Now that your new website is live, it’s time to start getting customer reviews for your products/services and consider the impact they will have on your business and search ranking.
Implement a Review Acquisition Strategy
Developing a strategy will require you to get creative. Different strategies work well for different businesses and while it would be impossible for us to cover every scenario, there are a few things that you should never do to acquire reviews:
- Don’t pay for reviews – and don’t pay marketers who pay for reviews either.
- Don’t pay anyone to post reviews (genuine or not) – Consumers should always post their own reviews directly on all third-party platforms and neither you, nor your marketers should have influence on what they post about you.
- Don’t review your own business and don’t prompt your staff to do so either.
- Don’t set up a location in your place of business to ask for reviews. If an IP address is being shared among many reviews on any one platform, this might lead to those reviews being flagged. Even wi-fi can cause review filtering, but there’s not much you can do to stop customers who review you in this way, especially if you offer free wi-fi.
- Don’t negatively review your competitors – it’s against the rules of most review platforms and let’s face it, just plain unsporting.
- Always respond in a way that will assure future consumers of your professionalism.
- Don’t ignore the rules of review platforms. Neglecting to play by their rules can lead to review removals, messages on your public profile that publicly shame you and in some cases, can lead to litigation.
- Don’t neglect your website! This is the most important tool in your marketing arsenal and it’s extremely important to use it as a platform for displaying honest reviews and testimonials.
Once you’ve become a master at avoiding these pitfalls, you can start experimenting with a variety of techniques for encouraging consumers to review your business.
Claim Your Profile on Major Platforms
This provides a great opportunity to contribute to the online conversation that surrounds your brand. You can thank customers who leave positive reviews and engage customers who have left negative ones to try and win them back.
There are a variety of reviews platforms which offer user responses and there are even industry-specific ones. Here are some of the key platforms:
- Google My Business
- Yellow Pages
- Glassdoor (For employee reviews)
- TripAdvisor (Hospitality)
- Amazon (Ecommerce)
- CheckaTrade (Trades)
It’s likely that customers will discover your business in many different ways, that’s why it’s vital to claim your business profile on the various websites that they’re using. Simply search for your business in Google adding the word “reviews” and compile a list of those websites that rank highly for your brand. If you’re a brand-new business, see where your competitors are being discussed. Chances are that those sites will be important for your business too.
A Google My Business listing is essential for local SEO. It’s free to set up and one of the best actions you can take in improving your local SEO visibility. Consumers are 38% more likely to visit and 29% more likely to consider buying from your business when you have a complete Google My Business page. We offer Google My Business Optimisation to get your business discovered, so get in touch with the team today!
Getting a Review
Once you start gathering your reviews, the key is to respond. Whether it’s a glowing review from a loyal customer or a slightly disgruntled client – all reviews require a response. If a review is not responded to in 72 hours, many platforms can actually use this against your business.
The following stats also show the impact that reviews can have on a small business:
- Restaurateurs responding to a 1- or 2-star review have a 33% higher probability of the customer coming back and potentially upgrading their review by as much as 3 stars. (ReviewTrackers)
- 44.6% are more likely to visit a local business if the owner responds to negative reviews. (ReviewTrackers)
- One of the main reasons why 62% of consumers ages 18-34 trust a brand is because of its good ratings and reviews. (Marketing Charts)
The Negative Review
As a business owner, you might encounter a negative review or two at some point. The trick is to remain calm and have a strategy. While a bad review is not the end of the world, it is the last chance that the business will likely have to make amends and win back the customer.
The most important thing is to not respond in unprofessionally. Regardless of who is to blame, it’s up to you to use every skill you possess to apologize and make amends. You might not only win back that customer but other future potential customers who read the review gain a favourable impression of how the company treats its patrons.
The next step should be to carefully craft a response. There are a few tips to bear in mind. Firstly, don’t blame the customer or accuse them of lying or exaggerating. Also, don’t refuse to apologise or use unprofessional language. The first thing that you should do is apologise and accept complete responsibility as the owner of the business. Acknowledging that the customer is unhappy and has not had a favourable experience can go a long way to restoring the relationship with them.
The next step is to express your commitment to making amends if the customer gives you the opportunity (A refund, a meal on the house, a replacement product etc). You should show a commitment to fixing the issues that they have raised and explain what action you will take/have taken to do so.
Most importantly, keep it brief and sincere. You might be surprised to see how often an empathetic and generous business owner’s response will prompt a customer to amend their review reflecting their new impression of the care they receive. Express gratitude to your positive reviews too. Being proactive in building a sense of engagement with your customers can go a long way in increasing brand loyalty.
Get in Touch
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