Want to advertise your brand but don’t have the budget for it? Just build up your online reviews instead.
A glowing review on Yelp, Google+ or any other site is worth just as much as a paid ad – if not more –in the long run.
It can bring in more leads, improve your SEO results, bring you closer to your customers and, in many cases, offer you valuable feedback that can help you better your business.
Reviews may be a great way to draw in new leads and customers, but actually getting your past clients to provide those reviews? Well, that’s a different story.
After all, your customers are busy. They have work and school demands, family members and loved ones to tend to, social engagements and a million other things going on in their lives. They don’t have an extra half hour lying around to write reviews and praise local businesses.
So herein lies the challenge. How do you get customers, particularly ones who were happy with your products or services, to return the favor and review you on the web?
It may be an uphill battle, but there are certainly ways to do it. Read on to learn more.
Easy Ways to Get More Reviews
If your business is lacking in online reviews, then it may be time to reassess your methods. Are you really doing all you can to encourage reviews and thank customers for providing them?
If not, consider using some of these tried-and-true methods to improve your results:
Incentivize your clients
Now you don’t want to pay for reviews –that’s just not fair to your competitors, nor does it elicit honest reviews. You can, however, provide incentives to customers and reward them for submitting a review on your behalf. This incentive doesn’t have to be huge by any means; it can simply be a $5 Starbucks card, a free meal at your restaurant, or a complimentary pair of sunglasses from your store. Just make sure it’s something your customers will want and love. Here’s a great example: say you’re a plumber. Purchase a dozen or so $10 restaurant gift cards, and bring them along on each house call you make. Then, once you’ve completed a job and are preparing your invoice, ask if the customer wouldn’t mind sitting down and logging a quick review for you in exchange for a gift card. Chances are they’ll jump at the opportunity to earn a little extra gift!
Put it on your business card
Your business card can hold a lot more than just a web address and your phone number. Why not use that space to include review information, too? Simple text like “if you’re happy with my work, please review me online!” is a great place to start. You can also provide links to your Yelp page, Google+ page and other areas where your company can be reviewed.
Create a review flyer
Sometimes, technology acts as a barrier to reviews. They’re not sure where to find the right review pages, and the entire submission process is confusing and overwhelming. With this Whitespark tool, you can create quick and easy instructions that walk your customers through every step of a review. Just print it out, hand it to a client once a job is complete, and they’ll do the rest.
Send follow-up emails
If you’ve got email information for your customers, then shoot them a quick email requesting a review. Thank them for their business, offer them an incentive, and give them direct links to review sites your brand is on. Make it as easy and painless as possible for them to post that review.
Create a reviews area on your website
External review sites are great, but chances are customers see your site much more often. Why not take advantage of that time, and build a designated review area right on your website? Let customers share their stories directly on the page, and make them available for all to see. After all, if a potential lead comes to your site and is considering one of your products or services, wouldn’t it be great if they could easily access real-life, unbiased reviews with just one click? It might move them significantly closer to making that purchase. At Spot On, we believe in this method so much, we build these kinds of review pages for each of our clients. We even set up a system that automatically reaches out to positive reviewers, encouraging them to post their stories on Yelp, Google+ and other external pages.
Get in touch quickly
Once your customers are out the door, they probably won’t think about your brand until weeks, months or even years later, when they need your services again. Don’t let them forget their good experience that quickly. Get in touch with them as soon as possible after their visit. Send them an email that evening, check in with a phone call the next day, or send them a thank you card later on in the week. Don’t let too much time pass, or the chance of getting a review will get smaller and smaller with each passing day.
Think of online reviews like the digital version of work-of-mouth marketing. In past generations, people simply told their social circles about companies and brands they loved doing business with. Today, they post it online for the world to see. Take advantage of this free form of marketing, and start encouraging more customer reviews today.