How to Encourage User Reviews: Tips for Small Business

Customer Reviews by Frank Gruber

If you're a business owner, you likely already know the importance of getting reviews from your customers.

From a digital marketer's perspective, there are two main reasons why online user reviews are so important:

  1. Having reviews of your product or service can have a real effect on potential customers who are researching online. A recent study by BrightLocal found 73% of consumers say positive reviews increase their trust of a business! (Ed.: and even 1 star reviews have a 107% better conversion rate than no-reviews products)
  2. Having multiple good reviews on sites like Google+ and Yelp can help make your business more relevant to search engines.

So, having your customers to leave you reviews online seems like a no-brainer. But what's difficult is actually getting those reviews. The reviews wont happen unless you ask your customers to review you. The key here is to ask at different times, in different ways until you find one that works.

Here are some creative ways you can encourage users to post reviews on your online profiles.

10 Ways To Ask For Reviews

  1. If you operate a brick-and-mortar store, ask customers to leave you a review immediately after their purchase. You can even hand them instructions on where and how to leave the review. If you're an online business, ask for feedback in a follow-up email.
  2. Next time a customer gives you a compliment in an email, over the phone, or in-person, request that they leave you that same feedback in an online review on your Google+ or Yelp profile.
  3. Ask users to rate your business on industry specific review websites like HomeStars, RateMDs, Urbanspoon, and TripAdvisor, so you can be where your competitors are.
  4. Send personal emails to your regular customers and VIPs requesting reviews - they are more likely to leave feedback.
  5. If you send out a monthly newsletter to your customer base, include a link to leave a review on your Google+ profile.
  6. Add links to your online review profiles in your email signature, especially if you interact with customers on a regular basis.
  7. Instead of offering a discount or an incentive to customers to solicit reviews, ask them as a personal favour, and offer them an easy way to leave a review.
  8. Don't forget the social networks! Many of your customers are already active users, and wont need to create an account to leave a review. Facebook Pages and LinkedIn Company Pages offer users a place to give feedback on your business. (TIP: Install the LinkedIn Recommend Button on your website so users can recommend your products and services more easily!)
  9. Set up an in-store review station with a computer or tablet, where customers can visit your profiles, sign-in, and leave feedback about their experience. Google saysnot to do this;

    If you're a business owner, don't set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business.

  10. Most importantly, always provide outstanding customer service! This, above all, will increase the likelihood that a customer will write you a positive review.

3 Ways To Use Reviews

Once you've got a number of reviews, it's time to make the most of them. Some of the ways you can use existing reviews+ to encourage more reviews include:

  1. Consider featuring a review of the month on your website or Facebook page. Users will be more eager to leave a review if they have a chance to be put in the spotlight.
  2. Ask those who have reviewed you to do so on a number of different sites. If they've reviewed your business on Facebook, ask them to write another on Yelp or Google+ as well.
  3. Manage negative reviews properly. By answering a bad review immediately with a positive tone, you'll show potential customers that you are dedicated to customer service.

Encouraging more positive online reviews is a key component in managing the reputation of your small business, as well as obtaining new business.

Question: What are you doing to encourage more reviews? Let us know your tips in the comments!

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