8 Tips to Getting More Online Reviews for Your Business

In the modern world of online shopping and business comparisons, your online ratings and reviews are incredibly important. Even if you only have 5 reviews, the content and quality will determine how everyone else who looks up your company will respond. Surrounded by ad copy and promotional material, consumers have come to trust each other more than almost anything else and reviews are their way of leaving clues about what a product or service is really like. This means that the more reviews you get, and of course how positive they are, matters a great deal. However, building up a healthy reserve of reviews can be hard for a small business. Fortunately, we have eight great tips to help you build up those reviews by encouraging your clients to write them.

1) Make Reviewing Easy

First and foremost, the best way to get reviews is to integrate the reviewing process into some perfectly normal business experience. At the end of an online checkout, the bottom of a blog article, underneath a posted video, or even right there on your homepage are all great places to leave a reviewing infrastructure. Ideally, you'll be able to connect these reviews to a venue that matters to your business like Yelp, Amazon, or Google but even on-site reviews are valuable to your customers.

2) Highlight Your Best Reviews

One of the best ways to subtly encourage reviews is to highlight the ones you like best. Feature the reviews on your home or 'about us' page to show not only that customers like you but that you appreciate the reviews they leave. Customers love feeling appreciated and may be tempted to leave a review for the chance that you will update and put their glowing opinion up on your site. That said, don't forget to update to highlight recent reviews you are grateful for.

3) Respond Personally

Reviews are often written as personal communications between the customer and the company they are reviewing. They will tell you how they feel about your products, how they use them, and how the product has performed in their hands. Whether they are emphatically thanking you for all the hard work, asking a question about durability, or even expressing disappointment, it's important to respond to your reviewers. Thank them for their time and do your best to address their concerns.

4) Ask for Reviews

Want your customers to write more reviews? Try just asking for them. Many people don't assume that a company needs reviews but would be happy to write one if asked. You have a dozen different potential methods to get the word out about your appreciation for reviews from emails to videos to little cards packaged with your products that include a printed polite request for online reviews at your venue of choice.

5) Customer Service for Reviewers

Not every review is a definitive report on a good or bad experience, some are active cries for help. Keep an eye on your reviews and be prepared to offer customer service to troubled clients. People who have bought your product and had trouble may write negative reviews that can be completely turned around with good service. Openly offering to replace a broken product, helping a customer understand the instructions, and giving discounts for bad experiences shows others that their reviews will be equally valued and well taken care of.

6) Integrate Reviews Into Product Pages

Individual product reviews have an amazingly positive impact on your website and reputation. First, customers choose products based on the ratings others have left for them. Products with low stars are assumed to be less satisfactory than the promotional material suggests while products with high stars will see a boost in sales as customers favor it over alternatives. To get these product reviews, simply integrate a reviewing interface into your actual product pages, a tactic that is not uncommon for eCommerce sites but can be used for everything from SaaS to field services as well. That said, don't let anyone who hasn't actually bought the product or service leave a review or you risk filling your page and stats with spam and false information.

7) Follow-Up Emails

You want the most informed reviews possible, and for this reason, the best time to gather a review is right after a customer has received a product or experienced one of your services. When they make a purchase, or a shipment is delivered, or a service is complete, make sure to send them a friendly follow-up email. This is a great opportunity to ask how they enjoyed the product or service then invite them to share that experience in the form of a rating and review with your company and the internet at large.

8) Offer Encouragement

While it's a bad idea to offer incentives for reviews, you can offer encouragement at every turn. Take the time to thank your customers for reviews all the time and make sure your automated interface does the same. Make it clear how much you appreciate reviews, even the negative ones, and explain how you try to answer each one honestly and personally. This will help your customers understand that you're not just another corporate face, that you really do appreciate each and every review and that their time spent reviewing will not be wasted.

Reviews are a powerful marketing tool, one that you can influence without directly controlling. This can be frustrating for a growing company but should be taken as a challenge instead. The goal is to connect with your clients in a way that makes them want to leave a positive review.

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Bryan Caplan