Whether your business is B2B or B2C, having a flood of positive reviews and recommendations about your products and services can be an incredible difference-maker in your company’s online and overall success.
Positive reviews from your customer found on review websites not only send your website a strong stream of traffic, but more importantly are a major influence on your customers’ purchasing decision.
Positive reviews help your potential customers Know, Like, and Trust You.
Be Intentional About Your Reviews Strategy
Just like everything else in your business, a flood of positive reviews probably won’t happen on its own. You’ll need to be intentional and strategic. The good news is… it’s worth it.
Let’s get started.
1. Provide Remarkable Value & Service
The most important step in your effective reviews strategy is to first provide remarkable value and customer service so that the customer wants to give you a great review. If you’re not providing a product or service worth talking about [positively], there’s no point in developing a reviews strategy – your strategy instead is developing a product or service that’s worth a positive review.
2. Build a Strategy
Identify the top five review websites where a review or recommendation would be effective for your company. Include the main review websites like Google Places, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp. Also include a couple industry-specific locations. If you’re a local business, include one or two local review websites.
Create a spreadsheet which includes the websites you’ve identified. List each in a row, then create a column for each of the next six months. Every month you’ll record the total reviews you’ve received on each website. This will come into play in Step 6.
3. Ask for the Review
You want to begin by identifying the customers who are most likely to give you a positive review. I recommend starting with customers who you have the closest and most long-term relationship with and who truly value you and your product/service.
Suggest the Review Website Based on the Client
You want to make it as easy as possible for the client by minimizing as many challenges as possible. Basically you want to make it so the customer doesn’t have to put much of any thought into this.
For example, if you know the client has a Gmail account, then you know that they are at least familiar with navigating Google applications. In this case you’ll ask for a review on your Google Places page. If you know your client is an avid yelper, ask for a Yelp review.
Give a Step-by-Step Guide
You don’t want them to have to figure out how to do this for you. Remember, they’re doing this as a favor for you. List out the steps for them so they can simply follow your direction to get where they need to go. I’ve included an example email at the end of this post.
Ask for It, Don’t Pay for It
Most review websites frown on companies paying reviewers for positive reviews (including credits for products/services). Some sites, like Google Places, strictly prohibit it. Instead of trying to give the customer an incentive, simply ask them. Let them know that you understand they are very busy don’t want to take their time, but that it would be doing you a big favor to do this for you. If you make sure they know you’re not expecting a lengthy review and that you’re asking for just a minute or two of their time, they’ll probably be happy to help out.
4. Respond to the Review
If you have access to the review website as the business owner, many of the review websites will give you the ability to respond directly to a review (ex: Google Places). Often businesses will only respond to negative reviews, but why not respond to all the positive reviews? When your client gives you a review after you asked them to, respond right on the review site when applicable. For example, ‘Thanks so much for sharing Susan. We’re glad you had a great experience and promise to strive for excellence every day. Thanks Susan, it was a pleasure working with you.”
Also, make sure to respond to them privately as well. Give them a call or send an email telling them “thank you” for taking the time and that you’re happy to help them in the future in any way you can.
5. Promote the Review
Once you get a good collection of positive reviews going, promote these reviews. Reference them in your sales process, mention the reviews (testimonials) on your website. While many people may find your company from these specific review websites, also promote them from your other marketing. Your positive reviews show potential customers you’re valuable and low-risk.
6. Measure & Evaluate
You already created a spreadsheet. Now make sure to be intentional about your reviews strategy and stay on top of it.
Every month add up the total reviews on each of your targeted review websites, then set goals for the next month. Just by measuring this KPI (Key Performance Indicator) you’ll do a better job of staying intentional about your reviews strategy.
Please Share Your Successes
Have you had any successes with online reviews? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear what has worked for you (whether big successes or small successes).
Best of Success!
Bonus.1: Example Review Request Email
Example of an email that you would send to a client who values you and your product/service.
Subject: Personal Favor
I hope your week’s going well. I wanted to ask you for a quick favor. We’ve found that reviews from our clients are really valuable as people are looking into our company.
I know you’re very busy and don’t want to take much of your time, but would you be willing to take a couple minutes to add a review for [Our Company] on Google Places? You know I’d really appreciate it.
If so, here is a quick step-by-step:
- Click this link: http://g.co/maps/3y3nu
- If you’re not signed into Google, click the ‘Sign In to Rate’ button.
- If you’re signed into Google, click ‘Write a Review’
Thanks so much John. Like I say, I know you’re busy and appreciate the favor.
Bonus.2: Avoid these Google Places No-No’s
Here’s a good reference straight from Google on tactics that may get your reviews flagged or removed from Google Places.