How To Get Online Reviews For Your Business

Businesses and marketers are keenly aware of how important online reviews are in commerce today. For local businesses, acquiring and managing online reviews is very important – 74% of consumers who search for local businesses turn to review websites before making their decision. In total, online reviews are believed to affect over 67% of purchase decisions. Having a lot of bad reviews can damage a business’ reputation, having no reviews can be just as damaging.

According to a Pew Research Center report, one in ten adult Americans regularly posts product reviews, and less than one in ten Americans regularly post reviews of services or restaurants. And while the number of people who occasionally post reviews is larger – up to half of adult Americans do it – making sure they do it for your business can be tricky.

The Power of Asking

But tricky is not the same as impossible. If you look at the popular review websites, you’ll notice that businesses are getting online reviews, which is as good of a proof as any that it can be done. If your business has a hard time getting customers to review it online, the first thing you should ask yourself is simple – have you asked your customers for reviews?

If you haven’t, you should seriously consider it. Seven out of ten of your customers are likely to leave a review if you ask them, which makes popping that question one of the most effective ways to get online reviews for your business. To get the most out of it, however, you need to know when to ask customers for reviews, how to do it, and what to avoid when doing it.

When to Ask Customers for Reviews

The best time to ask customers for reviews is right after they’ve purchased your products or used your services. Local businesses have the advantage of meeting customers in person, which makes asking for reviews much more effective. If your operation is completely Web-based, adding some copy that reminds the customers to leave a review during the checkout process is your best option.

In some cases, customers will not be able to leave a review until they’ve had some time to try out your products. Sending out follow-up emails a few days after they’ve made a purchase gives you a chance to remind them that you appreciate online reviews, and it’s a great example of using outreach for reputation management. You should keep in touch with your customers because it’s an effective way to improve your business, and it doesn’t hurt that it lets you ask them for reviews.

How to Ask Customers for Reviews

The one thing you should never do is offer to pay for reviews, and offering discounts for reviews might be construed as payment. Some might say that it’s not a payment but an incentive and that as long as you’re not incentivizing good reviews alone, you’re in the clear. However, given that a large percentage of your customers might post a review even without an incentive, you might leave your special offers aside as a last resort.

As to how to ask the question that some business owners and employees find embarrassing, the best trick is, to be honest. You need to say that you appreciate your customers and that their online reviews can help your business deliver better service or products. And that’s all there is to it.

Making It Easy to Leave Reviews

Being respectful of your customers’ time is an advice you can apply to anything from creating your website to designing your products and services. When it comes to getting your customers to review your business, a respectful approach is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for customers to post a review.

Making a business profile on the most commonly used review websites will make it much easier for customers to review your business. Ideally, they should be able to leave a review on a website where they usually leave reviews. You can also enable a review feature on your website, especially if you have an online store.

Either way, you need to make it clear to your customers which websites they can use to leave a review. You can print it out on a leaflet that you give people who come into your store. You can also include the links to the websites into your emails, or somewhere on your website. Remember, people will post reviews of your website if you ask them nicely, but the more hoops they have to jump to do it, the more likely they are to give up during the process. So make it as quick and as simple as you possibly can.

Jenna Brown

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