It’s no secret that online reviews are an important part of every business’ digital portfolio. A positive review serves three main purposes: it builds customer trust, helps with SEO, and boosts the website’s Google ranking. These advantages are something local businesses can’t afford to ignore, especially since we know that 92% of consumers read online reviews, and 88% of them trust those reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Now that we’ve established why reviews are important, how do we get them? There are a few ways:
1. Just Ask
Did you know that up to 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a business review if they’re asked to? If you need a couple of reviews to get started, the easiest way to get them is to ask your customers directly. Most people don’t mind leaving reviews, but they don’t always remember to do so. As long as your product is of satisfactory quality, people will be fine with giving you some feedback.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t wait too long, as customers are generally more likely to respond within a week of purchasing a product or service. As for what methods you should use, follow-up emails and on-site requests are always a solid choice. There are a lot of email automation software that can help you with automating a follow-up system. Additionally, if a customer compliments you via email or phone, let them know that you wouldn’t mind if they left that same feedback on Yelp, Trustpilot, or any other product review site.
2. Make the Process Easy
If your review form is filled with unnecessary fields, nobody is going to bother leaving positive feedback. All you really need from your customers is a name, a rating and the review itself. You can add an email address field for verification or contact purposes, but that one’s optional. The easier it is to leave a review, the more of them you will receive.
In keeping with this theme, you could also leave direct links to your review profiles. You can put those pretty much everywhere, but you’ll probably want to start with emails and newsletters. If you’re on Yelp, you can download their “Find us on Yelp” banners and put them on your website.
3. Use the Review Sites
Submitting your product to sites that specialize in product reviews is a great way of advertising your services. Unfortunately, we don’t have a complete list for you; since every product is different, you’ll need to do some research and find sites relevant to your product’s niche. For example, Lodlois.com is a review site that evaluates everything, from computer software to health products.
If your product belongs in a very specific niche, consider contacting some blogs that are related to what you’re selling. There are two reasons for this: a blog might not charge you for a review, and their dedicated audience is more likely to be interested in your product. If your product relates to health and fitness, LifetoLiveit.com will gladly review it for free.
4. Offer an Incentive
Generally speaking, most consumers don’t leave reviews unless they have a negative experience to share. In order to get some of your satisfied customers to give their feedback, you’ll usually have to offer some sort of incentive. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to achieve that, such as offering coupons, discounts or gift certificates in exchange for reviews. However, make sure your customers know that the offer is for writing a review, and not for writing a good review. Also, if you are an Amazon seller, know that incentivized reviews have been banned by the giant retailer.
Some of the more ambitious business owners could also try tacking reviews onto a rewards program. For example, you can reward your customers with five loyalty points for every review they write; by collecting 100 points, customers would receive $10 in-store credit. Tweak the numbers to your liking, and you could end up with a cost-effective system.
5. Thank Your Customers
If your website allows it, try to thank each person who reviews your service or product. This does involve monitoring your reviews relatively often, but you should want to know what people think about your products anyway. The easiest way to stay up to date is to make this a part of your daily routine. For example, you could take 10-15 minutes of your Sunday morning to check your website and respond to every review with one or two relevant sentences.
Additionally, you can surprise the top reviewer by sending them a discount code or some other prize after they’ve already posted their review. In a single move, a satisfied customer becomes a fan!