Online reviews can be difficult to get from your customers. But, with 92 percent of consumers now reading online reviews, generating them is no longer an option.
For many businesses, the only time they get online reviews is when disgruntled customers go online and voice their discontent.
For others, employee contests, printed cards, and other creative measures may yield a few reviews a month but nothing to jump around about.
The problem is, in order to really scale and collect enough reviews to make a large impact on your company's online presence and local SEO, you need to collect 10+ reviews each month. In addition, you need to make sure they are of high-quality.
That is, your customers are giving your business high ratings.
The good news is, with a few easy tweaks to your business processes, you can be on your way to collecting upwards of 20 or 30 reviews each month. By following these 3 steps, you can increase your local SEO, expand your brand recognition and trust, and of course, collect more online reviews.
1. Ask Your Customers for Reviews
This is one of the most overlooked ways to boost online reviews. You can get fancy, create cards, signs, or whatever else you can drum up, almost nothing beats asking.
The process is very simple. Towards the end of their visit to your place of business simply plant an inquiry similar to:
“We are so glad you came in today. If you wouldn’t mind leaving us a review on a site like Google, Facebook, or Yelp, that would be awesome! Those reviews help us know how we did today and let others know whether or not you enjoyed your experience”.
Play with your pitch -- you’ll find something that works for you. You’ll also find that people are more willing than you might think to provide you with feedback and reviews -- they just need to be prompted.
2. Send Customers to the Sites With Which They’re Most Familiar
Asking for reviews is a great starting place. But, you need to be sure you’re asking for reviews on the sites with which they’re most familiar. This will help increase the number of reviews you receive since they’ll likely be logged in to leave you a review.
Another major benefit of sending them to familiar sites is that your prospective customers are likely using the same sites.
Customer demographics is a real thing and you’ll find that 80 percent of your customers use 20 percent of the review sites out there. Be sure to make those review sites a focus as you’ll want to have as many high-quality reviews as possible to persuade prospective customers to visit your business.
One quick way to find the review sites your customers most commonly use is to simply look at the number of reviews you have on each site.
Start with the Big 3: Google, Facebook, and Yelp
Use a spreadsheet to record how many you have on each site (keep this as a living document to continually update), and determine the 3 main sites you’d like to send happy customers to.
When deciding, keep in mind that review sites like Google impact your local search engine optimization (SEO), and sites like Facebook and Yelp can appear in search results.
3. Deploy Online Review Management Software
Asking for reviews and sending customers to the right sites is a great way to get your business well on the way to collecting 10 or more reviews each month.
But, for those that are looking to really boost their online reviews and collect 30, 40 or 50+ reviews each month, online review management software may make sense.
An effective online review software will allow you to generate new reviews, manage reviews, and be alerted when new reviews go online. Depending on your customer demographic, it may even make sense to ensure you use a software that focuses on generating reviews through mobile devices.
These types of software usually see review completion rates around 15x higher than traditional email-based invites. This is largely due to consumers checking their phones about 110 times each day compared to their email inbox about 15 times.
The bottom line is: if you really want to boost your online reviews, pony up and get an effective software. The ROI will more than be there if you commit to using the tool you choose.
While generating new online reviews may seem daunting, the truth is it doesn't have to be so difficult.
Once you decide how much of a priority reviews are for your business, you can choose the steps you’d like to take to boost your online reviews.
For me, and many other marketers around the world, online reviews are a relatively inexpensive way to market your business. In fact, they are arguably the most effective marketing tactic for small business relative to what you’d spend for other mediums.
Related Article: So You Had a Bad Day: How to Handle Negative Online Reviews
If done correctly, you’ll be able to boost your online reviews, local SEO, and online reputation with not much more effort than you’re currently putting forth.