Online reviews are critical to the success of your small business. These tips will help you get more reviews from happy customers.
In this day and age, online customer reviews are a critical part of the success (or downfall) of any small business. According to the Pew Research Center, 82% of U.S. adults say that online reviews play at least some role in their decision-making process when purchasing a new item.
So you know online reviews are important, but what’s the best way to go about getting more of them? We’ll explore five tactics below.
First thing’s first. Customers need to have a place to interact with your business online before they can begin leaving reviews. Claiming your business on Yelp and Google lends your business an air of authenticity because customers know they’re posting on the official page and that their reviews will be seen by the business owner. Registering your business on Yelp allows you to see how user views and customer leads are being influenced by visits to your page, and claiming your Google My Business listing means you’ll show up on search results on results pages and Google Maps.
You should also create pages across the social media platforms that are most relevant to your business. In that same Pew study cited above, 39% of adults said they’ve shared feelings about a company on Facebook, and 86% did so after a positive experience, so make sure you’re creating the opportunity for your customers to praise you in a public venue!
Whether your business is online or brick and mortar, you should be collecting email addresses from your valued customers so you can stay in touch. Once someone has purchased a product from you, reach out to solicit a review. People are often too busy to carve out time to write a review on their own. Sending an email a few days after they’ve received their product will spur some to write a review who otherwise wouldn’t have. Consider using a platform like MailChimp to help keep your email marketing organized, so you never miss an opportunity to follow up with your customers.
People are often happy to help a small business owner by leaving a positive review when asked, but they don’t want to search for places to leave feedback. It’s up to you as the business owner to make it easy for your customers. If you have a website, include links to your Facebook, Yelp, and Google pages where customers can leave reviews. If you have a brick and mortar store, consider putting up a “find us on Yelp” sticker to let customers know you also have an online presence.
If you’re soliciting reviews via email, provide links as well. Remember: not everyone has an account on every review platform; be sure to provide a variety of platforms on which customers can share their thoughts so they can select the one that’s easiest for them.
Sometimes even happy customers need an extra push to write a review. Offering an incentive to those who review your business online, like entering their email address into a monthly raffle or a discount on their next order, can give some people the push they need to leave a review.
But you want to be careful not to cross over into the territory of offering incentives specifically for good reviews. Online reviews are supposed to help you increase trustworthiness, and if word gets out that you’re paying for positive reviews, it will erode any goodwill. It’s important to accept the reviews as they are: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
When a customer does leave a review, thank them! Whether it’s writing a public response to their Yelp post or sending a special promo code to use the next time they do business with you, taking that extra step to show gratitude for your customer’s feedback will help build loyalty.
This is especially true when you receive a negative review. It’s easy to get defensive when you see someone publicly post something negative about your business. But you should instead think of this as positive—an unhappy customer has made their feelings known, so now you can do something about it! Reach out to that customer and ask what you can do to turn their experience around. Personally invite them back to give you a second chance. Sometimes the customers that you win over after a negative experience become the most loyal ones you’ll have.
Creating a strong online presence for your company is critical in today’s digital world. Online reviews can increase visibility and drive traffic to your business, so you want to be sure you’re taking advantage of all the internet has to offer a small business owner. Following these steps to generate online customer reviews can help grow your business and ensure your continued success.
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