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Get more Google reviews: 15 strategies for local reputation management. Tips and tactics on how to increase your Google review volume and star rating.
It’s an important question being asked by every business owner, entrepreneur and online marketer these days. Luckily, it’s also a challenge Widewail has been tackling for a long time now, and we’re here to help.
Here are 15 proven strategies to help you start generating more online customer reviews - broken down by tactic, tips, impact and level of effort - which you can start using to your advantage today.
And remember: negative reviews are often guaranteed no matter how well a business is run. Positive reviews, however, are usually the result of direct requests.
Online reviews provide invaluable social proof which helps inform the purchasing decisions of prospective customers. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In today’s world, reviews have the power to catapult your business to the top of local search rankings, serve as effective marketing collateral, and even help you get more reviews on a more frequent basis.
Seeing as 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family, the power of online reviews to help attract new customers and retain current ones shouldn't be ignored. It should be embraced.
So, how can you bring in more customer feedback for your business? There’s no shortage of ways to get started, but let’s look at fifteen strategies you can implement to get more reviews.
The Tactic: Possibly the most important element of any effort to get more reviews? If you don't ask, you'll rarely receive. We find that when asked, around 20% of customers leave a review. To translate, the more customers you ask, the more reviews you’ll end up getting. You're leaving opportunities on the table if you're only asking 50% or 75% of your customers for feedback. Cast a wide net and ensure you’re asking every customer who does business with you to join the conversation.
The Tips: Automate the review outreach process by sending an invitation to every customer who purchases goods or services from your business. Also, since it’s against Google policy to ask only happy customers for feedback or to incentivize writing a review, you’ll avoid having your reviews removed and ensure you’re complying with all guidelines.
The Impact: As we said before, asking more people for reviews will lead to more of them. Based on the statistics above, if you ask 100 customers for a review a month, you should get around 20 reviews a month. That can make a big difference for a small business on the up and up!
Nothing’s a sure thing, and maybe you won’t receive as many reviews as you were hoping for after reaching out to all your customers. However, expanding customer outreach will likely help you get more online reviews in the long run.
Level of Effort: HIGH
Negative reviews are assured. Positive reviews often have to be requested. It takes some time to compile customer information, develop email templates, and schedule out review request messages. Be prepared to have your internal team spend a considerable amount of time consistently executing an outreach of this scale.
The Tactic: While there are multiple ways to ask your customers for reviews, text is the most streamlined and effective. 9 out of 10 customers say they want businesses to communicate with them via text message. Further, over 97% of messages are opened within just 4 minutes of receipt. Therefore, if your goal is to get more reviews, text can help you get results quickly and easily.
The Tips: Send a post-sale text to your customers to encourage them to leave your business a review. Communicating via text is a familiar and user-friendly way to encourage your customers to share their experiences. If manually sending texts to each of your customers is too time-consuming and hard to manage long-term, consider automating the review generation process with Invite. Invite allows you to easily integrate your point of sales system and customer data to ensure no review opportunities are missed.
The Impact: When you send texts, you get more reviews. It’s that simple. SMS is the most effective way to generate results and connect you directly with your happy customers.
Level of Effort: HIGH
Communicating with your customers via text, while incredibly effective, can be time-consuming and difficult for small business owners to manage. Aside from this, there are multiple protocols that must be kept in mind when considering SMS engagement.
Make it easier: Widewail registers all Invite users with The Campaign Registry, a reputation authority that works to protect customers from spam and increase overall text deliverability for businesses. Through the Campaign Registry, businesses offering messaging software can register A2P 10DLC (Application-to-person 10-digit long codes) campaigns directly with major carriers. With Widewail, your texts will be delivered from local landline numbers directly to your customer’s own phone number. It’s trustworthy and fully compliant.
The Tactic: Products that cost over $100 get almost 10% more reviews than products that cost under $30. Your big spenders are more motivated to leave reviews since they are investing more money into your business. With this in mind, start your customer outreach efforts by prioritizing customers who have placed large orders with you in the past. You’re more likely to hear back from them.
The Tips: Review recent order information to pinpoint the customers who have spent a considerable amount on products or services from your customers. Additionally, look for loyal customers - those who have placed multiple orders have done so for a reason. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase their happy voices.
The Impact: Starting the process by going after the high-paying customers will likely yield solid results from the get-go. If you’re looking to get more Google reviews and get them fast, reaching out to your big spenders first is likely a quick win.
Level of Effort: MEDIUM
If your CRM makes it easy to filter a list of recent transactions by order size and export the contact information, tackling this project should be relatively easy. If not, skip this strategy, save the time, and put it towards asking all customers for a review.
The Tactic: It’s certainly easier to send out the same message over and over to customers asking for a review. But your patrons will be more inclined to leave a review when they’re asked by (or think they're asked by) a real person versus an automated system. Personalizing your review requests will communicate in a relatable way who is reaching out and why, which minimizes confusion and increases click-through rates.
The Tips: Through automated review generation software (and perhaps some assistance from a review management company), you can personalize your messages with the customer’s name and reference the employee they worked with at the store without having to manually customize each request individually. Having technology in place that can pull relevant information about the customer and include it in a review request is an easy way to personalize your messages without eating up too much valuable team time.
The Impact: Your review requests may be beautifully designed and written, but if they come across as cold and impersonal, your open and response rates will remain low. Personalizing both your review requests and your responses will help customers see your brand as people-powered and customer-centric, which will help improve customer retention rates and new customer acquisition.
Level of Effort: HIGH
Personalized review requests are made much easier when you’re armed with the proper tools and resources. But trying to manage this initiative in-house without the help of software or third-party vendors will prove to be a behemoth of a challenge. Do some research on effective review management tools, software, and vendors if you want to save yourself time, money, and resources in the long run.
Make it easier: Widewail's review request software will pull the customer name and representative name directly from the business's customer database. We can even help you get more video reviews.
The Tactic: If you’re sending marketing collateral or order confirmations to your customers through email, consider adding a review link in your email signature. This is a simple way to increase the visibility and accessibility of your review sites and give customers another avenue to leave a review of your business.
The Tips: The process for updating your email signature to include a review link is a piece of cake. Simply go into your email signature settings on your preferred email platform, update the text of your signature to include something like “Click here to leave us a review”, hyperlink that text to your review form, and presto! You’re all set.
The Impact: Unlike the strategies mentioned above, don’t expect this tactic to yield major results. Most people won’t bat an eye at your email signature. Also, there’s no context for your review link, meaning people aren’t likely to click on it. You might get a review via your email signature here and there, but all in all, this review generation strategy won’t be cost-effective.
Level of Effort: LOW
Again, it’s easy to update your email signature to include a review link. Updating email signatures that are included in marketing and sales emails shouldn’t take more than a few hours.
The Tactic: In today's competitive business landscape, it's all about establishing trust. 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a business more and that they are more likely to make a purchase. To build a successful business, you need to prove that you're trustworthy and that your product/service is worth investing in. One of the most effective ways to do this is by sharing customer feedback via social media. Not only does this serve as social proof for potential customers, but it also offers a glimpse into your company's values and culture.
The Tips: Make a TikTok sharing positive video testimonials from your customers, post a screenshot of a funny 5-star review on your Instagram story, or share a quote from one of your satisfied clients via LinkedIn. However you choose to highlight customer feedback, publicly showcasing the voices of your happy customers will only work to humanize your business, establish trust, and offer appreciation to your supporters.
The Impact: By sharing authentic customer experiences on social media, you are showing both potential and current customers what kind of experience they can expect to have working with you. You are also publicly demonstrating that you value customer feedback, which encourages engagement and establishes both credibility and trust for your business in the eyes of the consumer.
Level of Effort: LOW
Keeping your social media pages fresh and up-to-date with positive customer feedback is a simple way to keep your customers engaged and take control of your business’ narrative. Social media is the perfect platform for building a sense of trust in your online community - which drives conversions and will help establish your brand.
The Tactic: Roll up your sleeves and gather reviews the old-fashioned way! Whether the process happens in person or over the phone, train your employees to physically ask customers for reviews once they’ve made a purchase. Your employees also need an easy way to get patrons to submit the review (e.g. sending them a direct link via email or text to leave a Google review).
The Tips: Customers will be more inclined to provide some level of feedback when they’re asked by a real person, as opposed to being asked via email or text. Get your employees in the habit of asking customers for a review once they’ve closed a sale or completed a transaction.
The Impact: When a review request comes from a friendly, thoughtful employee versus a line of text, customers will see your review request as genuine instead of pushy. You don’t want your employees spending too much time hounding customers in person or over the phone for a review (especially if other customers are waiting for assistance), but training them on knowing when and how to ask for a review will likely lead to increased feedback.
That being said, you don’t have any control once your customers leave the store or hop off the phone, so a verbal commitment by them to leave a review may not result in one.
Level of Effort: MEDIUM
Training your employees on how to effectively ask for customer feedback will naturally take some time. Additionally, your employees may have a hard time finding the time to ask for a review and knowing which customers to ask. There may be some learning curves along the way, but once your employees are trained in the art of requesting reviews, there’s not much need for ongoing maintenance.
The Tactic: Asking for a review is a good start, but if you want to get more detailed and relevant feedback on how to improve your business, you need to ask the right questions. Further, taking the time to ask your customers thought-provoking and specific questions tailored to their individual experiences will make the review process more engaging and worthwhile - which will increase the chances of them leaving a review altogether.
The Tips: To encourage participation in your review campaigns and increase reviews, consider asking more open-ended and personalized questions. For example, instead of asking, “how was your experience?” ask “what surprised you about using our product?” or “what problem does our product/service solve for you?”
The Impact: By asking the right questions, you can gain valuable insights into what customers think of your product/service. This will help you identify areas of improvement and make the necessary changes to keep your customers satisfied. It will also make an otherwise impersonal review process more engaging for your customers, increasing the likeliness of them participating.
Level of Effort: MEDIUM
When it comes to asking engaging review prompt questions, it’s important to keep in mind what review request channel you are working in. If you’re asking for reviews in person, asking the right questions should be simple. Give your customer a hard-copy list of prompts or ask them directly what was unique about their visit.
If you’re asking for reviews via email or text, it can get more complicated.
It’s more difficult to keep track of a customer’s individual experience when you are communicating with them via text or email. The process becomes even more convoluted if you’re reaching out to customers who have worked with your business in the past.
Make it easier:
Widewail Campaigns simplify the review request process and make it easy to target specific customers in a personalized and relatable way. They give you the ability to optimize your marketing strategy and generate feedback that is most useful for your business. Learn more about the power of Campaigns here.
The Tactic: Google is where most people will go to find your business. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure all information listed in your GBP is accurate. The more optimized and up-to-date your GBP, the more apt people will be to choose your business over others, ultimately increasing your review volume.
The Tips: Once you’ve claimed your GBP, the next step is to maintain it. Take the time to fill out each section of your profile (business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, etc.) and upload high-quality images. Engage with your customers by responding to your reviews - the more active your review thread, the more likely past customers are to leave their own. A consistently managed GBP will be more successful in drawing new customers and getting more reviews for your business.
The Impact: By optimizing your GBP, you ensure your listings are accurate and make it easy for customers to find and engage with your business. This can substantially increase your business’s online presence and by extension, your review volume. Further, by consistently featuring high-quality and informative content, you work to establish trust with your consumer base.
Level of Effort: MEDIUM
Maintaining accurate online listings ensures your customers have easy access to information about your business, which is essential. However, it takes a lot of time and effort. While a well-monitored GBP will work to attract new customers, it’s crucial to remember that your online presence extends beyond Google, which is where things can get tricky.
Make it easier:
Listings Management is a simplified way to accurately manage your business from one central dashboard, ensuring your business information is correct across more than 75 sites. Maintaining accurate listings will help you build trust, increase search ranking visibility, and ultimately lead to a stronger online reputation.
The Tactic: Creating a review landing page on your website encourages customers to leave reviews for your business. It serves as a central hub for collecting and showcasing customer feedback. It also can work to consolidate reviews from various platforms - making it easier for customers to share their experience working with you.
The Tips: Feature positive customer testimonials directly on your review landing page. This will increase visibility and work as social proof for customers deciding whether to choose your business. Further, to encourage participation, you can include a call-to-action (CTA) on your review landing page, prompting visitors to leave a review themselves.
The Impact: A review landing page centralizes the review process, making it easy for customers to share their experiences. By showcasing positive reviews on your website, you establish credibility and trust with your visitors and build your business’s reputation.
Level of Effort: HIGH
Building and maintaining an effective review landing page requires high initial effort. It requires everything from design and content creation to integrating review platform links to engaging with customers. Once established, however, satisfied customers will use your platform to leave reviews, and visitors will be encouraged to do the same.
The Tactic: The level of transparency and authenticity associated with video content motivates customers to trust and engage with your business - contributing to your review volume overall. When you invest in video, you invest in the voice of your customers and use their words to help convert future buyers.
The Tips: When launching a successful video testimonial strategy, step one is to identify those customers most likely to leave your business a positive review. Next, it comes down to physically getting the take. Ensure video testimonials are well-shot, well-lit, and have clear audio by providing step-by-step instructions for your customers. High production quality makes a positive impression and looks good for your brand. Further, encourage your customers to speak as naturally and honestly as possible by supplying them with prompts. A testimonial should be relatable, so avoid scripting or over-editing the videos.
For more tips on optimizing your video testimonial strategy, check out The Complete Guide to Video Testimonials.
The Impact: Video testimonials are effective because they’re human. They instill trust in your business - potential customers can physically see and hear the enthusiasm of existing customers. Further, videos serve as a unique differentiator for your business. Marketing campaigns fuelled by video will stand out from those relying solely on text-based reviews, making your business more memorable in a crowded market.
Level of Effort: HIGH
Investing in a comprehensive video testimonial strategy for your business requires high effort. Identifying and reaching out to satisfied customers willing to participate can be time-consuming. Further, crafting guidelines and shooting/editing video testimonials while maintaining authenticity and high quality can be expensive and challenging.
Make it easier: Invite Video streamlines video review generation for you, getting you more videos, saving you money, and making the process easy for your customers to follow. With Invite Video, you can easily reach your happy customers and even automate the process via SMS, effortlessly and conveniently activating positive voices for your brand.
The Tactic: By providing valuable and educational content to your audience, you build trust and credibility among your customer base. Webinars and workshops allow you to directly engage with your audience, answer questions, and create a sense of community, all encouraging reviews for your business.
The Tips: Select topics that align with your expertise and the interests of your audience. Topics should offer valuable insights or solutions to common challenges in your industry. Further, promote your webinars and workshops through your website, email marketing, and social media channels in advance. The more interactive and inclusive your sessions are, the more likely your customers will be to share their experiences.
The Impact: Hosting webinars positions your business as a trusted authority - enhancing your reputation and encouraging participants to leave reviews that reflect your expertise. They also work to foster a sense of community among your audience members, making them more likely to interact with each other and share their experiences through reviews.
Level of Effort: HIGH
Hosting a successful webinar or workshop for your local business requires time and effort in planning, content creation, and promotion. However, the value, trust, and authority you build during webinars will encourage your customers to choose your business and share their experiences through reviews. Over time, webinars serve as a dynamic strategy to engage your audience and highlight their positive experiences.
13. Respond to All Reviews
The Tactic: If you want to build your business’s reputation and get more reviews, responding to every review is key. By responding to good and bad reviews, you demonstrate to your customers that you care about their experiences. You also position your business as trustworthy and accountable, which goes a long way in generating business.
The Tips: Respond to reviews quickly and professionally, and always address the reviewer by name in your responses. This personalized approach adds a level of sincerity to the interaction. Further, take the time to acknowledge all feedback (good and bad) and encourage disgruntled reviewers to reach out to you directly rather than publicly accepting blame. In doing so, you keep all conversation out of the public eye while expressing to your customers that you care.
For more tips and over 56 examples on how to successfully respond to reviews, see our Review Response Guide.
The Impact: By actively responding to reviews, you show your customers that you value their experiences and work to position your business as a trustworthy player. The more two-way interactions you have with your customers, the more they will be encouraged to share their positive feedback - getting you more reviews and increasing your business rating.
Level of Effort: HIGH
Responding to every review is time-consuming and demanding. It’s often difficult to find the hours in your day to address every customer concern or thank every 5-star reviewer online. Further, the response process can be intimidating. Both current and future customers see what your business posts online, and managing that platform can be overwhelming.
Make it easier: Widewail’s Engage eliminates the pressure of responding to reviews. Instead, it entrusts it to a team of real people qualified to handle any potential review situation. Investing in Engage ensures that every review is responded to within 24 hours, giving you and your team time back in your day to dedicate elsewhere. It also guarantees each response is personalized, relevant, and on-brand for your business.
14. Offer Incentives - The Right Way
The Tactic: Offering incentives to your customers can significantly boost review volume for your business. By providing rewards such as discounts, loyalty points, or exclusive access to content, you create a positive feedback loop that motivates customers to share their experiences. Overall, incentives drive more reviews while fostering customer engagement and loyalty.
The Tips: Due to both FTC guidelines and strict policies on many popular review sites such as Google and Facebook, it’s not advised to incentivize all reviews for your business. Instead, we suggest employing incentives to get reviews (written or video) for your website and social channels.
Note that when you include incentivized reviews in your marketing, the FTC requires a disclaimer that the reviews were part of an incentivized campaign.
The Impact: Incentivizing reviews works. It will increase the number of reviews your business receives overall. Additionally, your reviews are more likely to be positive when you use incentives, as they work to leave a positive impression on the reviewer regardless of the product experience.
Level of Effort: MEDIUM
Incentivizing reviews for your business demands careful planning and execution. You must remain compliant with FTC guidelines, ensuring that incentives are disclosed transparently to reviewers and don’t compromise the integrity of their feedback. Breaking FTC rules puts your business at risk of fines and permanently deleted review content, so you must understand when and where incentives are appropriate for use.
And whatever you do, never, ever buy fake reviews. The potential consequences are numerous, extremely negative, and we’re all better than that.
Read more about Widewail’s Incentives Engine and how you can generate more reviews with custom offers here.
The Tactic: By expressing gratitude and appreciation to your customers immediately after a purchase, you connect with them and leave a positive impression, increasing your chances of getting more reviews.
The Tips: Any message to your customers, whether via text or email, should be personalized, sincere, and most importantly, prompt. Sending a message to your customers within 24 hours of making a sale puts you in contact while their experience with your business is fresh in their minds. As a result, any reviews you receive will be more detailed and include more relevant feedback that you can use directly in your marketing.
The Impact: Post-sale thank you messages help you get more reviews for your business and establish trust. It creates a win-win scenario where customers feel appreciated, and your business benefits from increased review volume and a positive reputation.
Level of Effort: LOW
The effort required to send a post-sale thank you message is low compared to other marketing tactics. It also has the potential to have a large payoff. As with any review generation strategy, consistency is key to generating review volume. Automation is a great tool to ensure you’re consistently taking advantage of every review opportunity for your business and working to activate the voice of your happy customers.
I’m Marketing Manager here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. In Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0-100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!
Bite-sized, to-the-point, trend-driven local marketing stories and tactics.
Automated Review Generation
Video Testimonial Generation
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Review Response Managed Services
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