Any business properly utilizing online marketing will count online customer reviews as one of their most vital factors. People have an unprecedented ability to share their experiences with businesses in a place that other potential customers will see, and these reviews are vital.
In fact, a Google review today is even more valuable than a Google Ad – a Zendesk survey found that 90 percent of participants claimed a positive online review influenced their buying decision. Many social media experts and web designers focus on negative reviews and how to eliminate them; while this is necessary, you should also be focused on maximizing your positive reviews to simply drown out the negative ones. That means you need methods to incentivize happy customers to write about their experiences – here are a few for internet marketers everywhere.
The simplest way to ask for reviews is just that: Ask. Customers understand why they’re important, and if you provide a service they enjoy, many will be willing to take an extra minute or two and document the experience. Make sure to give these prompts immediately, as interest will wane if you wait, and whenever you receive a compliment via phone or a more traditional format, be sure to ask the customer to leave the same review online.
The only time a customer will go to great lengths to leave a comment is if it’s negative – for positive comments, they need an easy avenue directly available. Post multiple review links, and offer follow-ups through the proper channels.
Consider all sites that might be relevant to your business, including Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Local, Yahoo Local, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, CitySearch and others. General review sites like TrustLink work for many non-traditional review-driven industries.
Even happy customers will need a little extra prodding in some cases, and offering a tiny incentive is a good way to do this. Things like monthly giveaways are a good way to encourage reviews, but they also don’t come close to crossing the line into “buying” reviews – a monthly giveaway only gives a customer a chance to win a prize, not a guarantee. Also be sure the offer is for writing a review of any kind, not only for writing a good review.
Make sure customer service and sales employees are frequently soliciting reviews from customers. Some businesses find success placing employee incentives or bonuses on reviews.
Thank clients for their reviews, personally if possible. For top customers, consider sending discount codes or little freebies after a review is posted. This is a great tactic for increasing loyalty and repeat business.
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