Getting reviews for your business on sites, like, Google, Yelp or Amazon, is critical to your business’s success online.
Most people start looking for products and services by doing web searches before they make a decision about buying a product or service.
The people searching the web use these reviews to guide their buying activities and to make decisions about purchases.
Because of this, reviews or the lack of them can make or break your business.
So, in this article we will take a look at this phenomenon in more depth and talk about the following:
- Why online reviews matter and how they can help or hurt your business
- 6 ways to getting more reviews
3 Reasons Why Online Reviews Matter
Here are 3 reasons why online reviews matter and and how they can help or hurt your business.
Local SEO Benefits
The thing about reviews is that a regular supply of online reviews keeps your business’s name at the top of the search engines.
More importantly, if your business caters to a local market, then online reviews about your business help the search engines associate your business’s name local goods, services, and industries.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you run a coffee shop in the historic district of your town. Anyone who does a Google search looking for “coffee shops near me” or “coffee shops in the historic district” will likely run across your business’s name if you have online reviews.
This type of off-page SEO brings visitors to your company’s website.
Review sites usually include the following:
- Phone number
- Map to the business in question.
If people like the reviews they read about your business, they can go directly to your website and find you.
Consumer Decision-Making Advantages
Here’s the deal. It’s difficult to argue with the numbers. Reviews and the quality of the reviews affect a business’s bottom line.
For some businesses, the effect is positive. For others, it is not.
According to some estimates, 90% of people will read an online review before giving a business their patronage.
More than 70% of them will take some sort of action after reading a positive review about a business. Action in this case can mean going to the shop to buy an item, signing up for a service or joining a mailing list.
Additionally, one-third of customers admit that they would spend their money at a business that got excellent reviews. More than 70% of people also admit that a positive review makes them trust a business.
On average, customers need to read between two and 10 reviews before they take action. The more reviews you have, the better chance you have of earning a customer’s business.
On a related note, business owners should take active steps to ensure they get positive reviews. Nearly 90% of people will think twice about patronizing a business that has bad online reviews.
And here’s a staggering bit of information. Nearly 100% of Yelp users patronized a business they found on Yelp. A full 80% of Yelp visitors go to the review site because they already intend to buy something.
This counts as one of the chief reasons why online reviews matter.
Reviews Provide Business Owners With Feedback
Most business owners understand that they need to constantly improve their business operations. Having top-notch customer service and a world-class product makes all the difference in the success of a business.
However, many business owners are often too close to their own products and services to know how they need to improve them in order to better serve their customers.
What may seem like an excellent offer from the business owner’s point-of-view may not appeal to their customers at all.
- Instant Feedback – Online reviews give business owners instant feedback about his or her goods and services. The best reviews give detailed feedback, which could be used as a foundation to improve a business’s products or services if the reviews are taken to heart.
- Customers prefer to leave reviews – Customers who feel unsatisfied with a business’s goods or services don’t always say anything to the business’s manager while they’re in the store. They may only remark on an issue in a review.
- Reviews help business owners improve their product or service – While negative reviews can sting, they can also provide the business owner with the tools he or she needs to improve and grow the business. Online reviews, if handled properly, can also give the owner or manager the opportunity to make the situation right with the customer.
- They can build trust between business owners and customers – Many savvy managers respond directly to a review, offering apologies and promises to make the situation better. This shows others who read the reviews that the business owner is willing to take responsibility for an issue and make it right. This can build trust.
How to Get More Online Reviews
The vast majority of consumers don’t leave reviews, and often, customers who truly have had a bad experience with your business may be few and far between.
However, if they’re the ones leaving reviews and your satisfied customers aren’t, then your online presence will be skewed to the negative.
The reality is most business owners have to actively seek out reviews from their customers. It’s best to automate this process so that the request for the review comes quickly after a purchase or after some other interaction with your customers.
Nowadays, it is important to remember that reviews play an important part in your marketing scheme.
Here are the 6 top ways to garner reviews from your customers.
This is maybe the most logical place to start asking for reviews. The people who follow your business on social media are already engaging with you.
If they’re already engaging with you on social media, it’s probably not too much to ask them to leave a review, too.
It’s important to remind them that reviews don’t have to be long. Many people avoid writing reviews in part because they think they need to write a lot. They don’t.
Instead, when you’re chatting with your customers on social media just ask them to leave a couple of sentences on a review site, like Yelp or on Google. You can even include a link to the review site to make it easier for them.
There are other ways to encourage customers to write a review. Here’s what some savvy business owners give their customers:
- A gift card
- A coupon for cash off the customers’ next purchase.
When you make the request for the reviews on social media (or via any of the other means suggested in this list), offer to give the first 10 reviewers (or whatever) some sort of reward for writing a review.
2. Tap Into Your Mailing List
If you keep a mailing list, create an email campaign to get reviews. Just as you would request that your social media followers write up reviews for you, you can also request your email list subscribers do the same.
Some of the most sophisticated methods of garnering reviews begin just after the customer purchased an item or paid for a service. A simple follow-up note after a purchase can get the ball rolling.
3. Make a Site Visit Count
Your website provides an online presence for your business. It’s often the first place that new customers encounter your business and it’s also a place where your loyal customers will return.
It’s the customers in the latter camp that you want your review requests to reach.
There are a few ways to help this process along.
- Install a pop-up and other review reminders on your site – These tools can direct your customers to sites, like Amazon or Yelp, where they can review their latest product purchases.
- Create a review option at the end of the shopping cart process – Anytime your customer orders something, include a link to important review sites, even review areas on your own website. Restaurants that offer online ordering and delivery are masters at this. Think about how many times you’ve ordered a pizza and gotten a request for a review, either when you were getting ready to pay, in a follow-up email, or on a receipt.
Although only a small percentage of people respond to these requests, the consistency of requesting reviews every single time a customer has an interaction with you will eventually provide you with more than enough reviews on Yelp and other sites.
4. Take Advantage of Live Events
Many local business owners use their face-to-face interactions with customers to nab online reviews.
For example, you may have a booth at a local festival. Bring along a laptop or tablet and ask customers who stop by your booth to leave a review for a recent transaction.
This gives you a chance to visit with people who buy from you and to express your appreciation. It also gives potential customers the chance to ask questions or to visit with you about issues they have.
What’s beneficial about getting reviews in this setting is that if the customer does have a problem, you can often solve it on the spot before he or she goes online and leaves a bad review.
Aside from this, showing up in public puts a face on your business, which also helps.
5. Utilize Forums
Forums are another place to solicit reviews from customers. Many industries have go-to forums where customers come to chat.
If such forums exist for your industry, don’t hesitate to tap into them to get more reviews for your products and services.
Make your requests part of your interactions with customers not your sole contact with them.
People feel used if you’re always requesting something from them. Make your interactions on forums just that: interactions.
6. Make the Process Easy
People are busy. They often feel rushed and overwhelmed online. In light of that, you want to make your requests for reviews simple.
- Provide people with links to review sites – Encourage them to leave short reviews if they don’t have time for a long one. Be sure to thank them if they do leave a review (if you can).
- Tell people how long it will take to leave a review – Often people agree to a review only to find out that they have a 15-page survey waiting for them. Don’t trap people like that. Let them know what they can expect.
- Give the customer enough time to use the product or service – Sending a request for a review for a pizza delivery the next day is appropriate. Asking a customer who bought a hot tub from you to review your business the next day isn’t realistic.
- Be willing to ask more than once – You’ll want to do this in a nice way without becoming a nuisance. However, many people who can’t leave you a review right away may be willing to down the road when they have a few minutes. You may be catching them at a bad time the first time you make the request for the review. Catch them at a more appropriate time and you might get your review.
Nowadays, most business owners understand why online reviews matter. Much of their business comes from online sources rather than traditional advertising methods. This is particularly true for businesses that cater to a local audience, like coffee shops, banks, or gas stations.
The websites of businesses that have excellent online reviews usually rank higher in search results. They also enjoy a more engaged clientele: After all, many people use online reviews to decide where they’ll shop.
Aside from this, business owners garner valuable customer feedback via their reviews. This allows them to improve their products and services without having to take on expensive market research campaigns.
Finally, getting reviews may not be easy but it should be simple, provided that the business owner makes it easier for customers to give them reviews.
Every business owner should stay on top of their review programs so that new reviews regularly appear on important sites, like, Google, Yelp, and Amazon.