3 Ways to get More Online Reviews
Believe it or not, what a business posts on the internet is only half of their online presence. The other half is what people are saying about your company. Websites like Google reviews, Yelp, Facebook, etc. all have an impact on how a company is perceived. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure these online reviews are positive, and when they are not, having the know-how to respond correctly.
The impact that reviews have on your business is actually insane. But what if you don’t have too many reviews…or none at all? That’s why we’ve got three ways to get more reviews for your business.
Benefits of Online Reviews
There’s no way around it. Online reviews have become extremely influential. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these stats:
- 90% of consumers read online reviews (with 89% reading more than 2 reviews, and 15% reading 11 reviews)
- 88% trust online reviews when considering a business
- 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
- 86% of consumers will decide against buying from you if they read negative reviews about you online.
As you can see, reviews are widely used by customers to make buying decisions. It’s staggering just how influential they are when looking at these statistics.
Ranking in SEO
Not only do they impact your buyer’s potential purchase, they also impact SEO. The better reviews you get on certain online review platforms, the higher up you rank on that platform. You may not be ranking number one on Google, but you can certainly rank on a site like Yelp for your area! These sites are made for people looking to get the inside scoop on how awesome of an experience they can have with businesses like yours.
Getting online reviews will generate more attention for your business. More importantly, it will get the people looking for a business like yours to find you just at the right time. Hopefully, your reviews will put you in a positive light, and then encourage that sale. Even a negative review, when responded to the right way, can generate transparency and reliability to your business.
Here are some awesome benefits of online reviews provided by ThriveHive:
Social Proof: You can write top-notch content about how great your business is, but nothing is more credible than the approval of an actual customer.
Marketing Content: Reviews make for easy and effective content to share on your website or across social channels.
Holistic Viewpoint: Customer reviews offer insight not just into your specific product or services, but also into what the overall experience of engaging with your business is like.
Set Yourself Apart: Customers are more likely to write a review on our business if you stood out to them in some way, often mentioning things you may not have noticed yourself or thought to highlight to potential customers. Harness these small observations to set yourself apart from competitors.
Strengthen Your Brand Identity: How you respond to a review has just as much of an impact as the review itself, whether that review is positive or negative. Online reviews are opportunities to show your brand personality and integrity to the public.
Build Trust: No business is perfect and consumers value transparency, so a healthy mix of positive and negative reviews, accompanied by the proper responses on your end will earn you the trust of your audience.
Improve Rankings: We already mentioned this, but it’s worth mentioning again. Having positive online reviews can boost your rank and visibility on highly trafficked platforms such as Google and Yelp.
People don’t typically read just one review. They read multiple reviews to try and capture the full scope of what they can expect when working with your business. These reviews will without a doubt influence a customers trust, behavior, and engagement.
How to Get More Online Reviews
Obviously, online reviews are important – but how do you actually get them? We’ve got 3 tried and true ways to accomplish that goal.
Whether you want them to or not, people are going to write you online reviews of all kinds. Even if you have the best restaurant or product in the world, you won’t be able to please everyone all of the time. However, you can be proactive in addressing negative comments, and sometimes turn their experience with your company into a positive one. Of course, if you have a ton of positive reviews they will dilute the negative ones!
The first step of being proactive is to understand what should NOT be done. It’s wise to read up on review sites’ guidelines. Here is a summary of what most, if not all, of the online review sites tell you to steer clear of when seeking reviews for your business:
- Never offer payment or any other incentive in exchange for a review
- Never ask your employees, friends, colleagues, or family members to review your company
- Never review your own company
- Never negatively review a competitor or have anyone else do it on your behalf
- Never hire anyone to generate reviews for you from non-customers
- Never post reviews on behalf of customers – they must create the review themselves, using their own account on a review platform
Taking shortcuts like this will only hurt your business in the long run, and is actually illegal. Don’t fall into the risks and consequences of fake reviews and spam.
Besides understanding the guidelines, you need to understand who, when, and how to ask for reviews.
Who to ask for Reviews
Your satisfied customers! If you have provided an excellent experience for your customer, they will be more than happy to share that experience online in the form of an online review. You may not think of it in this way, but you will actually be forming a stronger relationship with that client by asking for a favor.
They are helping you by reflecting on how great your business was, and you get a stellar review out of it. It’s a win-win for everyone.
When to Ask for Reviews
Many people do not get reviews for the simple reason that they don’t ask for them! But, like with anything, there is a better time than others to get this done. Make it as quick, easy, and painless as possible. Try adding it in as a mandatory part of your process.
Be sure you are disciplined with providing your customers with awesome service on a consistent basis. That way, when the time comes to ask for reviews, you’ll be deserving of a positive one.
Social Media Today, general practices as a business to keep your customers happy throughout the whole process.
- Do a phenomenal job, not just an okay one, a job that’s worth noticing and remarking upon
- Do it on-time and for the price expected
- Respond quickly
- Be positive – no one likes a downer
- Streamline and simplify customer experiences – everyone is busy
- Empower and listen to front-line employees – they know first-hand the challenges your customers face and how to help them. Happy employees deliver better service
- If you screw up, apologize and mean it, and also offer to make it better
- Close conversations with leading questions like “Is there anything else I can help you with today” and “Did you get what you need? Are you satisfied”?
- Always thank customers for their business
- When the job is done, ask if the customer is satisfied. If the answer is yes and you have an established relationship with the customer, ask for a review. If the answer is no, listen attentively. Note your shortcomings and find ways to address them.
The more that you enact these practices into your culture, the more likely you are to garner positive reviews. So, set an example to your employees.
Possibly, the best thing to do is simply add asking for online reviews into your process wherever it makes sense. By making it a mandatory step in your process, it will help you remember to ask every time. It’s just another box to check off on your list of procedures with your business.
How to Ask For Reviews
Here are a few examples on specifically how to ask for reviews.
Ask Face-to-Face – There doesn’t have to be a forced interaction! If the opportunity arises and a customer gives you a compliment, you can express your appreciation and explain how helpful a review would be. Ask if you could send them a reminder with links to online review sites where your small business is listed. The easier you make it, the better.
Batch Email Requests – For those customers that you have not had an interaction with recently, try sending an email. You can create one email and send it to many customers at once. It may be less personal, but it is another way to connect with customers to get some reviews.
Personalized Email Requests – If you want to go the more personal route, sending personalized emails to customers can totally increase your engagements and get you reviews. Make them feel appreciated by reminding them of the work you guys did together, and how it turned out.
Make a List – No matter which email option you choose, decide in advance which customers you want to contact for reviews. Be strategic about who you choose for this. Only select people you feel are likely to respond, and respond well.
Pro Tip: Send out emails in small batches so you don’t get a bunch of new reviews on the same site around the same time. This may trigger a red flag, which might end up in the removal of the new reviews.
3. Be Thorough
Being thorough is similar to being proactive. Make sure you follow through on your plans.
Keep a list of people you have contacted, when you asked, follow ups, etc. This will help prevent asking customers more than once, which can cause them to become annoyed. It also will save you time and energy that can be used to find new customers.
Be thorough by providing guidance on how to leave an online review. Giving clear direction can help expedite the process, and lead to better reviews. Let them know they don’t need to spend all the time in the world on coming up with something. Encourage just a couple statements regarding their experience. (And of course, provide links to your relevant review sites.)
Thank them for their business and tell them how much you appreciate them taking the time to help you and future customers. Do the same when they actually write the review. Their experience with you does not stop when their service is provided. It is a constant relationship. The customers that you develop a strong relationship with will more than likely be a patron of your business again.
Pro Tip: If someone forgot to leave you a review be sure to follow up. If they said they would do so, and never did, they probably just forgot. Set a reminder to follow up with them about a week after your original conversation regarding the review. You’ll get more reviews if you check back in.
Wrapping it Up
In summary, strive to do a job so good that it is worth noting and remarking upon. Be wise and take a look at the guidelines that are on your preferred online review websites. Try to add asking for reviews to your standard process.
Don’t be afraid to reach out in face-to-face conversation, or through email. Make it easy to review your business by providing links for your customers. Follow up with a customer if they have not reviewed your site when they’ve told you they would. Lastly, if a customer leaves a review, be sure to follow up again to thank them for their time.
If you found this blog helpful, please let us know in the comments below! We release new blogs every Wednesday, so make sure to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to read them. Now go ahead and get those online reviews!