From planning big vacations to selecting household cleaners, online reviews likely play an important role in your decision making process. Like you, your target market wants to ensure that businesses check out before handing over their hard-earned money.
Much of the success of Amazon, the world’s third-largest retailer, can be attributed to the number of reviews they’ve accumulated on various products. So how can you follow the lead of retail giants like Amazon? By building up your business’s online reviews!
Benefits of Online Reviews
Builds trust in your business.
When it comes to online reviews, faith in humanity prevails. According to a survey by BrightLocal, consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business – and that’s up from the 6 reviews it took in 2016.
It’s clear that the more positive reviews there are online for your business, the more likely potential customers will be to trust that you’re credible.
New ideas for additional applications of your products.
Most people won’t take a chance purchasing a product for anything other than it’s intended use. The few that will can really boost sales if they leave a review.
Instead of relying solely on the images and uses outlined in your product description, consumers can take a look at reviews to see what others have done. This can also give you ideas for new ways to market your products.
Aids search engine optimization efforts.
What better way to integrate your top keywords than in reviews? A customer can certainly say your bicycle repair shop is “the best bike repair shop in Portland, Oregon” without seeming spammy. Strategically choose reviews that include keywords to highlight on your main website pages.
How to Get Online Reviews
So what is the secret to getting online reviews? Ask for them!
If you fear this approach will come off as desperate or pushy, you’re right that it certainly can. That’s why it’s important to put some thought into your strategy ahead of time.
Ask in person.
This may not be possible for businesses who operate strictly online, but if you’re lucky enough to have contact with customers face-to-face, make the most of it! The more time spent by the customer with a member of your business, the higher your chances are of receiving a review.
Take car dealerships, for example. Whether it’s a positive or a negative experience, car dealerships don’t usually have a difficult time getting reviews. Between test drives, trade-in assessments, and price negotiation, the salesperson has plenty of time to build rapport and a connection with the customer.
Even if you don’t spend much time with customers, you can make up for it with quality. A friendly smile and helpful attitude may be all it takes to earn a glowing review.
Create profiles for your business on multiple review sites.
When a customer has an experience with your business that stands out, they may proactively search for your business on their favorite review website. If they’re unable to find you there, you can’t count on them making a new profile just to leave a review on whatever website you are on.
Make it easy for them! Spend an afternoon creating profiles on popular consumer review websites. Remember to keep information like addresses and phone numbers consistent on each platform, inconsistencies can raise red flags for search engines and even hurt SEO.
Some websites you may want to consider depending on your business:
There’s a fine line between incentivizing and buying reviews… Take care not to cross it.
Search engines like Google even have bots patrolling for bogus reviews. If they identify one, they will remove the review and it’s only a matter of time before they establish a new penalty for such situations. Not to mention all the review websites that already have punishments in place.
Offering the right kind of incentives can be of great benefit to both you and your customers. The key is to request all reviews, not just the good ones. Besides, how do you feel when you read 100% positive reviews? No business is perfect, and a perfect score can actually raise suspicion.
Extend a small incentive, or offer monthly giveaways to encourage online reviews without purchasing them.
Request a review via email.
It’s pretty easy to have an email sent out automatically to each customer following a transaction. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one who thinks so. This route is the least personal and also the most popular.
To increase the chances of your emails being read, give email subject lines some extra thought. Personalize, personalize, personalize. Using the customer’s name should help, although this approach is no longer foolproof as it is increasingly utilized by businesses.
Not sure what to write? Use this sample template to guide you:
Thank you for choosing [Your company] for your recent purchase. We truly value your business and hope that you are 100% satisfied!
Do you have feedback? Please share your experience with others!
- Leave a review on Facebook
- Leave a review on Google
Thanks again, hope to see you again soon.
If possible, send emails from a personal email address and use that person’s name in the signature. Don’t worry about spending time and resources designing a special template – it turns out plain old text performs better anyway.
How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews
If you’ve ever received a negative online review, the moment you discovered it isn’t likely to be one you’ll forget. Heart sinking, anger boiling… Why couldn’t they have simply contacted your business instead so the issue could be resolved?
Instead, we invite you to look at this from a new angle.
Negative online reviews can actually be used to your advantage!
That’s right. A recent study revealed that 30% of customers look to see responses from businesses to online reviews, naming it their top consideration when judging a business.
If you’re already typing away a scathing response as to why the reviewer is mistaken – pump the brakes. Even if the customer is completely wrong, we all know the golden rule of business: “The customer is always right”.
Try something along these lines:
We are so sorry to hear you had a poor experience with our business. At [Your business], your satisfaction is our priority and we would love the opportunity to make this right!
Please contact our customer service team at [Email or Phone] and we will get this squared away ASAP.
[Employee name] from [Your business]
If this doesn’t lead to a resolution in which the customer revises their review, it will serve to show potential customers that your business is there for them if an issue arises.
Marketing and a stunning website template can certainly do wonders for your business, but customer satisfaction is ultimately the key! Use these tips to showcase your commitment to customer service and grow your business to online.