Online reviews are one of the most influential factors for consumers when making a purchasing decision, especially when dealing with small and local businesses. Because of this, business owners need to start treating their online reviews as direct extensions of their overall reputation. Today, earning and maintaining a high review score should be at the top of every business’s priority list.
Why Online Reviews Matter
To give you an idea of how much online reviews matter, let’s take a look at a few key statistics from a BrightLocal survey conducted on local consumer reviews. According to the survey:
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses when making a purchase decision.
- Consumers read an average of 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
- 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has an average star rating of 4 or more.
These three statistics clearly define the top two goals every business owner should be looking to accomplish when it comes to managing their online reputation.
- Have a minimum of 10 reviews on every review platform your business appears.
- Have an average star rating of 4 or greater.
Using these goals to measure your success, let’s now look at some strategies for achieving them.
How to Earn More Online Reviews
The first reality you need to face when trying to earn more online reviews is that most customers won’t go out of their way to leave you a good review. This leaves you needing to ask customers for positive reviews. The most effective way to do this is with an email blast.
After you’ve captured a customer’s email address, send them a message that expresses your gratitude for their business. Then ask them if they would kindly give you a positive review and provide a link to where you’d like them to submit it. When asking for a review, it’s best to be direct in what you’d like them to do.
For example, you could say something like: “We would greatly appreciate you leaving us a 5-star review so that we can continue serving more awesome people like you!”
Phrasing your request this way primes the customer to give you the star rating you’re looking for while complimenting them puts them in a positive mood. This is a better approach than asking for their “honest review,” or something along those lines, as they will inevitably begin thinking of ways in which they could have been better served. In most cases, this will result in them giving you a lower score than they would have if they were asked the question more favorably.
2. Display Signs & Posters
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, try putting up a few signs that ask customers to leave a review on your desired review platform (Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.). While this may not immediately bring in a flood of new reviews, it may give you a few more than you would have had otherwise.
These signs should be placed within view of customers but don’t blemish your location’s aesthetic. To avoid this, make sure your signs are professionally designed to match your brand. This is very important for maintaining brand cohesion and furthering their effectiveness.
3. Link to Review Sites on Your Website
Making it easy for customers to leave a review while on your website is a simple solution that will earn you a lot more reviews. While this can be done in many ways, the right solution will depend on your audience and website’s design.
One of the best ways to implement this strategy is by adding a review widget that displays several positive reviews and also allows visitors to submit their review in a single click. It’s important to note that this solution is most effective when it feeds in reviews directly from your review platform of choice. Doing so tells users that these reviews are legitimate and can be trusted.
If your website runs on WordPress, an excellent plugin to use is the Business Review Bundle plugin by Rich Plugins. This plugin can sync with your Google, Facebook, and Yelp pages to elegantly display individual reviews or your average review score in several different layouts.
If this feels a little too flashy for your tastes, you can take a more simplified approach by adding small social icons that link to your review pages at the top and bottom of your site. You can then add a small call-to-action for submitting a review and have it link to your review page of choice. The bottom line here is that leveraging your website to generate more online reviews for your business should be a no-brainer. So however you go about doing it, start doing it today.
4. Hire A Reputation Management Company
We can’t ignore the reality that many small business owners simply don’t have the time or resources to devote to properly managing their business’s online reputation. For these business owners, outsourcing the work to a professional reputation management company makes perfect sense. As we’ve already shown, having a high online review score is critically important to consumers. So, make sure the company you select lives up to the standards you expect for your company.
Barta Media Group’s Reputation Management Services
We understand how important a business’s online reputation is for its overall success. That’s why we utilize a 3-part approach for our reputation management services: Generate, Listen, Respond. What our approach boils down to is generating more online reviews for your business. Listening to consumer feedback wherever it’s posted so that you know what your customers think about you. Then responding to that feedback to either resolve issues or positively reinforce your satisfied customers.
To learn more about how Barta Media Group can help grow your business, visit our Reputation Management page.