From Yelp and Yahoo to Facebook and Google +, there are an increasing number of opportunities for customers to review your business online. Why do these online reviews matter? For starters, over two-thirds of consumers consult these reviews when deciding which business to use, so it’s important that yours is well represented by past customers. Having a decent amount of reviews also raises your search engine placement, making it easier for potential customers to find you in the first place! Boost the number of your business’s online reviews by following these do’s and don’ts:
Do make it easy.
Even if a customer had a wonderful experience with your business, that doesn’t mean they want to take time and effort to figure out how to review you. Do your business a favor by making it easy for the customers to find you online. Include direct links to each review site everywhere you come in contact with the customer. Add these links to the bottom of emails, newsletters and customer receipts. Create a widget on your website that allows customers to click through to the site and leave their review. Customers who have had a bad experience with your business are the only type who usually are willing to spend the time tracking you down online to leave a review. If you don’t make it easy for all customers to find you, you run the risk of only these negative reviews appearing online.
Asking for a review should be incorporated into your normal routine with a customer. Brick and mortar store? Hand your customers their receipts and remind them to share their experience online. E-commerce business? Include a standard message in a purchase follow-up email asking customers to leave feedback on a list of provided sites. In either situation, be sure to phrase your request as a request for a review, not a good review. Customers do not want to feel pressured in any way, so encourage honesty in their rating. It’s important to note that Yelp discourages soliciting reviews, and suggests business owners avoid directly telling customers to leave a review on Yelp and instead saying “check us out on Yelp.”
Do use tools.
Now that you know to ask and make it easy for customers, it’s time to learn about the tools available to help you do so. The Review Biz tool will help you add links to each review site to the top of your business’s website so customers can easily access them. Review Push allows business owners to create a custom email campaign to solicit reviews, with an option to prevent any negative reviews from being posted publicly on the review sites. This website also feeds all of your business’s reviews into one location, allowing you to easily monitor and respond.
Don’t get discouraged if increasing your online reviews leads to negative feedback mixed in with the positive. Negative reviews offer business owners the unique opportunity to directly respond to a bad experience on a public forum. Show the other readers how well you handle criticism and reply to this negative feedback with a sincere message apologizing and promising to improve in the future. Although you may have lost the customer who came on just to trash your business, you have the chance to win over potential customers who are reading reviews and seeing how you react.
Don’t fake it.
There are a lot of marketing companies who offer fake reviews as a service. This may seem like a great idea, but do not take the easy way out when it comes to online reviews. Not only will websites like Yelp most likely be able to tell that these reviews are not legitimate, but consumers will, too! Businesses that have dozens of overly positive reviews are an immediate red flag to a smart consumer. Plus, the online review market is evolving to combat these fake reviews. UpDog, a new review app, aims to cut down on fake reviews by asking users to leave videos as their reviews and checking into the location they wish to review through the app.
Have you found a way to motivate customers to review your business online? Share your trick in the comments below!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community