A great way to drive sales for your business in the digital age is to make your business more appealing online. And if you want to make your business appealing online, it needs to have a healthy amount of positive reviews from past customers.
If you're trying to figure out how to get more online reviews for your local business, this guide will walk you through the basics of online reviews and online reputation management.
Online reviews tell much more than just whether or not the person liked your product or service. They're a form of social proof. Whether they show up in your Google My Business listing (Google reviews) or on social media pages, they carry a lot of weight and influence buying/hiring decisions.
The more online reviews you have, and the better those reviews are, the more trust online consumers will place in your business. Social proof is extremely important these days. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendation from friends. According to a Bright Local study, 92% of consumers will hesitate to buy a product if there are no reviews left by customers. The same fact applies to services businesses.
Your online reviews present your potential customers with an inside look at the quality of your service or product.
Online reviews are powerful because they can make or break your business. If your business has very few customer reviews, you need get start 'yesterday'.
The first thing you need to do is to obtain email addresses from customers. If you have been collecting email addresses and have built up a sizeable list, you are ahead of the game. If not, you should start collecting them immediately.
If the customers are purchasing online, you can force them to enter their email addresses before finalizing their purchase. If the customers are buying in person, you can add a review request into your conversation, include instructions on the receipt, or include a QR code image, so they can easily scan and be taken to a review platform.
Collect customer email addresses by offering to put them into special drawings or a newsletter with special offers. Email newsletters are also a great way to stay top of mind with current and former clients.
Email is still the #1 online marketing tactic and has tons of benefits over other online advertising channels.
If you're looking for online reviews, email is a must! Do not rely on your customers to leave online reviews on their own accord. Typically, the people who want to leave a reviews without being prompted are the people who want to write a negative reviews. And do not rely on reaching out to customers only once every few months. While not all of your customers will do so, a decent chunk likely will.
You don't necessarily have to be strategic in order to get reviews for your business. In some cases, all you have to do is ask people to write a review.
If you feel like you had a good experience with a customer, just mention something to the effect of "we'd really appreciate it if you could review us online. It would help us a lot!" Having a business card with a QR code or even instructions will help prompt people to write positive reviews.
Another way to ask for reviews is to include a widget with links to review sites in your email signature. Many of the online review management tools, such as More Thumbs Up, provide you with the code to embed in your emails. If people are subscribed to your monthly email newsletter, it will be a constant reminder for them to write reviews. You can always just add text with a link to get Google reviews or Facebook reviews, as well.
Again, not everyone you ask will review you. But you're bound to get some reviews from at least a few customers. If you ask for a review, you are also more likely to get more positive reviews.
If your business website gets good traffic, you could use it to ask customers about giving you reviews. Just post something to the effect of "Review Us!" and place the icons to popular review sites underneath. Make sure the icons are clickable so that customers can review you as easily as possible.
"Review Us" buttons are also effective. If you are using WordPress as you CMS, there are plugins to request Google reviews and other social media platforms.
This is sure to nab at least a few reviews over time. And because it's posted permanently on your website, you only have to do it once.
If you have an ecommerce store, not only can you follow up with an email to leave a review, but you can request the review on the redirect landing page after checkout.
Our last tip is to utilize social media. Assuming you have a following, you should be able to get at least a few of your followers to review you online.
Now, you could just ask them outright: "Please leave a review for us!", with a link to the review site posted. Or, you could pose a question inquiring how customers feel about your business.
For instance, if you run a roofing business, you might ask how customers feel about your roofing processes. Or, you could ask how they feel about different material brands. Tell them to answer on a review site, and, with any luck, you'll obtain some new reviews.
Another thing to consider is where to get online reviews. There are tons of online review sites out there, but not all online review sites will be good for your business. The best online review site depends on what industry you're in and where people who would want to leave a review can find you.
Google My Business is the best source for online reviews regarding local businesses. Google My Business is Google Reviews. Google reviews show up on Google searches and Google Maps. The only downside to Google reviews is the fact that you need to have a Gmail account and be logged in to write a review. However, since Google pretty much owns the world of search, Google reviews are a must for any local business.
As for online reviews in general, Yelp is a great online review source to get reviews online. This online review site covers all categories and features reviews, photos of establishments, tips from locals, and more. They also offer different service packages (for a fee) that can help you get more online reviews and improve your online presence. Be careful with Yelp, though. It can be a double-edged sword. Yelp tends to push negative reviews to the top. One way to combat this is to make sure you have a ton of positive reviews. One or two negative reviews are washed out when you have 100's of positive reviews.
Facebook should not be ignored either. If people are likely to "like" your page, there is a chance they will write a review on Facebook.
One of the challenges small businesses have when it comes to getting customer reviews is time the whole process takes. There are online tools to automate much or most of the reviews process, but you still need to put time into learning the tool, setting it up and just using it. Luckily, marketing agencies like ours, offer Review Management services. We can manage the whole process and start getting you positive review immediately.
Reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook can boost your online presence, as well as build trust with potential customers. And if you have a ton of positive online reviews, consumers will be more likely to purchase from you.
By utilizing these tips, you're sure to start improving your reputation online and driving more sales. So, set these tips into action and watch your sales soar.
Need someone to help you with review management? If so, we here at Engaged Digital can assist you.
Contact us now to get the ball rolling!