The best marketing collateral you have is the people who love your brand. Here’s how to make customer reviews work for your business.

With nearly 2.5 billion people on social media around the world, attracting potential customers has become much more about making authentic connections with individuals than about blanket, one-size-fits-all ad campaigns. While pithy sales copy still has a place in marketing, it is no longer the sole — or even the most important — aspect of a successful strategy.

Instead, people are taking to the Internet and social media platforms in increasing numbers to both air their opinions and mine the opinions of others. This is how customer reviews can start to benefit your marketing strategy. Online user reviews, such as those found on TrustRadius, are a great way to build trust with potential customers and engage with your current customers.

The best part: encouraging customer reviews doesn’t require a full social CRM strategy or mastery of fancy new tools. Here’s why it’s so important, and how you can make customer reviews a vital aspect of your marketing strategy in a few simple steps.

The Why: Customer Reviews and Your Marketing Strategy

It may make intuitive sense that customer reviews are a good idea — but what are the specifics? How do customer reviews contribute to the success of your company? Consider these top three reasons to encourage reviews:

1. They build trust.

Around 90% of online users say that they take customer reviews into account when they are browsing a company’s website or product offerings online. That is a huge percentage and a number that marketers should take to heart. It essentially means that consumers aren’t just looking for your carefully crafted sales copy — they are looking for what your customers have to say about you. Positive testimonials are an incredibly powerful tool for building trust among future customers.

2. They encourage engagement.

By taking the time to encourage customer reviews, you are showing your current customers that you care about their experience with your products or services. You can encourage customers to leave reviews on social media, in a newsletter, in personal emails, or even over the phone! With the right approach, customers will feel more engaged with your brand — and even more likely to recommend your services to their peers.

3. They help your ranking.

There is no question that SEO is critical to a successful digital marketing strategy these days. One of the secondary benefits of encouraging customer reviews is that this content can actually help your search engine ranking. Marketing experts generally agree that featuring customer reviews makes a website higher quality in the eyes of Google, and therefore more likely to gain a higher ranking in search results.

The How: Encouraging Customer Reviews

You understand the importance of customer reviews to your business — now how do you actually go about building a library of authentic reviews? Consider these three tips as you start out:

1. Keep your reviews authentic.

Instead of paying for reviews or incentivizing positive reviews, take the time and steps to get your real customers to leave honest reviews. This will be much more meaningful in the long run.

2. Utilize social media.

Social media tools can be extremely helpful in galvanizing your effort to gather customer reviews. Utilize social listening to see how you can best engage with current customers.

3. Keep it simple.

Be patient in walking your customers through the review process. At the same time, make sure that the steps to leave a review are both obvious and simple. Directing customers towards existing review sites, such as Yelp and Google My Business, is a great way to do this.

Now that you know why encouraging customer reviews is important, and how to get started, you can get out and start engaging with your customers today.

Author Brooklin Nash

Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.

More posts by Brooklin Nash