You can’t afford to ignore online reviews – your customers sure don’t. 88% of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. Before ever picking up the phone, your customers will be searching for your online reviews. If you don’t have any, they may not buy. But getting online reviews is a struggle many business owners face. How can you inspire your customers to leave reviews?
Pick One Website
With so many websites that now offer reviews, it’s hard to know where to send people. Our advice? Dollar for dollar, Google and Facebook are going to be your best bet. Whenever visitors search for a business on Google, reviews are front and center. That kind of visibility is key, especially for local businesses. Facebook is also important because of its popularity. While sites like Angie’s List and Yelp are still popular hubs for reviews, most customers now search directly on Facebook for reviews.
When you’re trying to gather reviews, it’s best to pick one website to start. If you’re a local business, aim for Google. If you have multiple locations or are very active on social media, aim for Facebook.
Make It Easy
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is assuming that reviews will pour in without any effort. You need to put the action right in front of your customers, and you need to make it as easy as possible for them.
One of the simplest ways to encourage reviews is to set up an email campaign. Send a message out to current or past clients that you’ve had a good relationship with, asking them to leave a review on your chosen website. And here’s the key: include a direct link so they’re taken right to a review page. You’ll have to do a bit of work to pull the URLs for a direct link, but it’s worth the effort. For Facebook, simply add a “/reviews” to the end of your Facebook Page URL (example: www.facebook.com/BizzyWeb/reviews). Google is a little tricker, but their online guide will walk you through how to find the right URL.
Everyone likes to be thanked. Make sure after your customers leave a review that you thank them. On both Google and Facebook, you can respond directly to a review. This complement is two-fold – it shows your appreciation to the reviewer and it also shows potential customers how you engage with your current customers.
Following up on bad reviews is critical. Don’t let a bad review fester and absolutely do not respond line-by-line. Even if the reviewer is spouting off incorrect information, you should respond the same:
- Thank them for the review, and apologize for their experience.
- Offer to take it offline to help them.
It’s up to the reviewer if they want to take you up on your offer, but this puts the ball back in their court. It also shows potential customers that you don’t ignore criticism and actively try to make things right. However, if the review contains defamatory or libelous comments, you can report it to Google or Facebook as inappropriate to have it removed. Note that they will only take action in extreme cases: a review saying you charged them additional fees even if you didn’t likely won’t be removed, but a review saying you’re a thief and a criminal likely will.
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2017 is almost here…are you ready? It’s planning season, and we’re all looking at what we need to do to make 2017 successful. If you’re looking for ways to grow your business with fresh digital marketing strategies and tactics, we’re here to help.