How to Get AWesome Reviews for Your Small Business
Why aren’t more small business owners actively seeking out reviews? Customer reviews can be incredibly intimidating for small businesses, but they don’t have to be. In fact, you have a lot more control over them than you may think. With the right strategy, you’ll be raking in AWesome reviews in no time.
By Kristen Dunleavy July 21, 2014
Did you know that a whopping 65 percent of consumers are more likely to use a business which has positive online reviews (up from 52 percent in 2012), yet only 13 percent of small business owners proactively ask for them?
Reviews are a ridiculously powerful (and sadly overlooked) means of attracting and converting new customers. Think about it: What’s the first thing you do before trying a new restaurant? Probably visit Google or Yelp for research, and if you see rave reviews, you go ahead with a reservation. See how easy that was?
Now imagine applying this to your small business. If a prospect is searching through your industry and comes across your business, they are a lot more likely to give you a chance if they see positive reviews. There’s no referral involved and no work done on your part. You just earned third-party trust based on reviews alone!
So why aren’t more small business owners actively seeking out reviews?
Customer reviews can be incredibly intimidating for small businesses, but they don’t have to be. In fact, you have a lot more control over them than you may think. With the right strategy, you’ll be raking in AWesome reviews in no time.
Start with your most loyal customers
You know who they are, and they understand your services top to bottom. Chances are, they will be more than happy to lend you hand – so just ask!
Another option is to send a follow-up email campaign to your subscribers who have recently made a purchase. Include links to a review form in your call to action for easy access. This is a great way to get additional feedback, too.
Focus on placement
Google+ Local reviews are hugely valuable because they show up on the search engine results page (SERP), meaning they are the first thing people see when they search for your business. Reviews from others in your circle, the location of your business, photos and more also appear here. Ask for reviews on Google+ Local first since these will be the most visible. Yelp and FourSquare are also go-to spots for trusted reviews.
Make it easy
There should always be a home for your company’s reviews on your website so your customers don’t have to go looking for them elsewhere. Use a form to create a dedicated space on your website where customers can easily submit and read reviews. Link to that form across your social media platforms to get more eyes on it and use your blog to drive reviews. As mentioned above, you can target recent customers in an email campaign to gain their insight while you are still fresh in their minds.
Do you see your clients face to face on a regular basis? Think about creating a small printed flyer or bag-stuffer with the link to your website’s review page. This will help your customers know exactly where and how they can review your business.
Engage with your customers
As a small business owner, your job isn’t done once you’ve made the sale. In fact, it’s just begun. Check in with your most loyal customers to offer support and assistance should they need it. Keep in touch via social media and promptly answer any questions or comments. Make it a point to stay up to date on both their industry and yours, so you can anticipate new trends coming down the line. You can also set up Google Alerts to keep tabs on what people are saying about you 24/7.
Address negative reviews
Bad reviews can be the stuff of nightmares for small business owners, but there are a few things you can do to mitigate them and even gain valuable insight. First, make sure the review isn’t from someone who is “trolling” you – meaning that it’s factually untrue, includes zero constructive criticism and is just plain mean. Some review websites will take these types of reviews down on a case-by-case basis.
Regardless of whether you’re dealing with a troll or a real customer relaying a bad experience, you should never argue with the reviewer. Instead, address the review right away with an empathetic, personalized response that shows your concern. Never used a canned response – customers can smell these from a mile away, and they only make a bad situation worse. If the issue requires further investigation, offer your email address to take the conversation offline.
When you flip a bad review into a learning experience, it can actually help elevate your business.
Now that you know how to gain positive reviews from your best customers, you can start getting more mileage out of them. You can showcase these throughout your website, email campaigns and other collateral with your customers’ permission. By leveraging your most exceptional reviews by flipping them into case studies and testimonials your existing customers can help you attract and retain prospective customers!