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Get more reviews: 8 strategies for your local business. Tips, tactics, impact, and answers on how to get Google reviews.
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.
So, how can you bring in more reviews for your business? There’s no shortage of ways to get started, but let’s look at eight strategies you can implement to get more reviews.
1. Ask Every Customer for a Review
2. Leverage Text/SMS
3. Prioritize Your Big Spenders
4. Personalize Your Review Requests
5. Include a Review Link in Your Email Signature
6. Share positive feedback via Social Media
7. Verbally Ask Customers for Reviews
8. Ask the Right Questions
Once you've skimmed the main review management points, dig into the details below.
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 on your business. Cast a wide net and ensure you’re asking every customer that does business with you to join the conversation.
The Tips: Automate the review outreach process by sending an invitation to every customer that 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 statistic 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. But 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 for businesses 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 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: When your employees are properly trained, every verbal review request becomes highly personalized to each customer. Customers will also 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 there are other customers waiting for assistance), but training them on knowing when and how to ask for a review will likely lead to some customers providing 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 an online review being left.
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. However, 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 easy:
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.
Widewail is a reputation management software and services company based in Burlington, VT. We help hundreds of small local businesses and national brands like Lexus and BH Property Management generate and respond to reviews.
Learn more about our core products:
Engage: review response managed services
Invite: send automated SMS review requests to all your 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!
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