5 Ways to Use Client Reviews to Grow Your Business

Good client reviews are a pivotal marketing asset that can be the reason a client prospect takes the next step with you or chooses a competitor. Both the quantity and quality of your reviews are important if you want to stand out and elevate your business.

When I work with clients to transform their digital presence through conversion-focused websites and tightly-engineered sales funnels, reviews are one of the first marketing collateral I look for.

Client Reviews

Why? Because 84% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. By focusing your efforts on client reviews, you’ll not only acquire positive reviews more often, but you’ll ensure they’re speaking directly to your prospect’s most pressing concerns. This generates instant trust and positions you as someone who offers a product or service that meets the needs of a prospective client.

In this article, I’ll share five ways to use and improve your reviews to grow your business. Let’s dive into the specific ways you can start improving them today.

No. 1: Exceed client expectations

The best way to ensure you get a good review is to exceed your clients’ expectations. The experience your client has with your brand is the number one variable that will lead to a quality review.

This is good news because the barrier for creating a memorable experience, rather than an average experience, is quite low: make sure your client feels important and pay close attention to the details.

How to do this varies by service or product. For example, one of our clients in the services space sends out their book with other introductory material in the mail. A product-based business sends a handwritten note from the founder, and a thoughtful email sequence about maximizing the value of what they’ve purchased.

By exceeding expectations at each client touch point, your standard of service is more likely to lead to positive client reviews.

No. 2: Know the right time to ask for a review

The second way to improve your client reviews is to ask for them at the right time. A common mistake businesses make is asking for reviews either too early or too late.

If you went to an amazing concert six months ago, you’re likely not telling others about it today. As time passes, you forget the details of a particular experience and are less likely to share that experience with others. If you ask too late, your clients will have forgotten key details and moved on.

On the flip side, asking too early may make your client feel rushed and unable to articulate their experience. They may feel like they're being used for marketing collateral when they haven’t even received their final deliverable.

So, when is the best time to ask for a review? Most agree between seven to 30 days is a reasonable window following a purchase or the completion of a project or service. Marketers refer to this as the “honeymoon” period when clients are experiencing the benefits of choosing you and are most likely to be excited and want to share this feeling.

This process of requested reviews can be automated and consistent. I tell my clients to consistently ask for reviews by baking into their internal process after a project is completed or a purchase is made.

No. 3: Make it easy for clients to submit a review

The client review process must be simple, offer easy how-to direction, and use automated tools. You won’t get positive reviews if the process is complex. Only unhappy clients will wish to put in excessive effort. Here’s how to set up a review process that encourages happy clients to share their experiences with your brand.

If you tell your client to simply “leave a review,” you’re not giving clear direction and are making the process confusing. Is it easy to find where to leave a review and how to enter the review? Too many business owners make their clients navigate to the review site, then search for how to leave a review. Make it manageable by offering an automated review process sent to an email or direct message.

Aim for three questions maximum and offer an estimate of how much time it will take to fill out the form. Will it take 30 seconds? Will it take 90?

One of my favorite review tools is using custom Google, Yelp and TrustPilot links that take your client directly to a pop up where they can instantly write a review and award a rating. Here’s an example of what it looks like on Google. Notice how simple it is for your clients to click a link and instantly leave a review.

Google Review

No. 4: Prompt clients to be clear, specific, and relate to core problems

We’ve all read a review that while positive, did nothing to move us toward a buying decision. Reviews that say “they did great” or “it was excellent” may sound good on paper but do not give helpful information to potential clients considering your product or service.

These general reviews often happen when a business hasn’t been specific enough in its request or given detailed direction regarding what it is looking for in a review. Here are tips on how to get a good review as well as how to get a useful review that addresses an issue or problem.

How to get a review that’s clear and specific:

I advise my clients, when they request a review, to focus on asking questions that will garner specific, relatable, and unique reviews. Let’s showcase examples of questions that helped a graphic design business get a detailed review.

Here are examples of the type of detailed questions they asked:

Question: How had you tried to solve your need before finding us?

Question: What specific concerns did you have before choosing us?

Question: What would you tell another business owner interested in our services?

Here is an example of a detailed answer:

“We looked at several other options and considered cheaper alternatives. But the way they treated us from the first call and listened to our needs … we were impressed. After receiving the first round of design concepts, they were patient with us every step of the way until we arrived at an end product that we’re thrilled to prominently display.”

How to convert issues or problems into a review opportunity:

If you encounter an objection from a prospect, use this as an opportunity to create a specific review that addresses their particular concern. Ideally, ask them to write it. This will make them feel heard and understood as they continue to see your business as a trusted solution.

No. 5: Leverage good reviews to attract clients

Client reviews are a means to an end: the growth of your business. Acquiring reviews is only the start of that process. How you use the reviews is key to converting the review into a sales asset. Here are some ways to do that effectively.

Dedicate parts of your website to client reviews

In my article about the 5 Web Pages Any Small Business Website Should Have, I highlighted ways to feature client reviews and testimonials across various parts of your site. Too many websites only use a tiny portion of their real estate for reviews. It’s a good idea to dedicate at least one page to reviews.

For example, here’s a client in the wealth management space with a page on their site titled “Testimonials” that exclusively focuses on reviews, including text-based and video reviews. Both the quantity and variety of reviews boost their overall effectiveness.


Showcase reviews in emails and social content

Client reviews shouldn’t be static and limited to one place. These assets can be creatively deployed across a business’ touch points, including website, sales or landing pages, email marketing, social media, and specific review-gathering platforms such as Google, Yelp, Trustpilot, etc. Showcase them across various touch points and get creative with turning them into marketing collateral in the content channels you use.

For example, here’s a client who uses TrustPilot reviews and showcases them directly on their website. Instead of assuming their prospects will seek them out, they’re choosing to speak to them where they already are.

Trustpilot Reviews

Other clients have used their reviews in their paid traffic and social media ads, as well as email sequences.

Convert reviews into text, audio, and video format

Consider converting reviews into new formats that create new ways to build trust—and reach different audiences. You may be able to easily convert and use a review as a text or in an audio format. Or, if you’ve formed an especially productive relationship with a client, a video format may be possible. If your business involves live events, capturing video on-site is another option. Video, text and audio assets deployed as carousels, trailers, voiceovers, fifteen-second “stories” on social media etc., are all great options.

Here’s an example of a client in the health and wellness space utilizing their reviews creatively with a video “trailer” format.

Video trailer review

How to get client reviews when you’re starting out

It’s possible you’re a new business with no reviews. If so, one of your first priorities should be to accumulate your first three to five reviews.

If you operate a service business, this may mean you’ll do a project at a lower budget than normal to get momentum. You could also ask peers to recommend you and use those on your website as a placeholder.

Another tactic could be to run a simple giveaway that requires your new audience to leave a review. Regardless, acquiring those first reviews are pivotal and will set you up for success long-term.

The bottom line

As a business owner, it’s important to invest time, energy, and resources into getting excellent and ongoing client reviews. Think through the type of reviews that will address any questions or concerns a potential client may have. Then set up a system that will automate the process.

By doing so, you’ll stand out in any crowded marketplace. You’ll make a memorable first impression. And you’ll position yourself as an expert, allowing yourself to charge premium rates.

This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the independent freelancer listed as the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
Article Author
Jeremy M.
Expert Vetted
San Antonio, United States
Digital Marketing
Email Marketing

Read more from Jeremy McGilvrey