How often do you check the reviews of a new restaurant or any other local business before you try it for the first time? If you’re like most people, chances are you’ll search that new place on Google to see what others think. In fact, 87% of consumers check the online reviews of a local business before visiting. Even though most local small businesses grow their customer base largely from word-of-mouth, that suggestion from a friend is going to get double-checked online before a commitment is made. If you’ve never tried to increase your business’s online reviews, it can feel like something that just happens at random as you make an impression on customers. That doesn’t have to be the case, though. We’ve got some tips for increasing the number of online reviews your business gets and improving your credibility for those considering stopping by.
Perfect your customer service
Whether you’re going for more online reviews or not, this is obviously an important step for any business. It’s especially important when gathering reviews, as you want to be confident that the reviews you encourage will reflect well on you.
Create a presence on online review sites
Online review sites like Google My Business and Yelp won’t just put your business up because you exist. You have to sign up for these sites and establish your profile so that people have somewhere to put their reviews. This doesn’t just help with reviews alone; it adds to your SEO value as well. The more sites that have your business’s name on them, the more often your name will pop up when consumers are searching for something related to what you offer. Making a profile on Google My Business and Yelp alone will expose millions of people to your business. That doesn’t include the more niche review sites that may be relevant to you depending on your industry.
Encourage the right customers to review you
As the owner of your business, you know what it looks like when one of your customers receives the best service possible. Identify people that you know have had great experiences with you and approach them for a review. Ideally, this will be a repeat customer or someone that you’re starting to build a nice relationship with. Try not to make the request transactional, have some grace in the way you ask. Maybe they needed some follow-up service, or they’ve come back to revisit your business. After you’ve finished helping them, you can politely ask if they would like to leave a review for you. If they say yes, then email or text them specific instructions, such as which sites you need reviews on and links to those sites.
Try incentivizing reviews
An incentive for a review doesn’t have to be huge, you don’t have to give anything away for free. A review isn’t that tough to create, so you don’t have to go crazy. Maybe a 10% discount on their next visit with proof of a review, or a buy one get one half off deal. Again, be sure to choose the right customers for these incentives. Treat them as rewards for their loyalty.
Don’t be afraid to follow up if someone forgets to review
Trusted customers may agree to review your business, and then simply forget to. Don’t take it personally, people have things that are much more important to them on their minds than reviewing your business. Be direct but kind when following up. Whether it’s through email or in-person the next time you see them, bring up the review. A friendly, non-aggressive reminder can do a lot for motivating them to review. Especially if it’s a customer that you have a good relationship with, they’ll want to follow through on their end since they agreed to do it in the first place.
Respond to reviews, both positive and negative
If someone gives you a good review online, show your appreciation! On Yelp and Google My Business, you can respond to any review. Just a simple “Thank you!” is much better than leaving their review without a response. If you happen to get a negative review, responding is even more important. This is your chance to smooth things over. You can offer a sincere apology with a promise to make it up to them, and you could even throw in some discount or special offer to get them back so that you can prove that their bad experience was just a fluke.
RCC Web Media Agency | Online reputation management & much more!
Growing a successful small business takes a lot of work on your part, and combined with your personal life, there’s a chance that you just don’t have time to do the work of encouraging and responding to reviews consistently. Even if you know how important they are and you want to improve your reviews, there aren’t always enough hours in the day. If you find yourself in this situation, ask for help from the experts at RCC Web Media. Our professionals know how to drive reviews for your business, and we know how to express your appreciation. If you find yourself without time to manage reviews, it’s likely that other areas of your digital marketing aren’t getting the attention needed to grow your business either. We can cover every single area of digital marketing for your business. Our experts are well versed in all of these areas:
- Email Marketing
- Web Design and Development
- Social Media Management
- Content and Blog Writing
- eCommerce Website Management
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads
- Video Creation
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services
- And much more!