It’s a fact: your business must have online reviews to thrive in today’s online world. Research I saw recently revealed that eight out of 10 customers will not hire a service or buy a product without checking online reviews, and 79 percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Many of my clients ask me how to go about getting these reviews, and they are surprised when I tell them how easy it is.
Here are 5 secrets to online reviews to help you start nabbing those juicy testimonials that make others want to do business with you:
The First 5 Secrets to Online Reviews: How to Get Them
Seriously! It can be that simple! People literally don’t think about posting reviews unless you mention it. If you’re a virtual business or you feel uncomfortable coming right out and asking, there are subtle ways you can do it.
Put a little note on the bottom of your receipt or at the end of your emails that let them know you’d love a review. Simply letting customers know their positive feedback is valued can make a huge difference.
2. Make it easy.
Provide the link to Google, Yelp, your site, or wherever you want the review to appear. Another way to make it easy is if someone comments on your service or products, ask them right then and there if you can use them as a testimonial.
3. Remind gently.
If someone says they want to post a review, but then doesn’t commit, follow up with a quick email. Say something like, “Thanks for agreeing to write a review! Then include the link again.
4. Did I mention follow-up?
It is so important! You often need to follow up more than once to nab those reviews. We all understand that providing a review isn’t generally on the top of the “to-do” list for a customer. So if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again — as long as you aren’t bothersome.
Think about using a three times rule, as long as you are courteous and polite, they shouldn’t mind. Tell them how appreciative you are, and explain how important feedback is — your goal is for all of their experiences to be as perfect as possible. So reach out immediately after you hear something positive; then again a week or so later and possibly one month later, if appropriate.
5. Share the reviews.
When you share your reviews in social media, it helps remind other customers that they had intended to write a review too. Make sure to always give your sincere thanks to customers who take the time to fill out any form of requested action. They are doing you the favor.
So now the hard part! Even my clients who want to be more proactive in soliciting online reviews fret about the dreaded negative reviews. Ugh. Those can be a killer. Would you be surprised if I told you there are actually five little-known reasons why negative reviews can be GOOD for your business?
5 More Secrets: Why Even “Bad” Reviews Are Good
1. Negative reviews make the positive reviews look authentic.
Who hasn’t read a string of positive reviews and thought, “I bet their friends wrote all those!” I know I do. So having a negative review mixed with the positive ones look that much more real. Look at Amazon. There is ALWAYS one positive review on the left and one negative review on the right. And we all know the almighty Amazon knows a thing or two about making sales.
2. Negative reviews are usually either SO negative that they look ridiculous, or more typically they are created by someone who overlooked some bit of info, and you just caught them on a bad day.
Maybe they are complaining about the size of something or a feature that was explicitly explained, which they neglected to thoroughly read. Or, they’re upset that a color isn’t an exact hue match, which can certainly happen when ordering online.
Often when people feel understood, and feel like someone is actually listening to their concern, you can end up with a brand ambassador for life. Maybe they didn’t receive something on time – through no fault of your own – but will become a great customer when you apologize and make it right.
3. Negative reviews give you an opportunity to show you want to make things right.
Often, the most damaging aspect of a negative review is if you don’t respond. But when you do respond right back, it gives a face to your service, a personality to your name. If you use the same social media venue to make it right, then you are showing that you take care of your customers. That gives other potential clients confidence.
4. Negative reviews can help you get more customers – because they let you fix a problem.
For the milder negative reviews, you might think to yourself, “Hmmm….maybe that is an issue!” And you realize that if one person took the time to say something, maybe others are thinking it! That negative review might give you the nudge you need to change something that’s a potential pitfall for lots of customers! And you can respond right back, thanking them for pointing out the issue, and telling them how you intend to fix it – not just for that customer but going forward.
5. A negative review can inspire your most loyal customers to post their own glowing review in response.
Many times I have seen customers come to the rescue of the shop owner or service provider to share their opposite, positive experience. Again, you can see how that negative review is sparking the positive!
The best thing about getting online reviews? The happy feeling they give you! Reading a customer’s words can be the perfect medicine on a tough day, when you’re working especially hard. And, giving reviews feels just as good! Why not commit today to helping share the online review love by finding someone whose product or service you value and letting them know! It will make both your days!
Note: There are legal guidelines that dictate what you can or can’t do related to testimonials, reviews, etc. so make sure to always read over these guidelines and consult with a lawyer if necessary.
Ready to ramp up your online reviews? Go get ’em! Then come back and tell us in the comments how it’s working for you.
About the Author:
Online Marketing Consultant Laura Wallis is “Web Navigator Gal,” on a mission to help dynamic, up and coming entrepreneurs navigate the world of online marketing so they can get noticed and grow their business.
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