Getting more online reviews for your business is easier than you think. Here we show you exactly how to do it, and how to leverage those reviews go grow your business even more.
You're a genius (of course). But you don't have to be one to know that getting online reviews is important for your business.
The research alone tells you that. Consider these stats:
- 92 percent of consumers read online reviews either regularly or occasionally.
- 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 40 percent of consumers develop an opinion about a brand after reading 1 to 3 reviews.
Clearly, as a modern business owner, a large part of the success of your operation rests on your reviews.
The only problem is that, outside of the restaurant and hospitality industries, getting reviews can be tough.
Here we cover strategies you can employ to get more online reviews, as well as what technology you should use to automate the whole thing. This will ensure you get consistent reviews and build a sustainable brand.
Use Multiple Review Sites
You may just want to get more Google reviews. But you benefit from setting up a profile on other review sites, like Yelp, Facebook, or more niche-specific sites depending on your industry.
When you have a presence on numerous sites, you have more chances to build your reputation.
Obviously, the sites you choose should be applicable to the type of business you run. Look through some of the most popular online review sites. And then choose three(ish) to focus on.
Ask Customers for Reviews
This sounds simple. What you must first understand is that there is a right (and wrong) way to do it.
The wrong way is doing things like incentivizing customers to give only positive reviews. Offering discounts or rewards for a good review is a bad business practice.
There are numerous ways to ask for reviews, including in-person at purchase and via email follow-up. When executing the strategy, honesty is the best approach.
For instance, if you run an appliance store, and a sales associate helps a customer pick out the right washer, that sales associate can ask for a review after purchase.
The employee should not say, "Give us a good review on Google!" Instead, it should be explained to the customer that honest reviews help others and provide the correct perspective on the company.
When you're proactive about asking happy customers to post reviews, the large majority of those reviews are going to be positive (4 or 5-star reviews).
Incorporate Getting Reviews into Your Business Process
When the importance of getting reviews is understood at every level of your business (from the executive office to the sales and service staff), the volume of your positive online reviews will increase.
Top-level executives need to clearly communicate the importance of reviews throughout the organization.
To return to the appliance store example, the sales associate must be motivated to make the after-sales pitch for a review. If your awesome meeting room speeches aren't doing enough, make the motivation more tangible. Offer bonuses or other incentives to your employees for getting good feedback.
Another reason why this is important is because you want to be getting reviews consistently.
Your business requires a fresh profile. Getting a lot of reviews at once, and then none for a while, looks fishy to fake review filters.
Also, reviews older than a few months aren't very relevant to potential customers.
Having a plan, as well as using automated technologies to help, can ensure you consistently get customers to leave feedback and post reviews.
Make It Fast and Easy
Time is precious. And the fact is that many customers just aren't going to go out of their way to write a review. So, you have to make the process simple.
For example, if you are hoping to get more Yelp reviews, you can easily add a "Find us on Yelp" sign at your store, or place a review badge on your website. If you do lots of email marketing, add a link to your Yelp page in those emails.
Host an Email Campaign
One of the easiest ways to get more reviews for your product or service is to host an email campaign. Simply draft an email informing your customers that you're taking feedback on their experience to further enhance your product/service.
Ask them to share their experience directly in the review form or direct them to a survey and ask if they would like their answers to be posted – you'll be benefiting in both these scenarios.
The only catch is that you need to design the campaign in a way that adds value to your customer’s life. They'll only actively participate if there's something in it for them, too. So, make sure you show them how you plan to use their feedback for their benefit.
Run a Contest
Running a contest can be a little tricky, especially because review sites like Google and Yelp don’t encourage businesses to offer incentives in exchange for reviews.
For example, if you're running a wedding jewelry business, ask your customers to share their wedding jewelry shopping experience with you and announce that the most wholesome, heart-touching story will win a gift voucher or freebie.
Once the users start participating, ask them if they'd like to share their review on your preferred review site. If the prize interests them, they'll surely share their review.
Collect Reviews In Person
You can ask your in-store customers to write a brief testimonial right after their purchase so you can post it online.
This is a popular tactic used by restaurants that offer both online delivery and dining experience. You'll often find restaurants handing you a questionnaire along with the check right after you finish your meal. It generally has a box underneath for you to leave a testimonial.
Also, this goes beyond just restaurants. You can opt for the same tactic if you have a small grocery mart, or an art gallery — pretty much any service that entails customers spending time in your store, such that they're exposed to the "experience" you provide. Truth be told, the bulk of your testimonials will be about this experience — your staff’s courtesy, timelines, etc., and not just about your product's quality.
Respond to Negative Reviews?
Not every review you get is going to be stellar. Some may be frustratingly bad. After all, some research suggests that people are more likely to write a review after a negative experience than a positive one.
Don't try to hide or make excuses for these poor reviews.
Transparency is highly valued in today's digital era. Also, realize that an estimated 20 percent of Yelp reviews are fake. Companies and customers are getting better at spotting and filtering positive fake reviews.
Don't worry if you have a few negative reviews: it actually makes you look more legit.
If you're the more proactive type, you may want to respond to those who left a bad review because it may change that customer's mind about your product or services. If it doesn't, others will still see that you took steps to solve the problem. That shows your dedication to your customers.
However, despite the common advice you may hear we don't recommend that everyone respond to negative reviews publicly.
If you can't take a complaint with a "customer's always right" approach, then responding publicly to a negative review may not be for you. In this case it may be better to not respond at all and let your positive reviews counteract what's written in the negative reviews.
Regardless, nothing will serve you better than getting a consistent stream of positive online reviews to counteract the occasional negative ones.
This is where an automated service can be huge for you.
Use Automated Services
Sure, you can do the heavy lifting of manually managing your entire online reputation and review strategy, but you have a business to run and only so much time on your hands.
Thankfully, technology is making it increasingly easy to automate many business processes, like collecting online reviews.
ReputationStacker is an automated tool that streamlines the whole process of getting more positive online reviews and customer feedback. The system also gives you clear reports and data so that you can manage your entire online reputation in one place.
When using ReputationStacker, all you have to do is enter the customer's email address or phone number into the system. Then, ReputationStacker sends the customer a one-question survey. If the customer is happy with your product or services, he or she will get sent to the review site of your choice. This makes the whole process incredibly simple.
Keep it Simple
The last, yet most important, tip is to keep it simple when it comes to getting more online reviews. On top of that, if you make the reviewing process troublesome, your response rate will drastically go down.
Make sure you keep the process simple and short. Ideally, your customers should be able to review you in just a few clicks!
Building a Great Reputation and Going Forward
Getting honest and consistent positive online reviews is key to building your online reputation.
To accomplish this, you need to spread out your presence and build a culture where getting reviews is a business priority. By asking customers at the right time and simplifying the process, you'll get more and more reviews.
To make the whole process as efficient as possible, use a tool like ReputationStacker. This will ensure that you consistently get positive online reviews and grow your business.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.