Attracting reviews boosts your search engine page ranking, shows off the quality of the service you provide and helps to attract new customers. In fact, marketing experts Zendesk have found that 90% of internet users say that positive reviews influence their decision to buy. In 2014, BrightPilot found that 88% of consumers trusted online reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations, while 88% also used reviews to assess the quality of a business near them, so it always pays to maximize your customer reviews.
The problem is, not all customers think about leaving a review and good businesses can sometimes sell themselves short by failing to encourage positive reviews. So how can you put this right?
Use Facebook Intelligently
Whether you run a local restaurant, a boutique fashion label or a micro-brewery, the chances are you have a Facebook page. It’s also highly likely that your followers leave feedback about the services you provide, but however many reviews you are generating on Facebook, you can always do better.
Make a point of informing customers about your Facebook page. You could include it on physical receipts, in-store posters or at the checkout stage of your online store. Just make sure that people know about your social media profile and ask them to leave a review.
You could also offer rewards for Facebook reviewers. There’s nothing wrong with offering 50% off a customer’s next meal or a free t-shirt for the week’s best review. Aggregate reviews as well to show off the best feedback. A weekly blog digest or a section of your newsletter would be ideal.
Get Listed On the Directories that Matter
The web is full of business directories dealing with everything from event organizers to automobile parts suppliers, so find out which directory applies to your business sector and make sure you have a listing. For example, if you are located in a tourist destination, a TripAdvisor listing is a must, while most businesses can benefit from a Yelp profile as well.
Some directories encourage user feedback in the form of photos, which can be a good way to advertise the atmosphere at your restaurant or bar. Almost all of them include star ratings or reviews, so mention this to customers if you can. Include your listing URL on your social media accounts and website to maximize the chances of customers leaving a review.
Exploit Your Email List and Use Your Website
Your email list isn’t just there to promote your products. You can also send out a call for customers to leave their feedback on major listings sites, so don’t be afraid to make a request.
Make it as easy as possible for customers to find the right places to leave a review, and include a form on your website as well. A simple customer feedback form linked to order and delivery confirmations can generate plenty of positive reviews, which can then be aggregated and sent out via newsletters.
Your email list can also form the basis of customer surveys. Make an appeal for participants and offer generous rewards if they will give you half an hour of their time. The level of detail provided by survey respondents goes far beyond simple reviews, and it can be invaluable in finding out how customers are experiencing your business.
Attract Recommendations via LinkedIn
If you work in the B2B sector, it’s likely that your sales team has a strong LinkedIn presence. It’s well known that using LinkedIn is a great way to find and contact potential customers, but fewer companies appreciate that it’s also a good way to attract feedback.
When your sales team complete a deal, they can ask clients to leave a recommendation (and many happy customers will do so anyway). Make sure that your staff harvest all of these recommendations on a regular basis and use them as proof of expertise to enhance your reputation.
You could also try an incentives scheme to make attracting reviews a key part of your sales team’s role. That way, you can ensure that staff make the right requests and gather feedback as efficiently as possible.
Don’t Forget About Video Reviews on YouTube
Some companies attract plenty of video feedback via YouTube, but they don’t always use this content to promote their products. For example, power tools manufacturers often have a loyal following, and customers use their tools to complete YouTube how-to guides. That’s great marketing material, so ask the user if you can use it and send it out via social media.
You could also target key customers and ask them to produce a review, with a free product as a reward for their efforts. Competitions are another great idea, allowing companies to harness the creativity of their customer base.
Use Alerts to Ensure You Never Miss A Mention
Many reviews and testimonies go unnoticed by the companies involved, but there is no reason this should be the case. If you want to harvest as many reviews as possible, set up a Google Alert using your company name, product names and any keywords that relate to your products. Make a point of sifting through the results, as they will often feature useful feedback.
Tools like Social Mention are also indispensable. In the constant chatter of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, reviews can easily be lost, so keep track of every mention.
Always Make Reviewers Feel Valued
Reviewers play a crucial role in making online businesses a success. They boost your reputation, tell others about what you do and provide free marketing (aside from actually buying your products in the first place). So give them a reward for what they do.
When people mention you on social media, thank them for their feedback. When they leave reviews on Yelp, let them know you appreciate it. Be sure to respond constructively to negative reviews as well. A well-answered complaint shows that you care about improving your service, and it’s almost as useful as a five-star review.
If you don’t take action, masses of reviews won’t materialize automatically. No matter how great your designs are or how tasty your food is, you should actively encourage customers to leave reviews. Reviews are vitally important, so put a strategy in place to maximize your feedback. The effort will always pay off.