Reviews can drive organic web traffic to your site and help you increase revenue. Learn some easy ways to get good customer reviews.
Well, the overall concept of getting reviews is simple. You simply have to ask.
The real question is how to ask.
The way you get good reviews is just as simple: provide a great customer experience.
According to this American Express survey, a happy customer tells an average of 9 people about their good experience. In contrast, consumers tell 16 people if they have a bad customer experience. Yikes!
Now that we have established that you have to provide a great customer experience as a prerequisite, let’s talk through some ways of getting good reviews for your small business.
First, a quick note: some review sites, like Yelp, officially discourage businesses from asking customers outright for reviews. Instead, they prefer businesses use language like “Check us out on Yelp!” or sticking a badge on your window that reads, “People love us on Yelp!”
While these methods will not drive as many reviews, it may help you stay in the good graces of the review sites.
With that caveat addressed, let’s dive into some methods for getting reviews for your small business:
Ask at the right time.
The best time to ask for customer reviews is after the completion of a successful customer interaction (e.g. a week after a shipment from your company has arrived). Email the customer and politely ask for a review on a specific site.
Use language like, “If you are enjoying the product and our service, please leave us an honest review on Google Places/Amazon/etc. If you have any concerns, let us know and we will do our best to give you 5-star service.”
Invite key players or members of your target market to opening night or offer a free [massage, adjustment, 25% off coupon, etc.]. If the event takes place at a physical venue like an art gallery or restaurant, go around and ask everyone if they’re having a good time, and to please leave a review on your favorite review site.
Better yet, if you have everyone’s email address, you can reference this conversation and ask for reviews the next day.
Better yet again, personalize the email and send it individually. “Hey Clark” is a much more effective opener than “Dear Visitor.”
Interview customers and put it on YouTube.
This is great method if you have a brick and mortar business, or a business where customers come to see you.
If you find that a customer was very happy with your service, he or she is likely to be willing to help you out. Ask some trusted customers if they would be willing to take five minutes the next time they come in to do a quick interview. Set up a space with a decent camera and microphone at the ready and just ask them a couple of questions about why they like your services.
Once you have 5-6 interviews, you can hire someone to edit the video and slap it on YouTube. BOOM! You have real social proof of actual human beings talking about how great you are. As a customer, I would take that any day over a bunch of text reviews left on a website by people whose faces I never see.
Include prominent links to customer review sites in your email signature, Facebook page and business homepage.
The more opportunities you give your happy customers to see this call to action, the more likely they are to heed it. You might just catch them at a time when they are in a helpful mood and they have a few minutes to spare for you.
Conduct an online survey.
The benefit of this is that you can cherry-pick testimonials for marketing materials like landing pages or mailers. The downside is that these reviews are not usually made public, and are not specifically tied to a public rating.
However, customer surveys are a great way to find out what is going on with your business and where you can improve or offer better value to your customers.
Put QR Codes on the backs of business cards, or on stickers or decals or in the box with your product.
Set these QR codes to redirect to your review site listing. You can also include little inserts in packages or send out separate postcards asking for reviews on your preferred review website.
Ask those who have left customer reviews to review you on other sites.
If someone gave you a good review on Google Places, ask them if they wouldn’t mind posting something on TripAdvisor, since you get a lot of traffic there too.
Be delicate with this technique. Don’t be too pushy, and only do this with customers you have a good relationship with. And next time you interact, it couldn’t hurt to throw in a little something extra or give them a 10% discount just because.
Print out explicit instructions on how customers can leave reviews.
Your Google Places listing can drive traffic and revenue, especially if you run a local business. Give customers step-by-step instructions on how to leave a review. Since Google is by far the biggest search engine, those stars that show up next to your Google listing can be highly important.
Use this technique to get lots of honest feedback and make sure your Google ranking stays near the top for your industry.
With some of these less than obvious review-gaining tactics in mind, get out there, provide a great customer experience, and ask people to rate your business.
The more customer reviews you have all over the web, the better your traffic will be, and the faster your business will grow.