One of the questions we are asked most frequently is “How do I gain more reviews of my business online?”
The first thing you have to understand is that reviews should never be about your ranking. Reviews are used to gauge your performance and make improvements where necessary. If you only look at customer reviews as a way to boost your business online you aren’t utilizing them to their fullest potential.
Whether good or bad, a review should be used as an indication as to how well your business is performing and every business owner should be aware of the reviews they are receiving. Responding to reviews is also critical. No matter the context of the review, a response from the business or it’s owner is always beneficial. It’s show’s potential customer’s you are not only in tune with their needs but attentive and willing to take constructive criticism.
So how do you gain more reviews for your business in hopes to better your performance and grow as well as attract new customers?
- Be Available Everywhere Online: What we mean is that not everyone prefers Google or Yelp. By having consistent and robust profiles online in various places (citations) where customers frequent, you stand a far greater chance of gaining the reviews you want. Nothing can be more bothersome to a customer than being asked for a Google review if in fact they are not a Google user. People choose to spend their time in various places, and by positioning yourself where they browse you are more likely to be seen and reviewed. The good news is that with the exception of Yelp (due to pending lawsuit) that Google now shows reviews from various other sources around the web such as MerchantCircle, CitySearch and more.
- Ask about your performance: There’s nothing at all wrong with asking for the review. If, of course it’s done in the right context. Don’t ask your customers to leave you a “Good Review Online”. Instead let your customers know after the sale you would like them to rate your performance or provide you with feedback to help you grow and perform better in the future. Advise them that you exist in various places online (even providing a list for them) and let them know you would like to hear from them. The key is to making your customers aware that your intention isn’t about your online ratings or even your ranking, rather that you simply want to know how well you did, or didn’t do. Your customers will not only be impressed that you care enough to ask for feedback but be more likely to do so.
- Citation & Website Stickers or Banners: You want your customers to know where you exist online so they can review you, so how better to let them know where to find you online than displaying logos for websites your business exists on. You can find various places online that offer stickers from some of your favorite sites such as Google, Yelp and more. Displaying them in a prominent location, such as the front door or lobby of your business helps customers recognize where you exist online and leave reviews on their favorite sites. If your business doesn’t have a physical location or storefront you can also download logos of the sites you exist on and place them on your businesses website. Most sites offer free banners specifically for this that you can place anywhere on your page to guide customers to the site and gain the feedback you are looking for.
- Send an email blast: Most businesses collect email address in any number of ways (if you aren’t you should be) to reach out to their existing customers or prospective buyers interested in their product or service. Email is not only a cost effective way to reach consumers, but is also able to be tracked. Create a compelling email blast, preferably with a catchy graphic and witty headline that compels users to open the email and click through to leaving you some great feedback. Emails can be set up to link directly to any number of your profiles specifically or provide a list of various resources. Consumers check their email multiple times a day and sending an email is a cheap and easy way to get their attention.
- Create printed review materials: Sometimes customers need a little reminder that you’ve asked for a review of your performance. There’s nothing that says you can’t provide that little hint. A great way to do that is by giving them a take away, such as a business card or mailer that simply asks them to “Rate your performance” to help you perform better. Create a business card with a simple headline and listing of logos of the various places they can rate you. Let the customer decide where they would like to leave the review based on their own personal online habits. The review will find it’s way to you. Many businesses have mailing lists as well. Sending out a mailer is also a great way to let customers know you are looking for their input and where they can send it. People spend some much time online they often block out emails, banners and other requests that are not directly solicited or sought. By sending a piece of mail or handing someone a takeaway card of some sort can sometimes be the perfect way to reach them.
Now that we have given you a few ideas of how to generate reviews for you business lets touch briefly on the do-not’s of online reviews:
- Don’t ask for “Good Reviews” – ask for feedback on
- Don’t create fake profiles for the purpose of leaving reviews.
- Don’t buy reviews from any resource online.
- Don’t offer to trade products or services for positive reviews.
- Don’t leave any reviews without a response no matter the
Follow these simple rules for online reviews and your business will see the impact as you learn more about what your customers want, how they perceive you and what adjustments you can make to improve. A business that constantly makes performance improvements lasts where others often fail.
View your reviews as a learning tool and your success is sure to improve exponentially.