Imagine travelling to a new city and trying to find a “good” restaurant. The first thing you may do is search online and see what the locals are saying by reading reviews. Or maybe you’re in the market for a new laptop and want to see how each brand is rated. It’s easy to just go online and see how many stars each laptop receives from its users. This process allows you to gather information based on what others are saying or in these two scenarios, by looking at reviews. Now recall how many reviews YOUR business has. Are they written by raving fans, or unsatisfied customers? Placing an emphasis on gaining positive online reviews will help your business in many ways:
- They can increase your sales. If you are giving great service or selling a reputable product, then the more reviews you have, the more sales you will likely gain. Remember, people are more willing to purchase something that has been recommended by others, because my “friend’s” opinion is more genuine than the salesperson’s.
- Reviews help you better understand your consumers. Let’s face it, feedback is necessary for your business to improve. While some feedback is not always positive, it does allow the opportunity for you to reach out and make things right with the customer. Not only that, it helps you eliminate future problems. If you get a neutral or negative online review, responding quickly, professionally, and with a solution will improve your digital image to other prospective customers. No one is perfect, but acknowledging the feedback and making a commitment to improvement can set you apart from the competition.
- They help increase your online presence. If you’ve heard anything about search engine optimization (SEO) you know it’s important. SEO helps your business get found in organic online searches. Anytime a consumer writes a review, it helps your company become more visible. This is especially true for Google+/Business Reviews, as the search engine gives more “credit” to feedback provided on its own platform. Check out how this process can work for your business in this SEO Local Case Study.
Now that we know why reviews are important, it’s time to get them. Here are three easy ways to get started:
1. The easiest way is to ask for them. Do not be afraid to ask your loyal customers to write a review. If you do business with vendors or referral partners regularly, ask them, too!
2. If you collect email addresses at the point of sale, then send a follow-up thank you email with a link to write a review directly on your Google page.
3. Write a review for someone else. If you have done mutual/reciprocal work with another company or provider, write a review for them. They are likely to appreciate the public kudos and return the favor!
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