Getting Online Business Reviews: 6 Easy Steps for Greater Online Visibility
The time of building your business by word of mouth has come and gone. Once used mainly for restaurants and hotels, checking online reviews before hiring anyone has now become commonplace. Businesses from nearly all industries – lawyers, home improvement, boutique clothing – can benefit from soliciting and displaying online reviews. Whether you’re an online reviewing novice or you’re looking to increase your business’s reviews, here are 6 things you can do to gain more online reviews:
#1 Set up profiles on multiple platforms
These days, there are almost as many ways to review a business as there are businesses. Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, and Trustpilot are just a few of the multiple platforms used by consumers. Check out several different sites to determine the best ones for your business. Do a little bit of research to find out what platforms people in your local area, regardless of industry, are using for reviews. Once you have your list of sites, set up profiles so your customers can begin reviewing you. Make sure your address, phone number, website, hours, and other pertinent information is correct on each profile. If the platform supports it, upload a few photos of your business to help encourage user-submitted photos.
#2 If possible, ask in person
There’s nothing more powerful than standing in front of a customer, looking him or her in the eye, and sincerely asking for a review. The one-on-one request, especially if it’s accompanied by explicit directions on how to leave a review and how much your business values those reviews, will go a long way toward converting those customers into reviewers. Many people, if they’ve had a positive or even neutral experience with your company, will remember this request the next time they open a web browser. Instruct your employees to always ask for reviews at the end of every major interaction with customers, giving them a specific script if necessary. If your business has limited or no actual face-time with customers, the next best way to ask is through email. Highlight the review platform of your personal choice, but also list the names and links for any other sites on which you have a business profile.
#3 Make it easy to leave a review
Leaving a positive review is less motivating to a consumer than leaving a negative one. To gain as many of these positive reviews as possible, make the process as easy on your customers as possible. Give them as much information as you can so they can see how easy it is to leave a review. Have printed handouts with your review profile links ready for your employees to hand out, or keep them at a cash register or other point of sale. When sending out emails, include direct links to your profiles with explicit instructions on how to leave a review so that even the uninitiated user can figure it out. If you don’t send instructions, some users may become frustrated trying to navigate something unfamiliar and give up before leaving a review. This could cost your business many valuable reviews.
#4 Ask promptly
People are more likely to leave reviews immediately or shortly after an interaction with your business than they are days or weeks later. When closing a final transaction, ask every customer to leave a review. Send out emails on a daily basis to everyone whose accounts were closed during regular business. If you wait days or weeks after your transaction to first ask for a review, your customers are more likely to forget details of their experience. These details are important and go a long way toward making your business’s reviews complete and relevant to future customers.
#5 Follow up your initial request a few days later
If you ask in person or via email immediately after your final encounter with a customer, set a reminder email to send a few days later. Ask, again, for a review and tell the customer how much reviews mean to your business. Sometimes, people forget to leave a review when initially asked, and a reminder with all the information can convert more customers. This reminder email is especially important when you’re asking in person to give your customer all the directions on leaving a review in writing.
#6 Respond to ALL reviews, good and bad
Getting online reviews is great, but responding to the ones you have in a timely manner is even better. Reviews shouldn’t be a one-way street; they should open up a dialogue between your business and your customers. Address even, and especially, the negative reviews. Confronting criticism in a gracious manner shows potential customers that you won’t lash out when faced with negative feedback and that you’re willing to listen to ways to improve your business. This practice will go a long way toward establishing your credibility with the public, which can help your business immensely.
Reading online reviews is a key part of the consumer decision for many people. The more reviews your business pages have, the more likely people will be to read your reviews and put your business on their list. At 270net Technologies, our Digital Marketing team has tons of experience setting up and managing online review profiles. Contact us today for help with this or any other aspect of Online Reputation Management.