Positive feedback from happy customers cultivates confidence and, ultimately, boosts sales. In fact, a recent survey showed that 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations; more than half of those surveyed said they’re more likely to use a local business based on positive online reviews.

Why? Well, for potential customers, endorsements eliminate some of the mystery shrouding what it’s like to do business with you. They paint you and your company in a more credible light. Including endorsements (aka testimonials) on your small business website -- not to mention in other forms of marketing -- can work wonders for building your business.

How do you collect customer endorsements?

1. Make the ask.

At the most basic level, all you need to do to collect feedback from your customers is ask them for it. But be creative. For example, you could keep a stack of simple feedback forms next to a bowl of treats on the checkout counter at your store (if you’ve got a physical location).  If you’re shipping orders to repeat customers, follow up with a personal phone call to thank them -- and ask if they’d be willing to share their experience via an easy form on your website. Make the ask to happy customers you’re engaging with via social media. Research shows that about half of social network users respond to requests for feedback.

2. Add a feedback link to existing customer communications.

If you send emails to your customers, such as monthly newsletters or surveys, include a link to a feedback form on your website. Consider adding that link to your email signature. And be sure to include it on your business’s Facebook page and other social media platforms.

3. Leverage local review sites.

Business review sites like Yelp® and Angie’s List™ are go-to spots for would-be customers to check out your business in advance. So it’s important for you to keep tabs on your business’s reviews, respond promptly and professionally, and share positive feedback on your website with a link back to the original source.

Pro tip: Endorsements that include photos or, even better, videos, make a huge impact. It never hurts to ask happy customers if they’ll consider including a photo or video snippet with their testimonial.

Where should your endorsements live?

Because they carry so much weight, customer endorsements merit a dedicated page on your website. Select three to five of the most inspiring endorsements -- including at least one with an accompanying photo or video -- to showcase on your Testimonials page. Take extra care with spelling and grammar because studies show that poor grammar and spelling errors detract from a business’s credibility.

In addition to a dedicated Testimonials page, you might highlight an especially dazzling endorsement on your website’s About page or even your Home page. Offline, you can include great endorsements in newsletters, ads and printed marketing collateral.