Goals

  1. Set realistic and consistent milestones
  2. Consistently get more reviews
  3. Respond to and if possible eliminate any poor reviews

Why are Realistic Marketing Goals Important?

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” –Zig Ziglar

Positive reviews form the basis of your business’ online reputation.  They play a huge part in what businesses people try for the first time, or recommend to their friends.  Think of it as the digital equivalent of the Better Business Bureau.  Here are some key points to consider if you are unsure whether or not to invest time and resources into a review gathering strategy:

Why are 5-Star Reviews Important?

Positive reviews form the basis of your business’ online reputation.  They play a huge part in what businesses people try for the first time, or recommend to their friends.  Think of it as the digital equivalent of the Better Business Bureau.  Here are some key points to consider if you are unsure whether or not to invest time and resources into a review gathering strategy:

Positive Reviews Build Confidence

When it comes to online, the company with the best, and most reviews tends to win.  Many consumers will choose an overall strong review rating over price.

We Live in a Trust Economy

Reviews, especially in large volume, create confidence in your brand. Ultimately, people will believe in the review of friends family and even complete strangers over any sales pitch you can make.  And in our online world, reviews build trust and speak louder than just about anything else.

Research and The Golden Lead

Virtually every consumer researches their purchases (and store of choice) online.  If you have a large lead in reviews over your competitors, then there is a good chance that you’ve already won them over.  Basically, your customer will make up their mind before they even reach out to you.

Why Won’t Customers Leave a Review?

Customers can decline to leave reviews for a variety of reasons; they may love you and your business, but there might be that little something missing.

It’s Not Important to Them

People lead busy lives.  They might simply be too busy or distracted to leave a review or share their opinions with others.

Review Exhaustion

How often do friends ask you for reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, or to like their page?  Eventually, this might wear down on someone, to the point where they simply ignore these requests.

Your Customer is Too Polite to Tell You About a Bad Experience

Some people just don’t want to be seen as rude and so they won’t leave a review (even a negative one) if they have had a bad experience.  Don’t be afraid to tell your customer something like “I hope we’ve earned 5 stars from you, and if we haven’t what could we have done differently?”  You may not get your review, but you will probably get some valuable insight.

Your Customers Needs the Right Incentive

Some customers need to be pushed in the right direction (more on this below).  Maybe you could hold a monthly draw for clients who leave reviews, or if you want to go the sustainable route, let your customers know that a tree will be planted for every review received.  You may also choose a monthly or quarterly charity and make a donation for every review left.

How Do I Make Sure That I’ve Earned 5-Stars?

This part might sound a bit common sense, and chances are you are already doing many of these things, but here is a quick review of why people leave positive reviews.

Great Communication

It is important to respond to facebook and instagram messages, social mentions, and reviews (both good and bad) in a timely manner.  This will show engagement and activity as it relates to reviews.

Ask People if they’ve had a great experience

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback; you may want to even consider doing customer satisfaction surveys.  These can serve as an opportunity to get feedback, ask for reviews, and collect email addresses for future updates.  Surveys don’t need to be traditional or highly structured: you ask someone to rate their experience out of 5, or ask them what was pleasant, and if there was anything about their experience that could be improved.

How Do I Incentivize My Customers to Leave Reviews?

We all have our own motivations, and finding one that fits your customers as a whole could be tricky.  Generally, it is NOT a good idea to “pay” for a review – i.e. “Hey Jimmy, if you leave me a 5-star review there’s a $10 gift card in it for you”.  If people find out then this will damage your reputation; however, there are ways to incentivize your customer.

They Probably Like You

Many business owners overlook this point.  Your customers probably like you, and want you to succeed.  They most likely are informally referring business to you anyway, so if you kindly ask for a review, you may get one.

If your customer says yes, make the process easy – send them a link or have a QR code in your office.  Google Business links are a bit of a pain, so make it seamless to go from a yes to a review.

They Probably Believe in a Cause

There is no shortage of causes in our world.  Some causes might be controversial, but others are generally acceptable by the majority of the population.  For example, you might say that for every review left you will plant a tree, or donate to a local animal shelter.  This might spur customers to leave reviews (and encourage other customers to leave reviews) because even though they aren’t getting paid, they still feel that they are getting something for their review.  This can be a great way to combine social causes and fundraising with growing your brand.

We All Love Contests

The easiest way to collect reviews is via a contest.  Now, you can’t blatantly ask for 5 stars, but you could let your customers know via an email blast or face to face meeting that anyone who leaves an honest review will be entered in a draw.  Don’t be afraid to qualify this with something like “Hopefully we’ve earned 5-stars from you. If we haven’t let us know before leaving your review.”  Again, this gives you a chance to gather feedback and potentially nip a bad review in the bud.

Combining Brick & Mortar and Digital to Win The Review Game

If you have a retail front or anywhere you see your customers face-to-face, then it is crucial to connect your brick & mortar to your digital marketing to maximize the potential for reviews.  Customers may need to see your request multiple times in order to be convinced to leave a review.

For example, you might ask for reviews via an email blast and banner on your website, combined with a pop-up banner or mailer card (with a handy QR code to your review link) to reinforce the importance of reviews to your business.

Remember, don’t be afraid to let your customers know that they would be doing you a favour and it doesn’t really cost them anything at all.

Digital Marketing and Your Review Strategy

Don’t forget that social media is a great way to not only ask for reviews, but to highlight great reviews left by your customers.  This is your chance to be a bit boastful, and hopefully draw more reviews (and customers!) in.

And don’t forget that Google Business now supports posting photos and updates.  This content helps your reviews stand out and makes your overall reputation stronger.  You can even post offers or special events to maximize the value from your profile.

Questions?

If you would like further information on anything in this guide, please contact us by emailing info@sspmedia.ca.