Does your small business have a proactive customer review process in place? If not, it’s time to implement one.
Numerous studies show that online reviews are playing a bigger and bigger role in the customer journey. They are now a major determining factor in consumer buying decisions.
In fact, 93% of consumers say reviews influence their buying decision, 90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business, and 88% of consumers trust reviews the same as personal recommendations.
There is simply no getting away from it! Reviews are essential, and getting them should be part of your overall marketing strategy.
But how do you get reviews and more of them? Keep reading to find out.
#1 Be Available Where People Review
The first step in getting more online reviews is to be available in places where people like to leave reviews. Your website or online store should not be the only option available to your customers!
For example, allow people to leave reviews on your Facebook page, create profiles on platforms like Google My Business (a must for local businesses), Yelp, and Trust Pilot. There might also be popular places where people like to leave reviews that are specific to your industry.
#2 Create a Follow-up Email Sequence
After a customer makes a purchase send a follow-up email asking them for a review. Don’t send your request immediately wait for three to five days, so they have sufficient time to use your service or product.
Inside the email, insert a hyperlink to the place where you want them to leave the review. For example, you can link to a review page or product page on your website or a 3rd party platform like Google My Business or Yelp.
One of the advantages of using a follow-up sequence is that you can optimize your emails. You can test different subject lines and body copy until you get the best email to review return.
#3 Ask Customers In-Store
Now, I am not saying that you ask every customer that comes through your door for a review. Well, at least not directly! However, you can ask them indirectly.
Depending on your type of business, you can place a review request on tabletop signs, thank-you cards placed within product packaging, on receipts, or business cards.
Whichever method you choose to use, make it easy for the customer to leave their review. Use a simple URL that they can easily remember and type. Or better still, use a QR code that they can scan which leads to a review page.
#4 Make it Easy for People
Don’t make your customers have to work to leave a review on your website. It should be super easy for them to submit one. If it’s not, they won’t bother. They will lose interest and abandon the process.
Check your review submission process and remove any unnecessary friction points such as multi-step review forms, Captchas, purchase verification, etc.
#5 Bride People with a Gift Bag
I am only joking! Don’t bribe people for a review. However, you can increase your chances of getting reviews by giving customers a little sweetener in the form of a gift bag. This approach works well if you’re in the hospitality business.
An excellent example of this is my friend. He runs a guest house, and when customers leave, he gives them a little gift bag with some local cheeses and whiskey (sample size).
Inside the gift bag, there is a thank-you card and a little message that says, “if you had a great time with us, please consider leaving a review on our website.”
If you want to use this approach, don’t go crazy with your gift bag – keep it simple, small, and cost-effective.
#6 Leverage Social Proof
When you get glowing reviews, you should share them across your social media channels. When people see that others are leaving reviews, they will be more inclined to do the same.
Leveraging social proof is an age-old marketing tactic that plays on the human trait to follow the lead of others. If a person sees that someone else has done something, they know it’s ok for them to do it too, and follow suit.
Also, some customers will be more inclined to leave a glowing review (not a just a standard one) in the hope you will share theirs too.
#7 Reply to Every Review
Depending on how many reviews you receive, it might not be possible to reply to everyone, but you should make an effort to respond to as many as possible.
Most businesses reply to negative reviews, but you should also respond to the positive one too. It shows customers that you are engaged, compassionate, and thankful.
But, more than that, according to a Harvard Business Review, actively responding to reviews will help you get more reviews and better overall ratings.
Now it’s Your Turn….
In today’s online world if you want your business to succeed, you can ignore the power and impact that online reviews have on the buying decisions of consumers.
Your potential customers expect to be able to read reviews of your business – they will turn to them for recommendations, insights, and verification.
So, if you don’t already have a review strategy in place, now is the time to get on it.