Today, more than ever, customers put their money where the word-of-mouth is. One survey showed that a stonking 90% of customers base their buying decisions on positive online reviews. Ninety per cent! And, another found that 52% of consumers said that positive reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
Reviews also help boost your website’s visibility, by improving your SEO and boosting your Google ranking. So how can you encourage more reviews? Here’s what we tell our customers.
Step 1. Set yourself up to receive reviews
On your website:
Create a Testimonials page (or we can do it for you) that allows you to display customer reviews, glowing praise, or inflated hyperbole. Make sure the page includes space to display all the reviews, and an online form customers can use to submit their own. Set up the form to send the reviews over to your email address. Don’t auto-publish reviews straight away! You need to read them before they go live, to make sure there’s nothing you need to discuss with the customer first.
On Google My Business:
Your Google My Business listing is what people see when looking for businesses on Google Maps, or in the list of local businesses that appear in results. Reviews on this boost visibility of your reviews and helps your search ranking!
On social media:
Create Business Pages on social media. Whether you choose FaceBook, Twitter, Yelp, SnapChat, Instagram, Pinterest, TripAdvisor or LinkedIn, base your choice of site on where you feel your potential customers prefer to hang out.
Step 2. Use cunning ploys to encourage more reviews
Experts say that customers are WAY more likely to leave a review if it’s requested as soon as the work is completed. That’s when they’re on a joyous high and want to shout your name from the rooftops. You can increase the number of reviews even more if you bring up the subject before the work is complete. When you’re taking the client’s details, ask them, “And can we count on you to leave a review afterwards? It’s just some expert online said it was good for our page-rankings…” By getting them to agree early on, it becomes (unconsciously) part of the agreement between you.
Make it easy
REALLY easy. If I’m asked to leave a review, I want to be taken to the right webpage immediately, or I’m distracted by something shiny and the moment’s gone. Aim to make leaving a review a one-click process for your customers, or they’ll never get around to it.
Easy options are:
- Send an email link to your Facebook Page, Google+ page, or testimonial page on your website;
Send customers simple, clickable links to sites where they can leave a review there and then. You can add this onto a standard email, or send it separately a couple of days later. This is generally how Amazon encourages customers to leave reviews, and it’s probably the simplest method. Including some brief instructions in your email helps people too – our customers can ask us for a copy of what we send out, to help them.
- Generate a QR Code with links to all your Review pages;
If you don’t email your customers, you’ll need an easy, offline way to give your customers online links. We recommend creating a QR (Quick Response) code for free, that customers can quickly scan to bring up all your Social Media links. Print your code onto your business cards or loyalty items (like mugs), embed it in your website, or place it on the wall of your office reception, or have it tattooed onto your forehead. It’s a quick, one-click job for customers to scan the link and leave a review. Here’s one we made earlier that will take customers straight to our Facebook reviews section. (Feel free to use it, by the way.)
Offer an incentive
Being offered an incentive to leave a review can prompt happy customers into action. Unhappy customers need no incentive – they will walk through fire to tell the world about you. But incentives work for everyone else. Obviously don’t offer incentives only for positive reviews, or nobody will trust a word said about you! Try simple things like:
A prize draw
Every month, enter all the reviewers’ names into a prize draw, and offer a gift voucher or small prize (like a bottle of good wine, or something relevant to your business) as a prize. This is how many restaurants encourage reviews.
Offer every customer who leaves a review a 10% discount on their next order.
Reply publicly to every review
Customers get a buzz from feeling associated with companies they admire; when you reply to their message, they feel like they’re “in”. This is especially true of famous corporations like Ferrari and Harrods, but it also works for smaller businesses too. Take time to reply to every review with a friendly, personal message. This will encourage other customers to speak up.
Promote your reviewers
Encourage reviewers to include their website address in their review, and always include it in your testimonial page. It’s good publicity for both of you. Similarly, share reviews through your social media, and link back to them. This also helps to discourage negative, anonymous reviews.
We hope you’re soon awash with praise. And if you need help with any other aspect of your online marketing, get in touch with us here at SiteBites.