5 Tips to Cultivate Online Reviews

Posted on Jul 21, 2014

More than ever, consumers are turning to online reviews for guidance.  Reports have indicated that 89% of potential customers view reviews as “trustworthy.”  Another 80% have changed their minds about a purchase after reading a bad review.

The bottom line for all business owners–cultivate online reviews.  But where to start?

Getting online reviews may seem a little like hocus pocus, but there are ways to achieve success. Sometimes simply doing great work isn’t enough to earn your business an online review.

Here are 5 steps to begin your hunt for solid online reviews:

  1. Check out your competitors reviews on different websites.  Compiling a comprehensive list of common review hubs (Yelp, Google+, Facebook, etc.), then noting which are more popular in your particular field is a great start. Read the reviews for insight into your particular market. Don’t panic if you’ve already received a few!
  2. Choose review sites where you want to point your customers.  This might seem apparent, but try to be as specific as possible.  Generally speaking, target no more than 1 or 2 reviews websites.  One social networking website and one business-related review source.  For social network reviews, Google+ is a great way to start.  Not only are they owned by Google but there are many search engine optimization benefits for gaining reviews on Google+.
  3.  Determine your strategy for asking customers for online reviews. Requesting reviews will change according to your business.  If you are a small business, it might be as simple as asking the customer for a review in exchange for solid work.  You could provide small incentives for the promise of a review as well. For example, “leave a review on Google+ and we’ll give you $5 dollars off your next purchase.”  Simply asking a customer is always a better choice as the reviews are usually more genuine.  Larger businesses might write down procedures for their employees, or tips on how to ask a customer for a review.  You might give your employees incentives for convincing customers to leave positive reviews.
  4. Implement your strategy and revise. After a month of deploying your strategy, reassess your efforts.  Set a date on your calendar and stick to it. Even if your strategy didn’t go as expected! You might need to try again or tweak your approach.
  5. Manage your reviews.   Managing reviews is something that needs to be done regardless of whether you’re asking for them or not.  Set an appointment on your schedule and stick to it.  Expect to spend at least 10-20 minutes a month reading and responding to customers.  If your review sites allow responses, make an effort to manage the reviews on a daily basis and interact with clients.  Thank your customers regardless of whether the review is positive or not.

With more and more people turning to the web for recommendations, it is important that business owners of all sizes begin asking for online reviews.  Want more information or need help with your marketing tactics?  Contact us today for a free consultation.

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