Your branding is what’s going to tell your customers everything they need to know about who you are and what your business stands for. It’s also what makes you recognizable amongst your competitors. That’s why so many businesses spend thousands of dollars to work on their branding and boost their marketing campaigns.

Some of the most recognizable companies spend up to 58% of their revenue on marketing, which is all aimed at building up their brand and generating more business.

But what if we told you that some of your best brand ambassadors come for free?

What is a Brand Ambassador?

By definition, a brand ambassador is any person who has engaged with your business before and had a good enough experience to comment on it. Regardless of your industry, you already have brand ambassadors.

VoIP companies can view their contracted customers as brand ambassadors. Doctors can use their long-standing patients as brand ambassadors. Retail stores can use “VIP” members as brand ambassadors. The bottom line here is that anyone who repeatedly does business with you and seeks your services is having a great experience. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be returning time and time again.

These are the people who you should be reaching out to for their feedback. Since they already enjoy doing business with you, they may have some valuable insight as to what you can improve or what customers are really loving. They’re also the best candidates to get online reviews from.

How Your Online Reputation can Impact Your Brand Image

Since your business’s brand is heavily influenced by your online reputation, it’s important to continually solicit online reviews. This is because the majority of your target audience, and potential customers, will be heading online to find who they want to do business with before they’d consider asking for a family recommendation.

No matter how great your website is, how sleek your logo is, and how good your marketing says you are, more people will trust what’s said in a negative (or positive) online review. And that’s exactly why your online reviewers can be used as ambassadors to promote your high-quality business services.

Think about these statistics for a minute:

According to Bright Local’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey, customers weigh what’s being said in online reviews heavily before making a decision. It’s reported that:

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 54% of people visit the business’s website after reading positive reviews

So, when someone searches Google for “best barber near me,” they’ll be given a local search results page. A blend of Google Maps suggestions and ranked web results, you want your business to be displayed highly on this page. After all, the top 5 results are typically the ones that potential customers will browse.

Google, and other search engines, use business ratings and reviews as a big factor when generating a search results page. They wouldn’t want to promote and display a “1 star” business when there are dozens of business rated above a 3.5.

Similarly, consumers will base their initial opinion of your company on what kind of rating you’ve received – especially since star ratings are displayed prominently on results page/ To best represent your brand at this early stage of the buyer’s journey, you’ll want to make sure that you have plenty of great reviews from your natural brand ambassadors – repeat customers.

How can Online Reviewers Represent Your Brand?

Now, if you choose to start using your online reviewers as brand ambassadors, that does not mean that you should completely cut your marketing budget and only rely on reviewers. View this tactic as a part of the bigger strategy that will build your brand over time.

Online reviewers are useful brand ambassadors because they have already taken the time to write something great about your company. Whether it was a quick, one-sentence review or a paragraph about how helpful your team is, you’ve made a good enough impression that someone took time out of their day to write to you.

If you’re using an online reputation management tool, you can send dozens of review solicitations out at a time. Many of these tools will allow you to first ask customers whether or not they’d recommend you to their family and friends. From there, they’ll be directed to a profile of your choosing to leave their review.

Once someone goes through that process, you can then pull quotes from their review and use that in your marketing and social media. Many businesses will use glowing reviews on their packaging or on their website to use social proof to demonstrate the quality of their company.

As more reviews come in, you can also begin to reach out to certain individuals and ask if they’d be willing to share a “success story” or come in for an interview that can then be used as part of your overall branding as well.

Since online reviewers are real customers who are leaving honest feedback, using them as brand ambassadors is one of the most organic ways to boost your company’s trustworthiness.

About the Author – Garrett is the CEO/Founder of RepCheckup, an online review management software used by businesses of all sizes. He has been helping businesses thrive through sales and marketing since 1999.