How to Get More Customer Reviews for Your Small Business
The internet has drastically and permanently changed the way we do business. From the way we attract customers to the way we collect payments, almost every step of running a business can be and has been digitized, especially when it comes to marketing. Digital marketing campaigns are a must for any business looking to succeed today. But there’s something the internet hasn’t changed: word-of-mouth recommendations are still the best endorsement a business can get. In online terms, this means reviews, reviews, and more reviews. It is impossible to overstate how important it is to get more customer reviews for your small business.
Why do you need to get more customer reviews for your small business?
Successfully running a small business is no easy task. It’s harder than ever to break into pretty much any industry today – competition is fierce and more prominent, more established companies will almost certainly stand in your way. You can’t match their resources, so you need to focus on the most effective ways to market your business. And there is nothing more convincing to a potential customer than a positive review.
According to some estimates, more than 90% of consumers look at reviews before deciding whether to make a purchase. They trust reviews to give them a better idea of what to expect from a product or service. If the majority of customers had a positive experience, they’re likely to have one too. If the majority of customers were dissatisfied, they’ll expect to be disappointed as well. So they’ll always opt for the business that has a better reputation. Positive reviews can, therefore, make a massive difference in conversion rates, sales, and profits.
Furthermore, reviews are a great way to boost your rankings on search engines. Not only do they increase the time users spend on your website, but you can also turn them into rich snippets (something Google is very fond of). In this way, reviews make your business more visible online. That’s not something to scoff at – after all, people need to be able to find your business before they can become its customers.
What are the best ways to get more customer reviews for your small business?
The more reviews you have, the better. Having many reviews makes your business appear more legitimate, gives credence to the rating you’ve received, and provides you with valuable information about your customers’ opinions. So you should always strive toward increasing the number of reviews you have. But what can you do to inspire customers to leave reviews?
Go above and beyond for your customers
Most people are only moved to leave reviews when they have an exceptional experience; your job is to make sure it’s an exceptionally good rather than an exceptionally bad one. If you want your customers to share their stories, you need to give them something to talk about. So make sure that all your customers walk away satisfied.
This is one of the best ways for small businesses to compete with large corporations – you have fewer customers, so you can treat each one properly and go the extra mile every time. You just need to be able to manage your time well, and you’ll have no problems dedicating yourself to every customer individually. They’ll appreciate the personalized approach and your efforts; as a reward, you’ll get glowing reviews!
Make it easy for customers to review your business
With a few exceptions, customers are unlikely to go out of their way to leave reviews. If they can’t easily find the review page on your website, they’ll move on. So it’s in your best interest to have a dedicated review page that you include in your navigation – on the homepage, in the sidebar, or in the header. Add this to your website launch checklist so that you don’t forget it.
If you have separate pages for different products and services, you should also include a review field on those pages. This will give your customers plenty of options and make it easier for them to share their opinions. It can also help you sort reviews better. When you launch a new product, for example, you’ll want to know how it’s received; simply check the reviews on that specific page, and you won’t have to sift through general reviews that aren’t your focus at the given time.
Expand your online presence
It’s very important to have a well-designed and functional website. That’s the face of your business online; not only is it usually the first thing potential customers see, but it is also a way to make sales and market your business. By posting optimized content, using location-specific keywords, and interacting with your customers, you can use the full potential of your site to attract more customers and, therefore, more reviews.
But your website is not the only tool at your disposal. You should also create social media accounts and profiles on review websites. That way, you can collect reviews from multiple sources and interact even with customers who don’t use your website. An online presence across multiple platforms will further make your business appear more legitimate and improve your search engine optimization. So it would be well worth the effort even if it didn’t encourage more reviews.
Reply to all the reviews you get
Just like you, customers appreciate good communication, so don’t let your reviews sit unanswered. Respond to every comment you get to show that you’ve read them and are grateful for the feedback. Even just a simple thank you will go a long way. But you can, of course, go a step further and start a real conversation with your customers.
Most importantly, don’t skip the negative reviews. They deserve a response more than anything else. Address the concerns of your dissatisfied customers and, whenever possible, offer a solution to their problems. With a good response, you can change their mind about your business. Not to mention, you’ll show everyone else how much you care about your customers’ experiences.
Be clear about how much reviews mean to you
If you like receiving reviews, show it. Customers who don’t think their opinions matter to the business are unlikely to expend time and effort to give feedback. So make your customers feel appreciated. Respond to their reviews, share your ratings on your website, put the best reviews on your homepage, and talk about how much you appreciate the feedback. If you have a physical location, you can even ask for reviews in person. Set up a tablet near your register so people can review your business while still in the store.
Reward customers who leave the best reviews
You can get a lot more customer reviews for your business if you offer something in return. It doesn’t have to be anything major – a small discount, a gift with the next purchase, or something like that. Of course, you can’t give things away with every review, so make it into a kind of competition. You can reward people who leave multiple reviews or reward the most helpful and informative reviews. If you’re feeling especially generous, you can even organize some kind of lottery – make each review a new entry and give away prizes at the end. This kind of campaign plays really well on social media and tends to be very popular with younger generations like millennials and Gen Z. So it can help you improve engagement and attract a new audience in addition to increasing the number of reviews you receive.
Just ask – more often than not, that’s enough!
Encouraging reviews doesn’t have to be complicated. Most people like talking about their experiences and opinions; you just need to give them a bit of a nudge. Customers tend to get distracted by other things in their lives and forget to write a review if they don’t do it immediately. All it takes is sending out a quick reminder in the form of a post-purchase email, and you’ll collect tons of reviews.
If you are not in a position to collect email addresses from customers because you do most of your business in person, you can also ask in person. This is a good habit for small business owners because it will help you start conversations with your customers; you can learn a lot about what you’re doing right and what you need to improve by simply talking to people. Then, you can use their feedback to improve your business in the future.
What should you do after you get more customer reviews for your small business?
You don’t collect reviews just for vanity’s sake; they serve a purpose. To start with, they make your business more legitimate. Next, they’re excellent for marketing campaigns. Finally, they’re a great way to connect with your customers on a personal level. But getting customers to leave reviews is just the first step. You’ll also want to respond to those reviews and then display them where other customers can see them. It’s a good idea to implement rich snippets for your website as well; that way, you can display ratings and reviews on the search engine results pages.
But arguably the most important reason to get more customer reviews for your small business is so you can learn from them and find ways to improve. Your business is, after all, dependent on happy customers. And if you want to know how to make them happy, you need to know what they want. More often than not, you’ll find the answer to this question in reviews. So pay attention to what your customers are saying. What do they like? What do they think could be better? Use this information to develop your products and services in the right direction.