Nearly 70 percent of internet users read online reviews when researching businesses they are considering working with. Furthermore, 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews almost as much as personal recommendations. In other words, if positive online reviews about your business aren’t readily accessible you’re missing out on business.
So how do you actually get reviews? Here are some helpful (and easy-to-do) tips:
Make it easy
People generally feel little motivation to leave a review in the first place, let alone are willing to jump through hoops of fire to do so. If you haven’t done so already, take 10 minutes out of your day and sign up with a review website like Google Business or Yelp.com
Once you “Claim Your Business Page” and verify your listing you’re ready to start getting reviews. Be sure not only to add social media buttons to your website, but into your email signature as well.
87 percent of small businesses do not ask their customers to post reviews. It seems obvious, but asking customers who use your services to leave you a review is important not only for the reviews itself but also for the SEO value of a verified listing with positive reviews.
Keep in mind that not every customer is a good customer to leave a review. You likely want to request a review from a client who you go above and beyond for or if they express how incredibly impressed they were with your services.
Regardless, keep engaged with your customers. A good way to do this is to send a follow up email about your services. And if they agree to leave a review, but don’t, send them a gentle reminder a week later.
Don’t buy, but do incentivize
Paying people to write good reviews seems like a smart idea, but it’s likely to come back and bite you later. That being said, offering incentives – coupons, discounts, referral offers, contests – can be a great motivator for people to get on their laptop or smart phone and type out a sentence or two.
The key with incentives is to make sure you’re not asking for good reviews. Rather, you’re seeking your customer’s honest option. And incentives don’t have to be exclusive to your customers. If you have staff to work with, make reviews a part of their work. Offer bonuses or whatever works for your specific business to employees who get customer reviews.
Respond to reviews
Positive or otherwise, thank your customers for leaving a review. You can’t erase negative reviews, but Yelp and other sites allow you to respond to customers and do a certain amount of damage control in the case of a less than positive review.
Finally, be patient. Choose one or two sites and focus your attention on building up your reviews slowly rather than en masse. Take your time and invest yourself to show customers that you really do appreciate their feedback and their business. A bunch of reviews that show up all at once will trigger filters, reviews that arrive organically over longer periods of time are much more valuable.
If you’re interested in generating positive online reviews for your business as well as gaining additional SEO value from your third-party reviews, check out the Big Tuna’s unique program, Review+.