So, you wanna cash in on reviews & referrals for your business?

There’s no better way to grow your business than through word of mouth, referrals and repeat business.

Creating Raving Fans

Before I Tell You the Secret to Getting Amazing Reviews and Creating Raving Fans, Let’s Check Some Things Off the List

Let’s back up a bit.

Before you can get killer reviews, boost your standing on Google and Facebook, nurture word-of-mouth buzz about your business, or create raving fans who are just dying to tell everyone about your business and your product, you need to get your ducks in a row.

Let’s start with your product.

First Things First—Is Your Product Awesome?

Take a minute, step back, and think about your products and services.

Is what you are selling truly awesome? Is it worth shouting from the rooftops? Do you exceed expectations and earn those reviews and referrals?

If you can’t answer yes to every one of those questions, then stop now and fix your offering.

You can’t expect to win the praise and good word of your customers if you’re not selling a top-notch product or service.

Do You Have a Way to Collect Email Addresses?

You can’t expect customers to be excited enough about your business to leave reviews and refer their friends to you all on their own.

Although that would be nice, only truly world-altering products are going to do this organically. Most of us need to work just a little bit harder.

You’ll need a way to reach out and ask for the reviews that you need. Getting the customer’s email address during the purchase process is key—it gives you the ability to ask for a review down the road without being pushy or interruptive.

Do You Have a Facebook Page, Yelp Account And/or Google Plus Profile?

You’ve got an awesome product, and you’re ready to ask for the review.

However, before you can ask for anything, you need a destination—somewhere to send those happy customers to make their reviews.

Public reviews are far more valuable than feedback sent to your email or a form on your website. Just think about your own experience—how much do you trust a review on Facebook compared to a review on someone’s website (a platform they control completely)?

When you collect reviews through social accounts, those reviews are visible to the world. Reviews on a third party site (like Yelp or Facebook) lend more credibility than reviews you collect and display through your own website.

There’s also the added benefit of search engines “seeing” those reviews and using them as part of their ranking criteria.

The Pieces are in Place — Now Set Some Goals

You’ve got that ambition, you’ve got an excellent product, and the infrastructure is in place to ask for and publish reviews.

But do you know what you really want to accomplish by gathering these reviews? Having raving fans gives you all kinds of warm fuzzies, but you need solid goals.

Here’s a few I recommend:

  • Get Reviews to Build Brand Authority
  • Get Referrals
  • Get Follow-Up Sales

Spend a little time thinking about your past track record and how you can push yourself to do a little better.

How many new reviews, referrals and follow-up sales can you push yourself to get each week, month, quarter, and year?

Reviews alone aren’t necessarily the end goal—the real reason you want them is to encourage more business by showing potential clients and customers that you’re true to your word (and really do have the amazing product or service you claim to have).

Brand Persona

We’re getting closer to the actual process here, but do yourself a favor and DO NOT skip this part of the process.

To really connect with your customers at a level where they can’t wait to tell their friends and colleagues about your awesome products and services… you’ve got to have a strong brand persona.

People don’t connect at an emotional level with your product or your services — they connect with the persona (or human characteristics) of your brand.

Think of your brand as if it were a person. What kind of words would you use to describe it? Go for more than just “established” and “trustworthy.”

Think about characteristics that are more human than that. Maybe your brand is a little bit quirky, silly, or ironic. Maybe you’re inventive or young, maybe stately and refined. Whatever it is, try to make it fit both who you are and who your customers need you to be.

Use whatever factors motivated you into starting or joining this business to really flesh out those human characteristics — then infuse them into every interaction with your customers and leads.

If you want to be a super honor roll student, download and complete our Brand Persona Worksheet.

Social Media Plan

You’ve got a killer offering, fantastic services, a brand with real personality that your customers can connect with…

Now it’s time to ask for what you want.

I won’t even waste time telling you why social media is relevant to your business (and every business).

If you need be talked into jumping on social media, check out these resources here and here, and come on back when you’re ready to take advantage of the HUGE potential social media has for you.

Here’s the thing with social — you need to connect with your customer and you need to let them know

  1. You appreciate and love them
  2. You want to know how they feel (reviews)
  3. You need their help to grow (referrals)

Most of us don’t have the opportunity to interact with our customers on a day-to-day basis. Social media brings you right into your customer’s home, car, office… even their bathroom. (Let’s be honest, everyone does it!)

Asking for reviews and referrals should be part of your social media strategy.

Start with mixing these requests in at a very low ratio (for example one out of every 20 posts) and adjust that ratio based on the reaction you get over time.

And always, always ALWAYS respond to your reviews. Be they negative, positive, bland, or exciting — respond to your reviews.

Say thank you or ask how you can do better, but let your reaction be positive, sincere, and always make that first interaction public.

Build Out Your Brand to Get Them Raving

Let’s face it, there are brands that are boring, that no one cares about, and there are brands that excite.

People freak out when Apple puts out a new product. People lose their minds when Marvel announces a new gigantic superhero movie.

No matter how awesome your product is, if your brand is boring, it’s hard to get people raving.

Start by building an awesome brand, and the ravers will follow — just make a copy of our handy Creating Raving Fans Template and fill it out completely to start your journey towards an exciting, mind-blowing brand.