In the first part of this article, we addressed where online business reviews come from and how to manage negative reviews. In this segment, we address one final question:
“How do I get more positive online reviews?”
Dealing with bad reviews is important, but an equally (if not more) crucial concern is acquiring more good reviews. After all, a mountain of good reviews easily overshadows a mound of bad ones. To get more reviews, you’ll need to tap the source: your customer base. Here are four simple strategies for getting your customers to review your business online:
1. Ask in person
Regardless of what type of business you have, the simplest way to get your customers to write online reviews is to ask them in person. Naturally, it’s best to wait until the end of the service, and only if the customer is satisfied. The only problem is, even if a customer agrees to leave a review, chances are high that they’ll forget or neglect to follow through. That’s why you should also…
2. Ask via email
Following each service or transaction, send a follow-up email to the customer and invite them to leave an online review. Since the customer will already be at their computer or smartphone, the chances of them following through are much higher than if you ask in person.
Of course, to send emails to your customers, you’ll first need to acquire their email addresses. There are many email collection strategies, such as including a designated field on your order forms, offering to email copies of receipts/invoices and starting a customer loyalty program. Comment cards and survey forms can also create opportunities.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when asking customers for reviews via email:
Make it easy. Minimize the amount of steps your customers have to take to leave you a review. You can do this by including direct links in your emails. Here’s how to create a direct link for customers to write a Google review:
1. Search for your company on Google.
2. On your company’s Google listing (the large info box on the right), click “Write a review.”
3. When the review box pops up, copy the URL in the Google navigation bar.
4. Paste this URL in your email. When the customer clicks it, it’ll take them directly to this pop-up box. (Side note: Consider using a free URL shortener like bitly to turn your long URL into a condensed shortcode—it looks nicer.)
Less is more. While there are many review sites out there, you should only include one or two links per email. You don’t want to bombard a customer by requesting reviews for eight different sites.
Know when not to ask for a Google review. Since a Google account is required to write a Google review, you should only request them from Gmail users.
Don’t ask for Yelp reviews. Yelp’s spam filters have a tendency to remove reviews from one-time users, so unless your customer is a regular Yelper, it’s likely to be a wasted effort.
3. Utilize social media
On your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts, periodically post calls for reviews. Example: “Love our service? Leave us a review!” followed by one or two links to review sites. You can also share positive customer reviews on social media—just be sure to make it about the customer and not only about your business.
4. Offer incentives
To sweeten the deal for your happy customers, offer incentives for leaving reviews. For example, you can offer to give them 10 percent off their next service or pledge to donate $10 to a local charity for each review you receive.
We hope you’ll take advantage of these strategies for increasing your business’ online reviews. If you missed the first part of this article (which features guidelines for managing negative reviews), you can read it here.
Want to learn more about managing your business website? Read our other blog posts.
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