How to market your design business with reviews
In this blog I will be breaking down how you can market your design business with reviews, using testimonials to boost your digital profile. Reviews are no longer confined to simply deciding your next meal out, or figuring out whether that product from Amazon looks the same as it did in the photo. Used shrewdly, they maximise the impact of your business online, and here I’m going to show you exactly what they are good for and, more importantly, how to use them.
Why Reviews are Good and Why You Should Use Them
Traditionally, reviews reassure potential clients that you are an expert in your field and a trustworthy service or trader. A compliment from a happy customer gives your work credibility and new clients the confidence to choose your services.
The amount of reviews accredited to your business will give your company a further layer of integrity. Keeping a catalogue of happy customers indicates experience in your field, the sheer number of reviews expressing that people keep coming back.
Digital media now gives the power of reviews an extra value, advancing their reach so that they provide an additional marketing service. Careful placement of reviews across the web will increase the visibility of your business and entice more consumers to browse your goods or services. Links created on partner websites and review site directories will also benefit your SEO.
Where To Use Reviews
So now that we have established how fantastic reviews are for proving credibility and drumming up new business, let’s take a look at the best placements for your winning references.
The first step is to integrate reviews onto your own platforms. You can control which testimonials are highlighted where, and use them to boost the impact of your content. Use all of the channels you have available. Posting reviews on your website, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, will ensure you are reaching as wide an audience as possible.
When integrating reviews on to your website, be sure to make them super visible. Whilst it is great to have a page dedicated to testimonials for clients to have a scroll through, the best reviews should be present on your main pages, displayed in alignment with your brand and product. Check which of your pages get the most traffic and seamlessly weave reviews into your site. Add a stand out review to your home page, or some glowing testimonials which are specifically relevant on your services page.
Your Social Media Channels
Social media as a platform for reviews, is more visual in general. The best way to catch the attention of people scrolling through their feeds, is with an eye catching image.
For Facebook and LinkedIn create graphics in line with your branding to showcase your reviews. Here is one I made earlier:
Take a more subtle approach when posting reviews on Instagram. Instagram is a visual medium that likes you to post images of interiors. Rather than posting text graphic posts of reviews, which could distract from the focus of your feed, follow these tips for sharing on the platform:
- Post a picture of the project and put the testimonial from the homeowner in the caption. The image of the finished project will complement the review, whilst keeping your feed looking fabulous!
- Use a text graphic of the review in the same post, but as the second swipe. Branded graphics can be used to make the review stand out, and also the swiiping keeps viewers on the post for longer.
- Share graphic testimonials on your stories and collate them all into one highlight. Use this as a mini testimonials page on your Instagram. Viewers can swipe through all of the projects and their reviews in one go.
Reviews posted search engines, such as Google, are a great way to reel in fresh clientele and market your design business. Use these large scale platforms to access a broader audience, and build your presence across the web.
For reviews on Google, first ensure you have a Google My Business account. This will allow you to monitor your presence across the site. Direct your clients to your Google page to write reviews to build up your profile. Adding the reviews to your profile will help you to be found in local searches for your field. You can then monitor these using the Google My Business account – it’s that simple!
Interior design websites, such as Houzz UK, Homify and the Decorcafe, are another great outlet. Prospective clients browse through these platforms, looking specifically for design businesses. Having strong testimonials will make your business stand out amongst the other services.
It is particularly important to have reviews on Houzz, as having reviews pushes your profile up the rankings of businesses in your area to be more visible to homeowners looking to hire a designer. The higher your rating, the better your exposure. It will also help you get found in Google searches such as “Best interior designer in Brighton”. You can test this right now by typing in the same query with your own nearest town or city and you’ll see Houzz is usually at the top of the list.
Getting reviews from Houzz throughout the year is really important, best of service badges are awarded annually, based on the amount of good reviews you obtain throughout the year. Once you have three reviews or more, you can also place the reviews widget on our website. This updates automatically as clients leave new reviews. Here’s my reviews widget which I can place anywhere on my website:
Home Decor companies selling large quantities of goods should consider integrating Feefo or Trust Pilot into their website, adding an extra layer of credibility. These services gives you the opportunity to build the review process into your customer journey. They also seamlessly automate review requests once an item is purchased. The reviews also create a more engaging user experience by adding photo or video reviews to help tempt new buyers, whilst social proof helps to increase online conversions.
Consumers are more likely to buy from a peer recommendation, review or user generated content than a brand’s advert. This is why influencer marketing and review sites are so popular. Additionally the strong SEO of these platforms helps to make you more visible online. When customers are looking for validation on a product they have in mind they will now specifically search for reviews on that product. Sites such as Feefo allow your products to appear more often in those searches. The Feefo 5 star rated table lamps, for example.
Printed Marketing Material
Let’s not forget that not all marketing is in the digital sphere! Go old school and integrate reviews onto printed materials. Consider the size and format of these materials carefully. Design is a visual media, and so much of what you do relies on visual representation. Small, one-liner reviews could work on a business card, but if you are an interior designer or owner of a creative business, you may find that a more visual card has a bigger impact. Having a larger format will allow more room for visual designs. Postcard sized cards that can be delivered door to door or given to estate agents if you’re a home stager would be great! Cementing your top reviews onto these, would be a sure fire way to create a bigger impact on potential customers.
How to get the Best Reviews
Whilst it is all good and well to have the perfect placements, in order to market your design business with reviews, we need to take a look at the content of the reviews themselves.
There is a significant difference in good reviews and the best reviews. Good reviews will give you compliments on your work, but the best reviews will quantify the results that you achieved. Take this review from one of my lovely clients, Fleur Ward, for example:
‘Fiona was so helpful during my power hour. She talked through helpful hints and tips regarding appearance on Instagram, how to follow up and generally improve my social appearance to attract followers and send traffic to website. I have already seen an improvement on both of my accounts. Highly recommend’
Fleur highlights specific positive points from my services. She also gives a quantifiable result from the power hour; an increase in followers. The review gives browsing prospective clients confidence in my abilities, and an indication of what I could achieve for her.
But how to obtain these reviews? Although you cannot actually write the reviews yourself (if only!), there are some great ways to ensure that your client is writing their review so that it remains honest, whilst giving you the best reference. Firstly, ask your client for a review as soon as possible after the job is completed or the product purchased. This way the project is fresh in their mind and they are able to give more detail. Prompt things that worked well, such as completing the project in good time or sticking to the budget successfully. Guiding the client gently through the review process will ensure the reviews are as impactful as possible.
So there you have it! Reviews are not just compliments for your brand, but a solid marketing tool that could be used to reel in new business. Follow these tips to market your design business using reviews, and improve the digital presence of your brand. If you need help setting up Houzz or putting systems in place to get great reviews from your customers, contact me.