3 Proven Methods to Get More Online Reviews
An easy step-by-step guide.
These days, getting 5-star reviews on sites like Yelp, Google Local and Facebook is absolutely essential to growing a local business. Those that are able to get more reviews enjoy a variety of business boosting benefits, like:
- Getting Reviews Boosts Your Rank in Google...
Recent research by MOZ shows that as much as 13% of your rank in local search is determined by the number of positive reviews. Considering Google's goal of showing its users the most relevant results for their query, it makes sense that they'd prioritize listings with high reviews from others.
- Getting Reviews Boosts Your Conversion Rates and Sales...
Recent research published on Semantic Scholar researched thousands of reviews on Amazon to find out what review characteristics had a positive impact on sales. They found that the quantity and content of the reviews were most important. Having lots of reviews, mentioning nice things about the product (regardless of the star rating provided) increases the number of people who go from being casual visitors into customers exponentially.
In this short article, you're going to learn the top 3 ways to ask for and get more customer positive online reviews than you've ever had before. This process is proven to work, and if you take the action steps included with each tip, you'll be blowing up on review sites like Yelp, Facebook and Google Local--and getting more business as a result!
Review Boosting Tip #1: Be a Customer Service FANATIC
Setting up a few simple processes for collecting reviews is by far the easiest and fastest way for you to grow your local business. The fact that you're here reading this article shows that you're already on step ahead of the competition. Most small business owners and their marketing teams focus so heavily on getting new customers through the door, that they forget how important it is to have a plan for what happens after the customer makes that first purchase!
Getting more positive reviews online starts with adopting a policy of customer service fanaticism at every level of your organization. You and everyone who works at your business should always be asking yourselves: "how can I excite, delight and satisfy our customers today?".
Get this right, and you'll find that customers will leave more reviews without you even asking them to. They'll be so thrilled with the amazing service you provide that they'll rant and rave to their friends about how awesome you are. Treat your customers right, and they'll become word of mouth marketers for you everywhere they go.
Happy customers spend more money, and stay loyal to the brands they love. By reducing your turnover rate, and increasing your customer lifetime value (the amount of money, on average, that a customer will spend with your business), you are making better use of the time and money you spend on other marketing methods.
Don't just think about it, BE about it!
Take action right now, and you'll be one step closer to growing your business.
Write down 5 ways you can excite, delight and satisfy your customers after they make their first purchase with you. Every customer wants to feel valued and cared for. Give your customers a personal touch, and show them that you're the kind of business owner that pays attention to details.
A nice personal note welcoming to your business, a small inexpensive but unique gift, or access to a private group on Facebook are all ways you can make new customers feel welcome in your community. Write down 5 things now, and implement them right away!
Review Boosting Tip #2: Automate Your Review Collection
You've probably heard the old adage "closed mouths don't get fed."
This is especially true when it comes to asking your customers for reviews. Your customers may love you, and be totally thrilled with the product or service you provide, but if you don't ask them for a review, how are they supposed to know you want one?
The best way to collect reviews, with as little effort as possible, is to automate the process with email automation. For this, we recommend ActiveCampaign. Setting up review request emails in ActiveCampaign is quick and easy, and they integrate with many popular content management systems and payment platforms. Here's some best practices for setting up auto-emails...
- Send the emails from a real person.
Use your name, or your manager's name to send emails. Do this, and you'll get a huge increase in open rate, click through rate, and responses. People are naturally drawn to the names of real people. Sending from your business name is impersonal and will likely get passed over.
- Make your email feel personal.
Your automated emails should look almost exactly like non-automated emails. Use a variable to include your customers name (easy to do in most email marketing platforms), write a subject line that looks more like a personally written subject than the title of a newsletter ("how's it going?" rather than "We Need Your Help!"). Ideally, emails sent through automated campaigns should be virtually identical to those sent manually.
- Schedule follow-up emails to non-openers.
If someone missed your first email, make sure to add follow-up emails in your automation campaign. ActiveCampaign makes this easy to do. There are many reasons someone may have chosen not to open your first email, so experiment a little. Try changing the time or day of your next send; try changing the subject line; try changing the sender name. You can schedule as many follow-up emails as you'd like, so maybe add another level of follow-ups for those who miss the second email as well.
- Make your customers feel like members of your community.
Use inclusive language that shows your customer you appreciate them and that they're a part of your community or group of insiders. When your customer feels like part of your business, they'll have a vested interest in helping you grow.
- Use psychology to prime the customer for a positive review.
Speak in an upbeat, happy tone and use positive language in your email to prime the customer's brain for a positive response. You can also use language and ideas that support your brand messages--you'll see these brand messages start to appear in your reviews, which has a huge positive impact on reinforcing that image in the eyes of new customers.
- Make it easy for your customers to review.
Include direct links to the most popular review sites. We prefer Yelp, Google and Facebook (in that order). Almost every person you're likely to do business with will have at least one of those accounts.
Don't just link to your Facebook page, link to the reviews tab on your Facebook page like this:
Use the Google Review Link Generator to generate a link that automatically pops up the review box on your Google Local listing.
- Keep your email clear, concise and simple.
Get straight to the point, and make your communication crystal clear.
Keep the momentum going! DO THIS NOW.
Sign up for ActiveCampaign (it's free to start!) and set up a simple request for review email automation. First, you'll need to set up a live import from your customer management system (they support all major platforms). Next, you'll need to create an automation that sends the customer an email after they've had time to use your product or service.
For now, just send the one email automatically, and worry about adding follow-up emails later.
Example of a good review request email.
Take a look at this review request email that we set up for one of our local business clients.
This email gets them 5-7 reviews PER WEEK, and they're growing faster than ever before as a result. New visits are up, search engine ranking is up, and customer satisfaction is up!
Review Boosting Tip #3: Ask for Reviews in Person
This is one of the most simple, yet often overlooked ways to collect more reviews! Ask your customers when you see them.
Don't just leave it up to chance, though. Set up a process where you or one of your employees asks customers after specific conditions are met. By taking a process-oriented approach to review collecting (rather than just doing it if you happen to remember, or when it's convenient), you'll collect more reviews and getting in the habit of asking will make it routine and easy.
When is the best time to ask someone for a review? After they express satisfaction with your product or service, of course!
Use a URL shortener like Tiny URL to shorten links to your review sites, and keep a stack of review request cards sitting somewhere you can easily grab one (standard business cards work fine).
Never miss an opportunity to ask a customer how their experience was. If they say it was great, make sure to give them to thank them for being a customer, that you're glad they're a part of your community, and hand them the review request card to close the deal!
The important thing here is to be authentic. If you truly care, it will show, and the customer will respond positively.
One more task for you! Finish strong.
Design and print some review request cards to keep somewhere accessible. Create a process for when to hand the cards out, and a short script for how you should ask. By keeping the process consistent, you can gauge people's reaction to it and adjust as needed.