There are so many factors to consider for effective SEO. And, the ranking factors constantly change. As a business owner, you likely get overwhelmed by the thought of running your business while simultaneously getting ranked high in search engines like Google. Thankfully, you’re in good hands here at 4theweb. It’s our job to make sure your digital marketing strategy is up-to-date and works effectively for your business. We handle the social media and content marketing strategies, link building, website design and conversion, and every other aspect of your business online. There something we can’t handle, however, that has an enormous impact on your online influence – and in some cases – how well you rank. This is obtaining real, honest reviews on reputable, respected review sites. Let’s take a look at why getting reviews for your business is so important, and discuss strategies on getting your customers to leave feedback.
Why Online Reviews are So Important
Reviews are a commonly overlooked part of local businesses. After all, you can’t control what people say, and people usually only leave reviews if they’re angry. Because of this, many businesses fail to curate their online reviews. This is a mistake. Your customers are reading reviews online, and they are forming an opinion about your business. BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey for 2015 offers us some eye-opening insights:
92% of consumers now read online reviews
40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews
68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
Let’s look at each of these findings separately, because they answer a lot of questions and offer us a glimpse into an often-untapped asset for many businesses.
Most People Read Reviews
According to the study, 92% of consumers read reviews when searching for local businesses online. Of that percentage, 33% read reviews “regularly,” while 59% read reviews “occasionally.” While this statistic doesn’t tell us how the reviews effect the opinion of the searcher, it is still important to understand that if your business has reviews, they are being read.
If Reviews are So
Important, How Do I Get Them?
We’ve established that getting reviews for your business is important. So, how do you go about getting them? We recommend a 4 step strategy:
- Provide Excellent Service
- Ask for Reviews
- Respond to Reviews
- Thank and Share
Provide Excellent Service
Providing excellent services and products to your customers is important for every aspect of your business. This should go without saying. It is the first step toward getting positive reviews for your business. If you ask people for reviews and you provide a low-quality service, then you’ll damage your online reputation. It’s as simple as that.
Ask for Reviews
We need to clarify one important thing as we discuss asking customers for reviews: You can’t ask them for good or favorable reviews. This is seen as spammy and untrustworthy. You may feel that even asking for a review from a past customer seems shady. It all depends how you go about it. Here are a few tips for asking for reviews.
When talking to your customers after you have completed a transaction, it’s as simply as saying “I’m so glad you enjoyed our service. You know, it would really help our business and other people looking for a trustworthy business if you left a review of your experience online. We would really appreciate it, as would other people looking for help.” This is unobtrusive and leaves the customer feeling valuable – after all, you want a review from them!
After you have completed a transaction with a customer, follow up with a thank you email. This is good for your business anyway, as it makes your customer feel valuable, and will cause them to be more likely to return. Here is an example email you could send to your happy customers:
Hello ___, (personalizing the email is important)
We want to thank you for your business. We are so happy that you found our services useful, and hope they will continue to be so!
We have a request that will not only help us provide better service for you, but will also give us an idea of where we can improve. Would you mind leaving us an honest review of our services on any of the following sites? (Yelp, Google Places, TripAdvisor, etc.) We would greatly appreciate the feedback, and truly value your honest opinion, as it helps us to provide better service. Just a few sentences explaining how we helped you are extremely helpful.
Thank you so much for your time and considering leaving a review! If there is anything further we can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.
Sincerely [Your Name and Business Name]
As you can see, this is an unobtrusive email that is asking for honest, real reviews. You are simply asking for feedback. Obviously, you don’t want to send this to any customers who were displeased with your service, but a customer who was pleased with his or her experience will look kindly on receiving an email like this. Remember – even if you don’t get a review from sending this email, don’t hesitate to send another version at a later date. People are busy, and emails get lost in inboxes.
Respond to Reviews
Once you have received a review, it is important that you respond to it to illustrate that you care about what was said. This is especially important when you receive a bad review. On its own, a bad review will shed a bad light on a business. But, even a negative review that receives a direct, respectful response from a business owner will offer insight for potential customers. A response from an owner provides a look at the other side of the story. You should also respond to good reviews, as it is an opportunity to thank your customer (take note, however, that some sites like Yelp ask that you not respond to positive reviews).
Thank Customers and Share
The final step of the process is to thank your customers. Thank them in your response, and also share the good review on your social media sites, and thank them for leaving the review. This provides an opportunity to thank your client, but also for others to see your review in a genuine way.
Get Reviews to Build Trust…and Boost Ranking
Asking for and curating good reviews online is one of the best ways you can build trust for your business. Most people read online reviews, and base their opinion of your business off these reviews. Implementing a strategy for capturing reviews and sharing them via social media will go a long way towards building trust and respect for your business. But, did you know that reviews can also boost your search ranking? They can! In our next blog post, we’ll discuss how reviews can boost your rank in search engines, which is yet another reason to start asking your happy, satisfied customers for feedback.