yelp reviews directly to your website.
These strategies are all pretty simple and with the exception of #4 won’t cost you much. However, they are a powerful way to get your customers to start talking about you. As an added bonus, reviews from Yelp are sent to Google Places so new customers searching Google may see reviews of your business.
Start taking advantage of Yelp and other location based applications and you’ll see that you’re growing your clientele. If you’ve implemented any of these strategies, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section.