How to Encourage Customer Reviews: 5 Tactics

The online world of e-commerce is flooded with thousands of websites selling similar high-quality products and services. How is it possible to stand out amongst the crowd and draw in customers? One way to build up your small business is to generate reviews from happy customers and clients. Building a collection of really successful reviews takes time. Here are five tried-and-true tactics for developing a five-star review campaign. 

Why does your business need reviews?

One of the most important aspects of growing a small business is gaining a loyal customer base. When your small business has really successful reviews, potential shoppers and clients are more likely to choose your business over others. No matter what product or service is being sold, having even an honest few reviews can be what convinces someone to click the purchase or contact button. 

There are no shortcuts to generate reviews from real customers. However, there are some simple, common-sense tactics that small businesses can implement in order to increase the likelihood of organic reviews. When developing a review campaign for your small business, keep these steps in mind and you’ll see success in no time.

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Set up and claim your business pages

The first step in building a successful review campaign is to make sure your business is easy to find online. Having business pages on major review platforms like Google and Facebook are essential to building up a positive reputation. No matter what a business sells or provides as a service, no one is going to leave a review if they can’t easily find where to leave one online. Make sure to claim a business page on the following top platforms:

  1. Google My Business
  2. Facebook
  3. Yelp
  4. Bing
  5. Amazon Customer Reviews
  6. Better Business Bureau

It’s important to focus on particular review platforms depending on what kind of goods or services your small business provides, but more on that later. Having positive reviews can help your business show up on Google search more often and will help build a trustworthy image for your company. 

Directly ask customers to generate reviews

The most effective way to generate reviews is to directly ask customers and clients to write them. It seems like common sense, but not every small business thinks to take this simple step. There are several recommended ways to ask for honest reviews.

  • Send a follow-up email asking for a review. These are usually sent after a client receives their product or service.
  • Direct customers to a “thank you” page after they’ve made a purchase. This works great for instant downloads and other instantly received goods or services.
  • Offer discounts and coupons to people who leave reviews. If the policy of the review platform you are using allows this, it can be a great way to encourage past clients to leave feedback. 

As a business, it’s important to ask for reviews without being too pushy. Being too forward or annoying when asking for a review can leave customers with a negative impression, therefore defeating the purpose of the review campaign. 

Meet your customers where they are

Positive reviews are great for a small business, but not very helpful if they aren’t reaching the right people. While it’s important to claim your small business on any and all social and review platforms, it’s more important to focus on the platforms where future customers are more likely to find you. 

For example, law firms and other service-based businesses should focus their review campaign efforts on platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Focusing on gaining reviews on these platforms is an essential tactic of any legal marketing service and helps build a small law firm’s online reputation, SEO, and trustworthiness. If a future client is searching for law firm services in their area, they will be more likely to go with the business that has more glowing reviews and is easier to find. 

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Be responsive to reviews

Another important aspect of a review campaign is responsiveness. Engaging with customers by responding to reviews is a great tactic to incorporate into any marketing and social media strategy. A business that responds to reviews, good or bad, is seen by potential customers as attentive and willing to improve. If your business proves to be responsive, people will be more likely to leave a new review because they know it will be read by someone on staff.

Unfortunately, bad reviews are unavoidable. Instead of ignoring them, it’s best to have a plan of action on how to respond to them when they appear on one of your business pages. It’s best to have someone with PR experience take on the responsibility, since they will know how best to address the customer grievance. Remember to take responsibility while remaining polite and presenting all the facts of the situation at hand. If something was the customer’s fault, remain polite but subtly include information that could help future customers avoid a similar situation.   

Research (legitimate) paid review programs

It’s generally frowned upon to solicit paid reviews because the people leaving the reviews will not be honest. Paid reviews that are presented as organic can be misleading, deceptive, and even illegal. There are, however, legitimate paid programs popping up that provide shoppers with free products in exchange for honest reviews. The programs, such as Amazon Vine, contact customers on behalf of your business and solicit unbiased reviews through their platform.

An important thing to consider when researching paid review programs is the concept of disclosure. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you need to know the rules of the websites and platforms that paid reviews may appear on. If a review is paid, there should be an acknowledgement of the reviewer’s connection to the business, brand, or product. Building up a collection of really successful reviews takes time and perseverance, and it’s important to consider whether or not a paid review program is something that fits with your brand.

Build your business by building reviews

These days an online presence is necessary for any successful small business to grow. Small businesses, from law firms to online stores, can build trust in their brand through honest, informative reviews. Really successful review campaigns not only provide free marketing, but they can also improve your website’s SEO performance and attract new clients to your business. Make sure to incorporate these tactics into your small business marketing plan to see real results today. 

Meta description

Customer reviews can make or break a small business. Take control of your business’ reputation by using these five tactics to generate reviews and develop a successful review campaign. 

Stock photos:

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Bio:

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Vitalii Nedzelenko is the marketing manager of Good Zone Service & Repairs. He is passionate about technologies, gadgets and digital marketing.

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