If you’ve ever made a personal purchase based on the glowing review of another customer, then you recognize the value of positive feedback for your business, products, and/or services.
But how do you go about acquiring such valuable feedback?
While the idea of asking your customers for online reviews may seem awkward—daunting, even—the reality is people generally love to share their opinions. In many cases, they just don’t know the opportunity exists.
68% of consumers left a local business review when asked, with 74% having been asked for their feedback.
Read on for 5 ways you can get your customers to give you reviews:
1. Ask in Person
“There’s no better way to ask for, and get, reviews than to do it in person,” says Marketing Land. A person-to-person request is extremely effective, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time with the customer.
Say, for example, you’re the owner of a furniture store. You might spend an hour or more helping a customer select and customize the perfect couch for their home. During that time, you get to know each other and enjoy talking about your families, hobbies, etc. In other words, you’ve started building a relationship.
At the end of the sale, there is no one better positioned to ask for a review than you, suggests Marketing Land. Explain to the customer that reviews help other customers who are shopping for a similar item, as well as providing a true perspective on your business.
2. Ask For Reviews Via Email
“Nothing can make a customer feel quite as appreciated than receiving a personal email from the business owner,” says ThriveHive. Select a handful of happy customers who have purchased a lot from your organization or customers with whom you’d like to cultivate long-term relationships and send them a personal note thanking them for their business and asking for the review.
Fashion your email like this one from ThriveHive:
Dear [first name],
As one of our preferred customers, your feedback is of the utmost importance to [business name]. We are constantly striving to provide the ideal experience for our customers, and your input helps us to define that experience. That being said, if you could take a minute to post a review on [review platform], we would so appreciate it.
We hope to see you again soon!
Alternatively, you could do an email blast to all of the customers who have recently purchased from you, using this example from ThriveHive:
Did you know that the number of [business name] fans has doubled in this year alone? We must be doing something right! Let us know what keeps you coming back for more. This enables us to continue providing the best experience possible for you, and helps others understand how [your business name] can make their life easier.
Keep in mind that follow up is important! A sales follow-up strategy is a great way to not only boost your revenues by selling more to existing customers but asking them for reviews. Create an automation within your point-of-sale or email marketing system so customers receive a simple email a few weeks after purchase inviting them to share their experience.
3. Claim Your Online Business Listings
Did you know that Yelp—which has more than 135 million unique monthly visitors and more than 71 million reviews—is the largest review site for local businesses? That should give you a little incentive to find—and claim—your Yelp page, along with other online listings for your business.
Sites like Yelp give customers an opportunity to leave reviews when they have positive experiences with your brand. You can also take advantage of industry-specific directories—like Angie’s List, or TripAdvisor—that are relevant to your business.
Make it as convenient as possible for customers to leave reviews on these directories. For example, place a Yelp badge on your website or add a Yelp link in your email signature, contact forms and/or newsletter, advises Forbes.
4. Acquire Reviews Via a Company-Wide Initiative
Sometimes accumulating reviews can be a very slow process until it’s adopted as an organizational initiative, asserts Marketing Land. Some effective strategies for making reviews a priority across your organization include:
- Start from the top down. Executives should be communicating the importance of acquiring reviews with the rest of the company.
- Help employees understand the direct impact reviews have on the business.
- Train key employees how to ask for reviews.
- Provide incentives for company departments that get the best online reviews.
Getting the company behind your online reviews initiative is the best way to make it happen!
5. Collect Reviews on Your Website
Include a super easy and convenient way for customers to leave reviews on your e-commerce site. For example, Amazon’s customer review platform uses a star-rating system (the most effective rating system, btw) along with written reviews. The company also offers search functionality so shoppers can read various types of reviews, as well as providing easy-to-find “write a review” buttons.
Whether you choose to place calls to action on product pages and in your email communications, set up a ‘Thank You’ page with a link that redirects them to a review platform, or provide a place for customers to leave feedback on specific products, make sure customers can quickly and easily find the designated feedback area.
Want to further encourage customers to leave reviews on your website? You’ve got to meet them where they are—on their mobile!
In this digital age, the majority of consumers will be interacting with your website from a smartphone. That means your site needs to be built on a responsive platform that is mobile friendly so it will adjust to the device’s screen size. This is crucial if you want your review system to display properly and accommodate thumb-based typing.
According to Forbes, not only are online reviews critically important to the majority of online shoppers, they also aid in securing your online visibility in organic search rankings, which will give you a competitive edge.
Forbes goes on to say that importance of consumer reviews in influencing buying decisions increases every year. In fact, Google’s local SEO algorithm changes only reinforce the importance of consumer reviews for visibility and rankings. Additionally, new tools and technologies for consumer reviews—including new review platforms and mediums like video—are becoming more and more common.
“User reviews are here to stay, and the longer you wait to start optimizing your reviews, the more you stand to lose.”
The good news is, you don’t need special training to start collecting positive online reviews. Use the 5 strategies above to get the ball rolling and in a few months, you’ll have the reviews your business needs to support your online marketing efforts and influence consumers to shop with your brand.
Also published on Medium.