For a business, word-of-mouth among consumers can be a powerful and influential force. Your business is nothing without customers to support it, so what they say about you ultimately means more than any stellar copy on your website or top-notch graphics posted to your social media account. That being said, garnering a solid collection of local reviews for your business from satisfied customers is critical to further client conversion and to casting a positive light on your company in the eyes of your digital audiences.
There are several places online where people should be able to review your business, including Google, Yahoo!, the Better Business Bureau, Yelp and more. There are also niche-specific review sites such as Urbanspoon for restaurants and TripAdvisor for hotels, for example. For our clients, we tend to gravitate toward Google Reviews as far as encouraging them to push for feedback. Not only do positive reviews on Google give consumers incentive for seeking out your service or product, but they can also help with SEO. Reviews on Google help Google determine whether or not you are a valuable company for their users. In essence, the more four- and five-star reviews you have on Google Reviews, the more valuable Google will consider you in its search results.
One thing that Google stresses is that reviews must be genuine. If it appears that your reviews are coming from accounts that were made up on your end just to boost your own ratings, Google will count that against you. So how do you go about getting genuine local reviews for your business?
- Solicit reviews on social media. Part of getting people to leave a review for you is all about giving them direct access to do so. Posting a link to your business’ social media that takes customers directly to a review site will increase your chances of them leaving one. Don’t forget to ask nicely in your post!
- Send an email blast. Email is another way you can make it easy for your customers to leave a review. We used this method for one of our clients and simply set up two buttons—one encouraging them to click if they were happy with the client’s service/product, and the other directing them to click if they were not happy with the client’s service/product. For the customers who clicked the former, we directed them to a page where they could leave a Google review. For the customers who clicked the latter, we connected them with an opportunity to express any concerns to a customer service representative for the business.
- Use your own website. If you run an ecommerce site, it is easy to prompt customers to leave a review or simple rating after making a purchase. For non-ecommerce sites, we can help you set up a review page—where customers can both see and leave reviews—like the page here.
- Ask them in person. There is no shame in asking your loyal customers to go online and leave a review for your business, and especially the ones who have been with you a long time should be willing and happy to do so.
- Give people incentive to leave a review. In any of these mediums, it never hurts to provide incentive. For example, you could offer your customers 10% off their next purchase if they leave a review. You could also incentivize your customers to invite others to leave a review in order to increase your review numbers. (Example: “Invite a friend to review us on Google, and get 10% off your next purchase.”)
Once you’ve collected a good stockpile of local reviews for your business, in addition to looking better in the eyes of Google, you can also use them to your advantage in your marketing strategies. Stay tuned for next week’s blog, in which we will discuss how you can employ testimonials as a useful part of your marketing arsenal.
Need help devising strategies to get more local reviews for your business? The McNutt & Partners team can help. Visit our contact page and reach out to us today!