8 Ways to Generate Positive Online Reviews

 

You don’t choose businesses that don’t have positive online reviews. Why should your customers?

There are, of course, many factors that play into this, but you simply must be found online if you want your business to succeed in this day and age.

Most companies that fail to get on the first page of Google search results aren’t being found by potential customers.

That probably makes sense, right? After all, think about how often you venture past Page 3 to find a restaurant, plumber, or virtually any other business.

We bet it’s not very often.

Well, your customers—and potential customers—do the same thing. They generally stick with businesses they find on the first page, and maybe the second.

If you want your business to be on Google’s Page 1, there are several things you need—including positive online reviews.

So why are they so important for your company’s success? Glad you asked!

Humans and search engines don’t always drink Dos Equis agree—but when they do, it’s about this

Weirdly enough, both humans and search engines think highly rated businesses are better than ones that have lower ratings.

Okay, it’s probably not that weird to consider that humans prefer companies that have better ratings. After all, “social proof” is a powerful force (even if it’s one we’re usually unaware of).

So what about search engines?

Google, and other companies, know humans want relevant, trustworthy results.

To provide searchers with the best possible experience—which means providing them with appropriate results—search engines use algorithms to establish their rankings.

We’re probably not going out on a limb here to assume you’ve heard the term “algorithm” used in conjunction with how webpages get ranked, right?

(If you haven’t, the quick, CliffsNotes definition is that an algorithm is a process of rules used by a computer to achieve an objective—like ranking webpages.)

A variety of factors is used when a computer tries to determine which websites and pages are most appropriate for the search terms given.

An example of this is comparing the respective amounts of time the average user spends on a webpage. This is considered a means of demonstrating relevance (and why your site needs compelling content).

Another of these factors is online ratings.

Since people want trustworthy results, search engines take ratings and reviews into consideration when compiling their lists of webpages.

This probably makes a fair amount of sense. After all, if Google comes across two sites completely identical in every facet—average time spent on page, bounce rates, etc.—but one has an average rating of 1.9 stars and the other has an average of 4.9, which do you think is going to rate higher?

Hint: It’s not the lower-rated site!

It’s not just about search engines! (Sorry, Google.)

Sure, there’s no denying the facts that:

A) You need to rank highly so people find your website.

B) To rank highly, your business needs to be rated well.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Search engines aren’t the only ones paying attention to online reviews—so too are, you know, actual humans!

We are at a point now where an overwhelming majority of consumers are reading online reviews (97%, in fact, according to BrightLocal’s “Local Consumer Review Survey 2017”).

People more than just read reviews, they take them into consideration when determining whether to buy a product or use a service.

In the same research from BrightLocal, it was determined that “85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”

That statistic says more than you might realize. After all, personal recommendation from a friend or loved one is the most powerful form of marketing.

All of this adds up to a pretty clear case—your business needs to have a stellar online reputation.

Okay, that’s cool, but how do you get online reviews?

It’s easy to see why your company needs online reviews.

Less easy is knowing how to get them.

Many times in life, people have a tendency to overcomplicate things—and this can be one of those times.

If you want something, sometimes you just need to ask.

So, our first four tips for generating customer reviews are centered on various ways that you can ask customers to leave them in the first place.

1. Ask In Person

This is a bit easier if you maintain a customer-facing position in your company, but it’s the absolute gold standard when we’re talking about getting reviews.

Seriously, just asking “Hey, would you be willing to leave a review of our company on Google?” can be huge as you look to establish your company’s online reputation.

An even better question to ask is “Hey, would you be willing to share your experience with us so others can know what to expect from our company?” After they say they’re willing, let them know how they can leave a review on Google.

Now, we fully get this can be a bit nerve-wracking or a source of anxiety (especially considering the “fear of rejection” factor that comes into play), but the best way to overcome this is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. After all, if you were pleased with a service or product, wouldn’t you be willing to leave a positive review?

The core consideration here is whether you have direct customer interaction. If you don’t, you should think about one of the following strategies.

2. Have Employees Ask

If you don’t have a customer-facing role in your company, you may need to rely on your employees to ask for reviews on your behalf. When you do, you need to start by imparting the importance of this—maybe have them read this blog post!—and giving them training in best practices.

In addition to individual guidelines and tips for getting reviews, you should give some consideration to your system for asking.

If you don’t have robust guidelines, you could end up with a situation where multiple team members are asking the same customer. Depending on that customer, this could turn a potentially positive review into a non-review or negative one.

Planning in advance and proper training can not only prevent such problems, it can also lead to the results you hope to see.

3. Create an Automated Email Campaign

You might think that sending automated emails to customers is gambling, since your email asking for a review could be delivered to the inbox of an unhappy customer—one who is most definitely not seeking to sing your praises online.

Here’s the deal, though:

When you create an automated email campaign, you can implement filters to weed out potentially unflattering reviews.

(If that sounds sketchy, it’s really the same basic thing as choosing which customers you would ask for reviews in-person.)

It’s important that your emails have optimal open and conversion-to-review rates. (In the event you aren’t sure what that takes, our team is well-versed in creating effective emails that reach target audiences and drive results.)

4. Use Your Website

Sometimes, customers would willingly leave a review without even being asked…they just don’t know how. You can help them by having a webpage dedicated to this.

If you do, be very careful in your wording. It is better to have a page that is more educational in nature, one that gives the general message of “if you want to help others learn about our company, here are places where you can do so and the steps you will need to take once you’re there.”

The inherent risk with this approach—one that isn’t necessarily the case with other practices—is that doing so makes it just as easy for someone who wants to leave a negative review as it does for someone who leaves a positive one.

(That said, you can manage this risk to a certain degree with strategies like combining your “Online Reviews” landing page with a targeted email campaign.)

One additional thought regarding various options for getting reviews is this:

The amount of opportunity for discretion in choosing which customers to ask (and which are better left unasked) goes down the list. If you want the most amount of control, it’s best to do it yourself. We know that isn’t always practical, however.

We also know it can be tough asking employees to do this for you. As such, you might want to really consider the third and fourth options.

Quantity AND quality (just like the CPS team!)

Asking for reviews is a big deal.

An even bigger deal is getting reviews that are positive; something you can achieve by doing things like:

1. Providing the Best Possible Customer Experience

As your marketing company, we can manage your branding, communicate your messages, generate sales leads, etc. The actual customer experience, however, falls in your wheelhouse. If you make sure each one is pleasant and memorable—and you ask—positive reviews will follow.

(Admittedly, this seems obvious, but it’s still worth noting because some companies continue to miss the mark.)

2. Being Social

Staying connected with customers has always been important. It’s just never been as easy as it is in the present.

Well, it takes time and effort, but the social media platforms and email capabilities we have now make forming and maintaining connections much easier than a hundred years ago when we had to write letters to every customer by hand or type them on a typewriter.

Connected customers are more likely to be happy customers. And happy customers are more likely to leave positive online reviews. So make sure your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts are being used effectively to cultivate those connections.

3. Branding Like A Pro

Consistent branding leads to customer loyalty. This happens as people develop certain expectations, and then your company delivers by meeting them.

What this means for your company is that you need to focus on your branding. The colors representing your brand need to be present in all marketing elements. People need to quickly recognize your brand’s voice. Your values should shine through in all communications.

When you do those things—even if they seem minor—it builds positive connections and associations between your business and customers. This is key for the online reviews you like reading.

4. Capitalizing On Your Negative Reviews

It’s rather cliché to say that problems are just opportunities. The fact of the matter, though, is that sometimes clichés exist because they contain (at least) a grain of truth.

In this case, the problem—a negative review—is most definitely an opportunity. See, people consider reviews when deciding whether to buy a product or use a service, but they also consider how a company responds to those reviews.

If you respond to a negative comment in a negative way, it’s not going to end up good for you. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” (speaking of clichés…).

Even better than maintaining courtesy and professionalism in your response is to try and engage with the review to find out what went wrong and what can be done about it. Done correctly, this can even turn negative reviews into positive ones.

Now, there are definitely do’s and don’ts when it comes to this, and our team can guide you through them.

We help you get the positive reviews you need.

It’s common sense that positive reviews are better than negative ones. Less obvious is the connection between your reviews and website ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs).

Now that you understand why you need reviews, and a couple of the ways how you can get them, it’s time to work on building your online reputation. As you do, your site will be seen by more potential customers. When it is, hopefully you have the content and marketing strategies you need to convert them to actual customers.

If you want, you can attempt to do all of this on your own. You are likely quite capable of setting up your own social media accounts, managing email databases, promoting your brand in a consistent manner, ensuring your website both looks amazing and is user-friendly, etc.

Of course, that’s a lot of time and effort—and we’re understating the “a lot” bit.

You can also let our team of professionals handle it all for you. We know what it takes to get results from digital marketing and will utilize time-proven measures so your business can grow.

Now we’d like to hear your thoughts. Connect with us today so we can chat about you and your company. What are your goals? How can we help you get there?

Call (833) 622-0907 and let’s keep this conversation going. (Set up an appointment and we can talk over coffee when we do!)

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