Here are some suggestions for encouraging more reviews of your business. Some come from my own experiences as a review site “super user” and some are just good old fashioned common sense. Your comments are welcome. Just no 1-star ratings please!
- Participate in the best review sites. Not all review sites are created equal. Look for those that have features to reduce fake reviews and give business owners tools for responding to reviews. Activate your business account and optimize your business listing (it’s free). By claiming your listing you will receive notices when new reviews are posted and traffic reports on how many users viewed your business page each week.
- Be proactive with all your reviews. Thank your reviewers for their feedback, both positive and negative, in a timely manner. Yelp.com, the largest review site, allows business owners to respond publically or privately to your reviews. A personal message is a great way to acknowledge a reviewer and it shows you’re paying attention as the business owner. Caution: don’t be rude or defensive in any way. I’ve seen this backfire big time when a reviewer publicly posted the business owner’s rude response with their updated (and even more negative) review! Be sure to see my upcoming post on how to respond effectively to negative reviews.
- Take advantage of offers on your listing page. Some review sites such as Yelp allows businesses to post offers on their listing page. Since users of these sites are more likely to be active reviewers themselves, you are directing your offer to the top online “influencers”.
- Link to review sites on your website. Include the site logo with your other social media links, “Follow us on…” Again, I would only link to the most responsible online review sites like Yelp.
- Promote your presence on review sites. Add a link in your e-newsletter, include it in your advertising and social media pages. You can even blog about your reviews and link back to the actual review page. Don’t let a few negative posts make you want to run and hide. Your existing customer base obviously thinks well of you or they wouldn’t be doing business with you, so preach it to your choir!
- Point-of-Sale signage. Many review sites offer point of sale materials, such as static clings and stickers that retailers can attach to their door or cash register to promote their site.
- Be active in the Online Community. Be an active reviewer yourself. It’s a great way to gain understanding of the community and fun to do! Just don’t review your own business or your competitors. You’ll likely get caught at it and the penalty isn’t with the risk.
Lastly, it is considered bad etiquette to directly solicit friends and customers for reviews. And quite frankly, this tactic may not do any good. Some review sites have developed algorithms to filter out reviews from one-time reviewers or those with incomplete profiles because they tend to be less credible or even fake. However, promoting your business’s presence on a particular review sites is a good practice and will naturally lead to more and better quality reviews. As mentioned in my previous post, online reviews not only benefit your website’s search engine optimization, but your word of mouth advertising!
Speaking of word of mouth advertising–with Father’s Day right around the corner, here’s an awesome gift idea for Dad. This folding workbench by Bench Solution is a great way to add functionality and save garage space. He’ll love this garage workbench…and so will Mom!