E-commerce is thriving and so is digital marketing. Each day there is an increase in online sales and digitally generated offline sales.
As a business owner, you probably have keyed into these initiatives one way or the other, either through social media posts or ads or by having an online store or website of your own.
However, getting online reviews will help you to gain more credibility online and improve your reputation marketing efforts.
These reviews are what intending customers search for to influence their decision to patronize your brand.
Online reviews are essential in many ways. They boost credibility, improve sales, establish a presence, and serve as an extra form of PR. It is astute to control the online narrative regarding what you are offering.
This article will help you get positive reviews for your business.
Deliver Quality Services or Products
What your business is offering is the first key to a good online review. Being intentional about giving your consumers a great experience is the traditional and the most effective practice of getting good reviews.
It provides the least stressful way of getting your reviews. It is logical and workable that the efforts and attention spent on getting good reviews could have been devoted to delivering better services.
You should not chase reviews without putting enough effort into the product itself. A near-faultless product experience would make the reviews come in at a commendable pace.
It is the content that is reviewed. Organic positive reviews are created by having a well-thought-out product/service. From the idea of your content, there should be no room for mediocrity.
The creativity, production, branding, and delivery should each have a wow factor. Reviews tend to be specific. Consumers are more inclined to leave comments on what stood out for them (either positive or negative).
Improving the features of your product or having multiple features will help you create a buffet of content. The best part about a buffet is that there is something in there for everyone. Creating content with a standout feature every step of the way provides a better chance of the review being about one of the standout features.
The areas of focus of good content should be included in your business plan and should consist of:
- Customer relation
Creating unique content in these areas makes you a shoo-in for receiving positive consumer reviews. This is necessary as the reviews you will receive will vary. You should strive to get good reviews and reviews on each part of your products because different people would want to know about various aspects of a brand.
Take a hotel, for example, some people are concerned with the comfort in the rooms. In contrast, others are more interested in the pricing, and some who intend to stay for an extended period will be considering the safety policies and privacies in the hotel.
These different categories of people would search for their specific concerns online. This is why it helps to have positive reviews in all areas.
Reviews generated because of good content are more likely to generate sales because they are organic and spread around different aspects of the product. That is why it is still the best practice for getting online reviews to date. Work on your product first and then look into hearing great things about it.
Make It Easy For Your Customers to Give Reviews
Giving reviews is not always the problem your customers have. Most times, it is the lack of an avenue to air their opinions.
People tend not to give reviews because they do not have much time to waste. If you can help them do this quickly, your clients will be more interested in providing you with that review.
Many customers enjoy your products or services and are comfortable telling their close circle how great it made them feel. That is a type of review, and it can also get their immediate networks to patronize you, but it could do so much more. Creating a platform where such reviews could be aired will help magnify its reach and influence.
You could do this in several ways. Leaving links to where reviews could be dropped online creates a fast and easy click for your customers to say what is on their minds. Offline, there are ways in which this could be done by providing easy access points where the reviews could be done.
There are examples of radio stations and popular places with walls where people sign on or restaurants with a review card on each table. This way, the customers see a chance to give a review and feel more obliged to do so.
Not all customers have it in mind to give a review. However, the mere presence of a chance to provide the review could ignite their participation. Most customers that take these access points created by you are more likely to give good reviews because they are in the surrounding of the content at the time of providing such reviews.
This is why the supplied service or product should have been adequately worked on to be in good shape and use. Their current happy thoughts about the brand and the chance to give a review would jointly work in your favor.
Another good practice of getting positive online reviews by easing the process is to majorly provide these access points to returning customers. A returning customer is a testament to your product or service's goodness and satisfaction with their previous patronage.
Providing easy review methods, like a pop-up on their profile pages or a timely email request will give you a better chance of receiving positive online reviews. You are almost sure that the review will be positive due to the customers’ return.
Ask Happy Customers to Leave Reviews on the Spot
Asking for reviews is one of the most efficient ways to get reviews. Customers may not know how much a review means to you until you ask. They already have the reviews in their heart, but they ask themselves, “is there a need to say this?” after their patronage.
By asking for the review, you answer their question by letting them know there is a need for it. Timing is crucial during your request. Target a time when your customers will be relaxed and comfortable while also using a reliable communication medium.
For example, if you just delivered a pizza to a hungry client, it is not wise to request a face-to-face review at their doorstep even if you delivered faster than usual. A suitable method there is to place a call later in the evening to the customer when they have enjoyed the pizza, satisfied their hunger, and still have a good memory of how fast the delivery was. This is a strategy that works!
Out of courtesy, most customers would respond to your request for a review—have this in mind. This should inform which customers you ask for reviews. You should position such requests towards "happy customers" more. These customers have recently been satisfied with your services and have expressed their happiness.
Therefore, they offer higher chances of giving positive reviews to your work. Now, the question is, where do you find happy customers? The answer is quite simple, and it is dependent on your brand and the content. The positioning becomes a bit different if you offer a service from selling a product.
For services, the best time is just after delivering the service. Services could be rendered poorly, but most times, it is more about if they were completed. Completion provides most of the satisfaction when it comes to services.
The customer has already been satisfied, and there is nothing more. This is a good time to ask for a public review. You just delivered the necessary service. With good customer relations and delivery service, you would be unlikely to receive a negative review.
For products, though you could already get good reviews about your customer relations, your packaging, and your delivery at the time the customer receives the product, it does not get you a review about the product itself as it would not have been used yet.
This is why targeting the customers periods after their purchase is the best timing. After a well-thought-out period, you could ask for their reviews through your website, emails, or general social media posts.
A smart way of identifying happy customers is by sending them an initial rating survey, where they rate how satisfied they are with your product. For those who respond, you can follow-up with a request for a review from those who rated you highly (around an eight to ten).
Those are the happy customers. Make sure also to request their permission to share the review publicly. You can also request reviews from those who rated your business poorly to get an idea of your business's flaws and attempt to rectify them.
Two final notes on this are first to remember that the said happy customers are doing you a service and putting their names on the line by allowing you to share their reviews publicly. So do well not to take this for granted, and present their reviews in a good light.
Secondly, it helps to receive the reviews of those who rated you poorly privately. This allows for growth and gives you a chance to correct some wrongs that might prevent you from getting more positive reviews in the near future.
Make Use of Third-party Review Sites
Getting the reviews by yourself or on the spot is not always easy. It is also tricky to publicly showcase the long list of good reviews you could have gathered over time. This is where third-party review sites come in.
These sites contain accounts of different businesses where people can go and leave their reviews. They usually have star ratings, a topic, and a text area for the full review. Similar to what you find under each app in an Appstore.
It is appropriate to place a few reviews on your website or online store’s product pages and post a few on social media from time to time, especially the more expressive and detailed reviews. However, the more credible you want to be, the more reviews you should possess.
You cannot have a website saying that you have satisfied over one million customers, yet all you have to show is thirty-odd reviews. This is why you need to have an easily accessible page dedicated only to your reviews.
You could have such a page on your website (i.e. if you have one). It could be made accessible as one of the items in the notification bar. Many businesses, especially at their infant stages, do not have a website but still need to improve their credibility with online reviews.
Multiple review sites serve as a sort of catalog for businesses, ranging from Yelp to Sitejabber and Judy’s book, and the list is endless.
You just need to find the ones more connected to your type of business and create the accounts for your business. Being the creator of your business's page on these review sites helps you to have a bit of control over the description and information as regards the company on the page.
You should go over the most appropriate review sites to establish a profile. Many of them have better search engine rankings and more users. These are the ones that you should make your priority.
The downsides of third-party review sites are that they tend to take people out of your products' environment, and so many people have access to them, including those who have not used your product.
To properly overcome these risks, you should primarily have an adequate number of reviews on your website or social media pages, with links to the third-party pages only for those who are more curious.
Also, many people understand that just anyone could write on these review sites, but that does not change the fact that it could affect their decision.
This is why you should have a near-faultless product that you can be proud of and would naturally falsify the fake negative reviews on the page.
Give Public Appreciation to Customers Who Have Given You Reviews
Giving a response to a review is as influential as the review itself. A positive review could look so plain until the owner of the compliment acknowledges it.
This is the importance of giving feedback to the feedback you received. It shows that you were listening, that you agree with that statement, and provides a bit of personality to your brand as a whole. The same goes for negative comments.
Many people would not notice a negative comment about you until you see it. Then when you respond to it, they begin to think within themselves if they also believe that negative comment.
Having this knowledge is what you can use to control the narrative. Avoid having bot-like responses and put in some effort to personalize the responses.
The importance of a "Thank you" in a business goes a long way. It affects the customer. They feel important and have contributed to something worth it (and they have!). A thank you could be the sole reason a one-time customer becomes a frequent one.
Your appreciation feels like a bonus, and who does not want a bonus? It feels natural to appreciate a customer who just gave a review, especially for the above reasons. But, an extended effect is what it does to a customer that has not yet given a review.
Some customers feel like their constant return and patronage already speak for them as regards how they think about your product or service. Seeing you appreciate people publicly for giving a review makes them see how much it means to you.
This encourages those who genuinely love you (and your product) to attempt to make you happy by dropping their reviews. That is more positive reviews for you and a feeling of contribution from them.
Your response or appreciation could also be used to pass a message and get them to check out your other products or other features of the product they already possess.
This kind of communication could create a chain reaction of different reviews of the same product. The power of a well-executed appreciation could manifest more things than just a review if you play your cards well.
Appreciations could also come in different ways. You could take it up a notch and add a few extra incentives. There are times in the year when you have a discount to provide, a gift to give, or an exclusive presentation.
You could leave one or two of these benefits for your reviewers. Including such benefits, if they leave you a review, is another way of getting them to review your products.
The added incentive they are about to receive makes it more likely that you will be getting a positive review. Do not make this a habit that could end up looking like you are buying their reviews. Maintain a level that keeps it more of an encouragement than a bribe.
Implement Email Campaigns
Emails are an excellent way to reach your customers. What some customers need are reminders. They had it in mind to give you a good review but probably forgot along the line of their busy schedule. Your need for online reviews should be the alarm they require. Many big brands use this method because it is official and productive.
People check their emails often, making it a great space to access them. Sending emails at intervals would serve as the needed reminders and get them to provide an online review finally.
The intervals at which you send these emails are also important. You must balance showing that you want the reviews and spamming your customers or clients. It all depends on the type of product or service you offer.
There are recommended days for a couple of goods. For example, hardware like washing machines and fridges suggest about 21 days after purchase. There are many such online recommendations that you can research concerning what you offer.
There are also recommended timings for the intervals between emails. The second email usually comes at a faster break compared to other follow-ups.
You could also have a long waiting period after the second mail to give customers a chance to appreciate your product or service. Many automation software is available online to make your email marketing campaign a success.
Good practice in your email campaigns is copywriting. Getting your clients to open the email is a challenge, and so is getting them to keep reading and carry out the intended CTA. With good copywriting, you will be able to achieve this. This is why a bit of copywriting knowledge is needed for every business owner.
You could also hire professional copywriters for this task. Their conversion rates are high, and they help businesses thrive, but having this knowledge for yourself is also of enormous benefit. It will come in handy at some point.
A final note regarding email campaigns is to try to personalize them as much as possible. Get names, emails, and the products or services the customer received and include them in the mails to give it a more personal appeal.
This makes the mail feel more directed at the specific receiver, and they feel more obliged to respond as they do to other private and work-related emails they get.
Make It a Habit to Talk About the Type of Reviews You Would Get
Have you noticed bakers say “fluffy and moist cake” in their ads? This is a strategy that business owners use to put thoughts in their intending customers' minds. They establish a foundation for the reviews they would get, which is a good practice.
In the highlighted scenario, if you buy a cake from such a brand, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Is the cake truly fluffy?” And that is the idea. From your logo, your taglines, and your product descriptions, you should structure them as the type of review you intend to get.
You would be putting thoughts into the minds of your customers while they use your products or receive your services. This works so well that it sometimes places the focus of the consumer majorly on the qualities you have talked about. For example, the customer wants to find out if that big mac is truly beefy if that device's battery life lasts 5 hours, and if that earbud lets the bass sound better.
This effect also rolls over to the reviews. Suppose you have made it easy for reviews to be done or requested. In that case, most customers will look towards the messages you have repeatedly passed and endeavor to help you verify them by giving their reviews along that line.
With this knowledge, you can focus your branding on the unique features you have created within your brand. In addition, your customers will help you get the word out with their reviews. It is a win-win situation, with reviews, promotions, and other additional benefits.
Generating reviews on social media with this approach is also a way of discussing different features. Posts like "what do you think about our packaging?" "How would you rate our phone's camera."
It would lead to comments in that area and create some passive reviews that people can come across while scrolling through their timelines. The whole point of online reviews is to get others to see what previous customers feel about your product, and this also does the job so well.
The influence of this method could be implemented much earlier to make review requests. Hinting at the customers that they would give a review after trying out the product is a way to introduce it into their minds.
Now, you have said something like “Our oats will want you having more” or something more specific like “You will tell tales of comfort when you purchase our couch.” These will resonate in the hearts of intending customers, and when they finally patronize, it would come as no surprise to them when you request a review.
Make Follow-up Requests For Online Reviews
Random follow-up requests are the following line of action after getting the early and easy reviews from your customers. Emails are not the only way of achieving this. You could use creative social media posts that generate conversations around your products.
As mentioned earlier, positive social media comments are as good as reviews. Creativity in this regard involves making the discussion natural but centered around your brand. Copywriting knowledge will also be helpful here. If you can get your business to trend and a good product or service backs it up, you are in for a treat.
Social media has a huge population. It is an excellent place to get some positive reviews floating around. It gets to more people and could do a lot to convert those who frequent social media into customers. You could hire social media influencers or have brand ambassadors who would spread the word about your brand and get the conversation going.
These same people would later be used to ask for public opinions about the brand and, in doing so, generate many social media reviews. If you would be hiring, a good suggestion is to ensure that the influencers on your payroll also have some copywriting knowledge.
The follow-up request could be in any form. It is usually creative to try a different approach from the ones previously used to remind the customers and also get access to customers who prefer one medium to the other.
This is why getting as much information from your customers is necessary. You could get in touch with them through calls, SMS, emails, or even a face-to-face request, depending on the size of your business and the importance of the reviews.
It is highly influential if you get reviews from celebrities or public figures to whom you may have delivered service. Their online and offline reach would benefit your business, and such reviews feel more credible to their fans and other people.
Just remember that it is more about their influence and not their importance. Such people are not easy to get across to, so getting your review early and legally is important. This is where follow-ups may not work as much.
Lastly, you also need to have a limit. Your follow-ups should not last forever; else, you could already be blocked and not know it. Have a limit on the number of follow-ups each customer would get before you stop.
Use previous results, the longevity of your product, and other applicable statistics to come about your limit. All in all, it is best to keep it between 1 to 5 requests and then call it quits. You can not get all customers to give a review, and that is fine.
Work On Solutions and Give Replies to Negative Reviews
Not all reviews will be good, but you can try to make those bad reviews work in your favor. The narrative around bad reviews is that they are a dent in your brand and a reason why you should not be patronized.
An excellent way to fix this is publicly showing that the flaw is being or has been corrected. Thereby showing that you care about what your customers are complaining about and want to make things better.
It is good practice to go online and see what others say about your business. Check social media platforms, emails, review sites, and all other possible areas where your business’s name might be mentioned.
After duly appreciating the positive reviews, respond appropriately to the negative ones. Ignoring bad reviews in the same place where you acknowledged the good reviews could be used against you, which is another reason you must respond.
Your response should come from remorse, clarification, concern, or rectification. You can try to make it up to the unsatisfied customer for reviews that involve rare dissatisfaction. You can do this by offering a replacement, a discount on the next purchase, or an assurance of such displeasure not repeating itself.
If the negative review seems more personal and the customer might be proving difficult, an apology and a show of concern will do just fine. Apologize for their displeasure and invite them for a private discussion to help them sort it all out.
This tip is crucial because as much as you need positive reviews, you can not avoid the negative ones on this journey. However, if you can convert a bad review to a good one or win over a displeased customer, you will get good and possibly deleted bad reviews. It feels more than a win that way.
It is also worthy of note how important negative reviews can be to your brand’s growth. They help you figure out the parts of your business you might need to work on and the immediately required changes.
However, ensuring that your response is kept to a minimum of two replies is vital. Once you get into a public back and forth with a displeased customer, it will not look so good. Sorting out the problem with one response is the best practice.
If you do have to go out of your way and deliver a second response, make sure that it is your final public response that would either solve the problem, end the discussion, or move the discussion to a more private space.
Always Keep Tabs On the Methods That Are Working Best For You
A lot of valuable methods have been discussed thus far. The truth is, not everything is going to work for your business. But you will get a good share of favorable ones. It is up to you to try out all the methods and keep tabs on the numbers they provide. Using an excel spreadsheet would work just fine.
You use it to find out the conversion rate of the different media used, the time of asking that works best, and all other variety of steps and platforms you have used during review hunting.
With this, you will have adequate knowledge about the more profitable methods for your kind of business, and you can stick to them more.
The method(s) that generate more reviews should be adopted into your regular workflow and used to create reviews constantly. This allows the reviews to be as modern as possible, covering any new changes, corrections, or additions that have happened over time in the business.
In addition, establishing a structured review system removes some workload and you from the somewhat tedious testing phase.
It is recommended that you adopt more than one method. One method is not a good enough practice for your online reviews. You need to station reviews in significant areas of the internet– your website, social media, third-party review sites, and any other point of interest of your chosen target audience.
For example, your choice of social media platform will hugely depend on your target audience's age group and level of education. With proper research, you would know the platforms with a high population of your audience.
Outside of social media, many reviews should be available all over the internet. Productively positioned on your website or online store and also found in relevant and popular review websites for the more curious audience who do an in-depth search before deciding to patronize.
Using the details of your target audience, you should be well aware of the spaces they could be found and establish a review presence there.
This analysis is to be carried out at intervals to ensure that the adopted methods consistently bring in good reviews. Therefore, doing a performance review every quarter or half of the year is advised to properly keep tabs on the systems you have chosen, rise and fall.
Use Online Review Best Practices To Get The Most Out Of Them
Online reviews serve as references in the online portfolios for many businesses. They are credible to customers as they come from fellow customers like themselves. Therefore, it is essential to put in the work to improve your services thereby increasing your number of positive reviews online.
It will increase patronage and general online presence, which will be profitable and act as a good PR for your business. With a good work ethic, positioning, adequate follow-up on requests, and staying consistent with your working strategy, you will put your business name on the good books of the internet.
However, it is important to ensure your reviews are organically generated and not falsified. All types of reviews have their use, and you should be ready to receive any kind while working towards getting more positive ones.
Moreover, it is essential to have a right perspective towards unfavorable reviews. They are almost inevitable, do not let the negativity swallow up your motivation to offer better services to your clients. Furthermore, ensure you look into the areas of displeasure in these reviews.