Online reviews are important – even if you run a business that doesn’t have a website or social media page. Online reviews build reputation and authority, and can be the difference between converting customers or scaring customers away.
But can you incentivize reviews? Can you give an incentive for a Google review?
The short answer is usually yes – incentivized reviews can be an effective way to build your online reputation, improve your overall service, and earn some loyal customers along the way.
At the same time, however, they are not entirely necessary – and we will explain why.
In this short and simple guide, we go through what an incentivized review is, how to incentivize reviews, and, lastly, how to get reviews effectively and organically – the best way.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
What Is An Incentivized Review?
Firstly, what exactly is an incentivized review?
An incentivized review is an online review that a customer has given in exchange for something that benefits them.
While it might sound like a bribe, the truth is it is more of an encouragement that benefits both the business and the customer. It’s also a way of saying “thank you” – not just for leaving a review, but for being a valued customer.
Incentivizing reviews can be done in a number of ways. And we have provided some examples below.
Can You Offer A Coupon For A Review?
Coupons can be a great way to incentivize reviews. By simply leaving a review for your service, your customer receives a coupon, feels valued, and can look forward to enjoying your service once again.
Coupons, vouchers, and even small freebies, can all help to drive business – not only to get more reviews, but by turning regular customers into loyal customers who will be happy to return time and time again.
Can You Offer A Discount For A Review?
Similar to offering coupons, discounts can be another way you can encourage your customers to leave a review. It feels personal and, at the same time, expresses appreciation.
Offering discounts in general for return customers, or even new customers, is a proven method for driving more business. When offered in an exchange for a review, it is a simple, friendly gesture from which both parties can benefit.
A Few Important Things To Keep In Mind
Incentives offered for reviews must be the same for all customers (whether their reviews are positive, neutral, or negative) in order to comply with FTC guidelines.
It’s also always recommended for reviewers to disclose that they received an incentive for their review. Most review sites and regulatory bodies expect this from reviewers, and not disclosing the incentive may be a risky move for your reputation. But as we mentioned earlier, you don’t need to incentivize your customers to get them to write more reviews…
How To Get Reviews – The Best Way
Incentivized reviews can help you to get more Google reviews – even Yelp reviews and Facebook reviews – but it is not the only way.
In fact, it’s not even the easiest way. And aside from software that can help you to get reviews (yes, these exist – more on this below), we have listed three ways for how to get more reviews here:
Put The Customer Experience First
It’s a simple concept: the more satisfied the customer is, the more likely they are to leave a positive review. This is why it’s always important to put the customer experience front and center of your business.
By simply providing the best customer experience that you can, you can effectively get five stars in your reviews in a way that’s organic and completely hands-off.
If you have a company ethos or a few set brand values, this can also help to improve customer service as it aligns and inspires staff to provide the best customer experience possible.
Encourage Customer Reviews
At some point, you might have wondered how to ask for a review when it comes to communicating with your customers.
The fact is, it is more effective to gently encourage your customers to give you a review than to directly ask for one.
A simple “if you are happy with our service, we’d love it if you’d post a review” from your staff is a friendly, non-demanding way to encourage a customer to leave a review. Presented this way, it is more of a reminder or suggestion than a direct review request.
The same goes for online reminders, including follow-up emails and subtle encouragements both on your website and across your social media platforms.
Learn From What Your Customers Are Saying
It’s important to learn from what your customers are saying, both in-person and online. This valuable feedback is crucial for improving your overall service, meaning happier customers who are more likely to leave you a review.
In-person comments, “how did we do?” surveys, and online reviews are essential for finding out what your customers think.
And you can use these to your advantage. You will find that the more you listen, the more you will find out about how your business is doing and where you need to improve.
How To Deal With A Bad Review
Another frequently asked question around online reviews is how should you deal with a bad review?
In the digital age, online bad reviews are inevitable. The problem is that they stick out like a sore thumb unless greatly outnumbered by positive reviews.
The first thing to do is to not ignore them. And, when you get a bad review, it should be your goal to convert the unhappy customer into a loyal customer.
Acknowledging negative reviews is crucial. And it should be done in a friendly and professional way that does not just express an apology, but also the initiative to improve and change that customer’s mind about your business.
It’s also worth mentioning that replying to bad reviews can work wonders for your reputation: it shows others that your business cares for its customers as well as the service it provides.
Get More Reviews With ReputationStacker
Incentivized reviews are effective, but also require you to put in the legwork. If you want to get more reviews quickly and organically, try ReputationStacker.
It’s simple. And all you have to do is put your customers’ emails or phone numbers into ReputationStacker’s private & secure system.
Your customers are then invited to a short survey about their experience, then directed to the review sites of your choice to post their review.
ReputationStacker makes getting reviews easy for businesses. And it even provides a review streaming tool for websites, regular data reports, and automated notifications for each new review.
Not sure? No problem, ReputationStacker also offers a 14-day free trial so you can discover how it works.
Ultimately, you can incentivize reviews, but it’s really not necessary, especially when you use a system like ReputationStacker that makes it fast and easy for both you and your customers.