10 Ways to Get More Online Reviews

Online ReviewsIn the world of online marketing, there are a lot of different ways to get a customer’s attention, cater to their needs, and appeal to their interests. However, nothing builds trust like a large collection of positive reviews.

While the review system is important to businesses, it was built to allow customers to guide each other. People who’ve had good experiences can let future customers know what to buy and where to go to have a good time.

Those who had bad experiences leave dire warnings to help others avoid their fates. While customers know that there will always be the over-raters and the picky under-raters, the general star and comment collection is universally trusted to guide a customer to an enjoyable purchase or service.

However, not having any reviews at all or only a very few reviews is an interesting conundrum. Some customers will respond to any reviews you have while others won’t know what to think because fewer than ten reviews aren’t enough of a sample set to really make a judgment. As a business, your best bet is to encourage as many honest reviews as possible. If your products and services are enjoyable, you can trust that they’ll mostly be a beneficial four stars or higher.

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1) Complete Your Business Profiles

The first and most important tip for getting reviews is to complete your business profiles. While your business may or may not be automatically listed, by taking control of your profile you have the opportunity to write the right kind of copy for the description, ensure that all your contact and hours information is correct, and even put in a few compelling pictures. This way, when a customer goes to review you on their favorite review site, you will have a complete and professional appearance in multiple online venues. Make sure to include Google Business (and + Local), Yelp, Yahoo! Local Listings, Foursquare, Merchant Circle, and Angie’s List.


2) Mention That You Love Reviews

Many companies are a little hesitant to openly ask for reviews and we understand why. Many customers don’t like being directly asked for something, but they do like to do things that will be appreciated. Whether or not you intend to request reviews personally, it helps to make it known how much your company loves to get reviews. Declare your love of and desire for reviews openly but not to anyone in particular, feature good reviews on your social media profiles, and highlight your favorite reviews on your website. Some might write a review just for the chance to be featured.


3) The Personal Touch

If you do ask for reviews from individuals, don’t do so in a robotic fashion. Find a way to creatively personalize each request for a review including asking about how a particular purchase is working out, addressing the customer by name, and making it clear that you care about their individual experience with your products or services. Many companies these days are sending small greeting cards with their products thanking customers for a purchase and requesting a review.


4) Make Reviewing Easy

If you want customers to take the time to review your products, make reviewing as easy as possible. If you send an email to request a review, include an easy to identify link to your preferred review venue or a small selection so they can choose their own review venue. If you send a card, include a simple and easy to type url or reference an email you send earlier. Finally, if you have in-site reviewing like some eCommerce sites, make sure your reviewing feature works and is very easy to find both from the main page and from your customer’s list of previous orders.

If you want customers to take the time to review your products, make reviewing as easy as possible. | #JSBTalksDigital #OnlineMarketing Click To Tweet


5) Don’t Push for 5 Stars

You may think that that cheap five-star link trick is worthwhile or that you should push for high reviews, but stop and think for a moment. Genuine reviews are more valuable than fakey ones and people can tell the subtle difference even if there’s no solid evidence to prove that a rating has been somehow artificially inflated. Accept every review you get and be satisfied if you reach an average of four stars or higher. At that level, it’s the comments that matter most so encourage detailed commenting instead of pushing for 5 stars.

Here’s a great trick: If you want fewer low-star ratings, do a dual-request. Ask for reviews if customers are happy with your service and offer a direct line to customer service if they’re not. Now you’re not channeling unhappy customers to your review page and creating a chance to save the sale.


6) Send a Follow-Up Email

If a customer doesn’t review your products or services right away, it’s more than acceptable to send a friendly follow-up email to ask how the customer is doing and if they liked their product. While the vast majority of these will be ignored (only 20% of emails are ever opened), a simple follow-up email will catch more than a few customers and remind them that they did actually enjoy their product and want to leave you a positive comment.


7) Check on Old Customers

Go through your Rolodex of past customers, especially if you’re a service, and consider contacting them for a review. Even if it’s been a while or they’ve been a steady customer for a long time, they might have something new and positive to say about your business or a fond memory they want to share with the public. Your oldest customers sometimes write the most customer-appreciated reviews because they come with a lot of context and prove that you’ve been a good service for years.


8) Offer Review Incentives

Paying for reviews has always been a little bit ‘iffy’ on the business etiquette scale but you are absolutely allowed to reward your customers for giving you a review you asked for. You can do this by featuring their review on social media, giving them something delightful but of very small value, or even simply hinting at a reward for reviews without naming a specific incentive. Then, when you get a review, you have the freedom to decide on the right reward for each customer. A personalized thank you message, a piece of digital art, or perhaps a promo code for a discount on your products, later on, are all good options.


9) Respond to Reviews

One way to get more reviews without ever asking anyone or tempting them toward the action is simply to respond to the reviews you do get. As the seller, answer both positive and negative reviews warmly and helpfully. If someone had trouble or was confused, be the customer service they need. If someone writes a glowing and detailed review, thank them! These little responses will show your customers that their comments matter to you and future customers are likely to leave messages because they know the reviews will be seen and responded to by a real human, not just a review counting machine.


10) Say ‘Thank You’

Finally, remember to thank your community for the reviews they leave. Thank them personally through email and direct responses. Thank them publicly in your social media circles, and thank them overall in your press releases and website news. When your customers know that the reviews are appreciated, you can bet they will keep rolling in.

Nothing builds trust like a large collection of positive online reviews. | #JSBTalksDigital #OnlineMarketing Click To Tweet

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