Why online reviews help you in more ways than one

online reviewsA positive review from one of your customers is a great thing to achieve; there’s the feel good factor that you’ve done your job well and made someone happy, then of course there’s the evidence for all to see that you deliver a good service so helping with your credibility and, finally, there’s the positive impact it can have on your search engine rankings, making you stand out from the competition. What’s not to like?

Getting a good review can help you get noticed and convert more customers by inspiring trust. A report by Brightlocal showed that 88% of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business and 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

I mentioned in previous articles the importance of good reviews to help with your local rankings but how do you go about getting good independent reviews? I’ve put together some key pointers to help you succeed in getting reviews and some tips about what to avoid.

A Short Guide to Earning Reviews for Your Business

The golden rule is to deliver a good service or product in the first place. That’s pretty fundamental!

When should you ask for a review?

When the customer is smiling.  It’s a lot easier to approach them when you know they are happy with the service they have received.

How to ask for a review

Make it personal – call them or send a personalised email (or do both).

There are other ways to entice customers to submit a review online:

  • Create a page on your website with links to key review sites
  • Put links to review sites in your web pages & email signatures. Rather than creating a separate web page, you could put links to one or a couple of review sites on your website footer or in the side column with text such as “Check us out on these review sites.” Add similar links to your email signatures.
  • Create business cards that includes the URL for an important review site
  • Hand out a flyer with simple instructions on which review sites to go to and what to do.
  • Add a request to an email about another topic. You could add a message to an email you send out to clients about some other topic.

Make the review steps simple

If it’s a hassle to leave a review then your success rate will fall. Make the process as simple as possible for your customers by directing them to sites you are on – give out the urls and clear instructions, particularly if they have to register with the site.

Find the best review sites for you and your industry

Seek out the most influential review sites for your business and your industry by carrying out some online searches on:

  • Your company name or brand with and without adding “reviews” to the search. You should find most of the public reviews you already have.
  • Important keywords. For example if you are an accountant in Portsmouth do some non-branded searches relevant to your business, such as “accountant Portsmouth”.
  • Search for industry leaders & some key competitors.

It should give you a list of review sites to focus on but before you begin driving customers to these sites make sure you create or update profiles on any of the sites that allow it. You want clients and other users of the review site to see updated information. Plus you’ll have a way to respond to reviews.

A word about Google reviews

If you have a local business you’ll want to get good reviews on your Google My Business (GMB) profile so you need to have a Google account and then set up and claim your GMB profile (GMB set up guide). then you need to make it easy to ask for Google reviews – see some tips here. The problem is though that your customers also need a Google Account in order to post a review. Those who don’t may not want to spend the time to set one up just to submit a review. So it is important to have alternative review site where it’s easier to post on.

What about bad reviews…

It happens and in fact, too many good reviews and no bad ones can look unnatural and suspicious. The trick is to deal with these by responding to the reviewer and addressing any issues they have. Turning around a bad review can be good for you in the long run.

The big no, nos

Rewarding customers for reviews

Some big names such as Google and Yelp will penalise businesses if they’re caught and remove their reviews.

Fining customers for bad reviews

There was a recent case of a hotel in Blackpool fining customers £100 after leaving a bad review on Tripadvisor. The publicity for the hotel was staggering, trouble was it was all bad. The hotel later refunded the fine after they were warned by Blackpool trading standards that it could be illegal. The damage to their reputation can’t be taken back.

Getting too many reviews in a short time period.

It looks suspicious not only to the prospective customers but to the review sites and could cause you to be penalised. It’s best to get reviews in a natural progression over time, so don’t ask all your clients to submit reviews at the same time. Make getting online reviews a part of your ongoing business processes.

Faking, duplicating or syndicating reviews

Syndicating the same review across multiple sites is bad practice and not advised and it goes without saying that faking reviews is the ultimate no, no.

So next time you have a happy customer, don’t miss the opportunity to get a good review. If you have any tips for encouraging good reviews from your customers, I’d love to hear from you.


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