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Reviews and referrals are the lifeblood of a business. In a world that is dominated with the internet and freedom of speech, it is absolutely essential your business actively seeks and encourages feedback from your clients.

When I first started running a business I was scared of reviews. Imposter syndrome kicked in. “What if they say something negative?” was the question that played over in my head on repeat. 

The fact is, you can’t ignore reviews. It is pretty effortless to submit a review to any number of websites for the world to see, so you better be prepared to receive them (whether you like it or not!)..

13 years since starting my first business, I cannot wait to get reviews. Firstly, I’m confident in the services and products my business offers and secondly, I’ve received enough positive feedback from previous clients to overcome the imposter syndrome I experienced all those years ago. 

The tables have now turned. I cannot wait to get reviews. They reinforce my desire to continue running my business, to keep delivering amazing experiences for my clients and customers. I now actively seek out reviews and remove the friction involved for my customers and here’s how.

Which platforms should you use to collect reviews

Over the years I’ve focussed primarily on two review channels – Google and Facebook. There are obviously other platforms but I went for the two that are most popular (or certainly were at the time). Also, as I mentioned above, we want to remove friction when asking people to do things for you. Most people these days have either a Google or a Facebook account, or both, so already we’re removing obstacles. 

In a world of search culture, having the following pop up when someone Googles my business is absolutely invaluable:

How to collect your reviews

I collect reviews in a few ways. The first and most powerful is in the follow-up email I send after each trip. In this email is usually a photo of the whole team at the beginning of the trip and a congratulatory paragraph. After this I ask “can you do me a massive favour”. The reason I ask this question is because I am asking them for a favour. I’m asking for them to take time out from their busy life to write about their experiences on my trip. It may not take a lot of time, but it’s still time. I’ll then include a special link that automatically opens the review pages, again making it as easy as possible. I’ll also include links to some more photos from the trip and a few links back to my website about potential future trips. However, getting the review links at the top of the email is really important in our distraction era!

I’ll also post links to my review pages on social media but I haven’t found this to be as powerful a strategy and is more difficult to measure.

How to manage your reviews

I have a spreadsheet called Testimonials. It’s simple and looks like this:

The columns are basic – my client’s name, the trip they were on and what they had to say about it. I’ve then organised them into a tab for each year. This means that if I need a testimonial or review for social media or to promote a particular trip, I can easily access positive content to include.

How to use your reviews

Using the spreadsheet, I simply copy the text and name over into image editing software or into text for a post or email. Including the name of the customer is vital, sometimes I even use a photo of the person whilst they’re actually on the trip. This social proof is incredibly powerful as people want to relate to people who have already been there.

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