The world of digital marketing is constantly changing, but one thing always remains the same.
The importance of word of mouth.
In the dark ages, before the advent of electricity and the internet, word of mouth literally came from peoples mouths.
These days, us highly evolved humans largely rely on the internet for gathering and sharing opinions about products and businesses.
Think about it, you’re looking to buy a product on Amazon, do you believe what the product manufacturer is telling you, or what other people who bought the product are saying?
The fact is, we trust the opinions of other people over the marketing of brands.
There are many studies that back this up :
- 91% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business.
- 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
- 76% trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends.
- The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
- Every one-star increase a brand gets on Yelp, that business sees a 5-9% increase in revenue.
So without a doubt, getting more reviews for your business will make a significant difference.
The thought of getting lots of reviews maybe daunting, but it isn’t as hard as you think.
Just follow the 7 tips below.
1. Collect Emails During Billing
Customers who are happy and willing to leave their email address at the time of purchase are generally happy with their experience so far.
Hence they’re more likely to leave a positive review if asked.
A few days after their purchase contact them thanking them for their business and ask them kindly to leave some honest feedback for their experience.
Important: Make sure to follow the official guidelines on asking for reviews:
In a world where positive customer reviews are worth their weight in gold, you can earn some of that gold for yourself. Keep reading.
2. Use In-Store Signage to Encourage Reviews.
Local businesses can use in-store signage to encourage reviews.
They can be in the form of banners, window stickers, business cards, brouchers, on the back of a menu and my favourite the beer coaster, as seen below.
You can also include a request a leave a review on the bottom of your receipts and invoices.
You could even go the lengths of having a computer or tablet setup a kiosk in the store with signage inviting customers to leave a review then and there.
Or, you could even have a QR code, that when scanned takes your customer to a page with all your profile links which lets them leave a review on their platform of choice.
All these things give clear clues to your customers that you care about their feedback and they’ll be more likely to provide it for you.
3. Verbally Tell Customers You’d Appreciate Honest Feedback
Train your employees to let your especially satisfied customers know a review would really help.
This tactic won’t always work. If your employee has a large queue of people waiting to be served for example. It wouldn’t look genuine to ask every person in the ‘please leave us a review’ over and over.
However, when rapport is right, a well mannered helpful staff member should be authorised to ask a happy customer to leave an honest review.
In this case a request for a review will feel geninue and not pushy. Remember the same goes for both in person and online staff.
Tip : Add a link to your reviews page on your business card.
4. Make it Super Easy to Leave Reviews
The easier it is to leave a review, the more reviews you’ll get.
Yes it sounds obvious, yet most businesses aren’t making any effort to simplify the review writing process for their customers.
The reason why most people don’t leave reviews is because it’s not quick an easy.
Think of a business near you. Maybe a pizza delivery company. Do you think you could find their Google Reviews page and leave a review in the next two minutes?
So make it as simple as you possibly can for your customers to leave a review for you.
Use call-to-action buttons on your website to link them to a page which they can simply click a link to leave a review
Create that kind of ‘reviews’ page for your website and make the address link simply ourwebsite.com/review
That way you can always remember that link and email it to your customers, put it on the back of a business card, or tell them just go to ourwebsite.com/review
Don’t expect your customers to follow an elaborate path to write a review for you. It’s unlikely they’ll do that.
5. Use Social Media
You can post specific questions about your businesses performance on your social media channels.
Your followers can then be directed to leave a review on your reviews page.
For example you could ask your followers who their favourite staff member is, or what their favourite product or service it is you provide.
Then you could ask your customers to mention that in a review.
This gives the customer something specific to talk about and it boosts engagement on the social media platforms of your brand.
6. Respectfully Respond to Every Single Review
However busy you are, when someone takes the time to review your business, it’s your duty to respond.
Respond genuinely to every review while not coming across as robotic or repetitive. A simple ‘thank you’ in many cases is enough.
Making your replies to reviews uniquely worded and personalised will go a long way in warming readers and writers to your brand.
When readers see you’re replying to every review, the good and bad, it shows that your brand really cares about what people think.
This incentivises other customers to also share their experiences, knowing the company will read it and even reply.
But don’t get upset by a negative review – they actually help make your brand seem more authentic, plus give you an opportunity to show you handle the unlikely event someone is dissatisfied with your brands products or services.
In this way the occasional bad review is your opportunity to improve and shine.
Also if all the reviews are sunshine and rainbows, there’s almost always something fishy.
People would start doubting the authenticity of those reviews.
If you have nothing but 5 star glowing reviews, something might be suspicious.
People might start doubting that your reviews are genuine.
In this case it’s okay to get the occasional 4 star, 3 star and god forbid, 1 star review.
What matters most is how you handle and respond to dissatisfied customers.
Here are some guidelines for responding to negative reviews:
- Reply to the review quickly.
- Recognise any mistakes that were made.
- Make a personal apology (even if it was not your fault).
- Offer a solution or compensation (such as a refund, etc).
Request to communicate via phone or email if things are heated.
Bad reviews are an opportunity to show people you care about customer satisfaction.
Improve your business and go to the root of the problem and put systems in place to fix the issue forever.
In summary, the most important thing about replying to reviews : respond quickly but never respond harshly.
7. Delight Your Customers With a Great Experience
Provide a customer experience that goes above and beyond the normal.
Your customers’ experience with your brand is hyper important to the amount and quality of reviews they’ll leave.
If a customer comes away feeling like the experience they had was above and beyond what is usually expected, it’s more likely to stand out in their mind and they’re more likely to recommend your business to others.
Can you remember the last time you made a big purchase online without checking the reviews first?
Online reviews are the best social proof for your business.
Often online reviews are the last stage which will tip a potential buyer into becoming your customer or not.
Not only that, but they’re a factor in how well your site ranks in Google and how many people will discover your business.
So if you haven’t already, it’s time to put attention into the new online word of mouth, and start earning more online reviews for your business.