Did you know that according to a WebPunch study, 41% of consumers who are looking for a local business go to online review sites like Google and Facebook?
If you have a Google Business Profile, a Yelp account, or a Facebook Business Page, you’re going to need reviews to be noticed. In fact, a lack of reviews, or a large number of negative reviews, can actually inhibit your business’s ranking in Google’s search results. Online reviews are a strong signal to Google that your business is trustworthy and an authority in your vertical.
What does this mean? You’re going to need a lot of positive reviews in order to stand out.
These days, cell phones are practically an extension of our arm, so getting your business reviews should be easy, right?
People are often motivated by extremes. Unless a customer is blown away by an exceedingly positive experience or left reeling from a truly terrible experience, they are most likely not going to leave a review.
So, how do you capture the less-inclined reviewer? Make it easy for them! In a digital age, we’re all looking for convenience. Do you have a QR code ready for them to scan? Do you send out text messages with a direct link to the review channel? Or, are you hoping a face-to-face request will do the trick?
Look no further because we’re in your corner with you to teach you how to get more online reviews!
Let’s come out swinging for how to get online reviews with email campaigns! Email campaigns are an inexpensive way to generate reviews for your business and are simple to execute!
Capterra, a review generation site for technology products, did a quick study where they sent out two kinds of review-ask emails: one with lots of fun graphics and one with simple language. You may assume the fun graphics was the clear winner in garnering more reviews. Nope! As it turns out, people prefer a no-fluff Review Request email. An uncomplicated message with a clear ask improved Capterra’s review conversion rate by 12%.
This method is especially beneficial if you utilize a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM). A CRM is a resource used to store client data and manage client interactions. There are many great options, but Hubspot and MailChimp are some of our personal favorites.
If you’re looking for a straightforward, old-school way to solicit online reviews, you can’t go wrong with an email campaign.
SMS TEXT MESSAGING
This is another fantastic method for getting online reviews if you have your customers’ information stored in a CRM.
You could, technically, send out individual texts, but do you really want to spend your time doing that? We didn’t think so. Instead, you can utilize SMS text messaging programs that send a review link to customers. With one simple click, they are able to leave a quick review!
(But make sure you have your customer’s permission to text them before you start sending out text messages!)
Remember to keep the messaging simple and short and the ask clear. Any variation of “We’d love to know what you thought of our service. Help us out by leaving a review!” should do the trick.
This strategy works particularly well because people are always looking at their phones. This is a method that reaches them in hand.
Remember to include an “opt-out” option so customers are able to remove themselves from your outreach if they would prefer. You wouldn’t want to spam a potential reviewer with an undesired follow-up!
If your business has steady foot traffic at your storefront location, you could place a QR code in an easy-to-access location to solicit online reviews. Users simply scan the code with their smartphone’s camera and are redirected to the review site.
Another option is to incorporate QR codes onto the back of your company’s business cards. Don’t forget to have your service professional ask for the review when they leave the card behind!
Modern technology has allowed us to be a bit more green-friendly, and QR codes are another fantastic way to get people to use their device for your benefit!
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
If you’ve built up a following on any number of social media sites (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.), it would be advantageous to request your followers to leave a review!
Create eye-catching posts with simple, straightforward copy that includes a call-to-action (“Review Us!”), and post away! Make sure to post a direct link to the review platform to make it a smoother process for your followers.
On Instagram, a link can look awkward in a post. We suggest a few options for this: Create a story where you can use the drop-down menu to utilize their “link” feature, or create the post and say “Link in bio!”. For the “link in bio” post, you can create a free Linktree that is used in place of a website in your profile’s bio. Linktrees are wonderful because they’re free, and you can have as many links as you’d like for people to parse through. We recommend no more than five or six links, otherwise, people might give up looking for the review site. Remember, make it easy for them!
With this method, you do run the risk of getting followers who’ve never employed your services to review you. However, the rewards far outweigh the risks in this category!n
INCENTIVIZE THE REVIEW PROCESS
Many businesses have contests to get a lot of online reviews, incentivizing the process with gift cards or a free service.
This is actually against Google’s content guidelines, so proceed at your own risk. Honestly, we really wouldn’t suggest it because it could get you into a world of trouble with Google.
A Net Promotor Score survey is a one-question survey sent out to customers immediately after a service. It asks, on a scale of 1-10, how much they’d recommend your service to another person. An NPS score helps you understand what kind of experience people have had before they go online to write a review. By using this method, you have the chance to reach out to them and make them happy before they decide to take their feelings out in an online review.
After the NPS survey is sent, you can send out online review requests. If any negative feedback is received from a survey, it’s always best practice to give the client a call to see how you can turn their frown upside down.
An NPS survey can be a great way to solicit positive feedback from clients on the service they just received (so it’s fresh in their minds).
If you’re providing data for your own NPS score, you will need to follow up on your client’s feedback by asking them for a review.
However, this is also something that WebPunch offers! We’d be happy to set this up for you. We offer a suite of tools to help you listen to your clients, measure your client experience data, and knock out your competitors! We specialize in creating segmented data that perfectly fits your unique business needs. Ask us all about this by contacting us here.
If you’ve gotten this far and you’re thinking “Okay, that’s great but I don’t want to put any effort into this”, we totally understand. It can be a little time-consuming to set things up, so sometimes, it’s best to start small.
Is this a very short and sweet method? Yes, yes it is. But every little bit helps!
A very passive way to generate online reviews is to include a link to your review site(s) in your email signature. This way, whenever you send an email to a client, they have the potential to see the request to review you within your signature line. You really can’t get easier than this method!
Speaking of reviews…
When you get a positive review that you really like—because let’s face it, you’re probably getting so many positive reviews!—make sure to share it on your website, Facebook Business Page, social media platforms, etc. Get the word out! Show your followers, and those that are looking at your pages, that your clients are satisfied with your service! It’s free advertising (as long as you’re not paying for ads, which is also completely acceptable) so why not take advantage of every opportunity to showcase yourself?
To do this, we recommend NOT pressing the share button on a post. When you do that, it looks as though the review is coming from you and that’s a no-no. We DO suggest that you take a screenshot of the review and post that! This way, the reviewer’s name is clearly visible and it shows that someone has taken the time to rate and review your services.
This could also lead to additional reviews from former clients who might see your post and think “Ah! I’ve been meaning to write a review about my incredible experience with them!”, and wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?
We suggest doing this sparingly, as you don’t want to bog your followers down with too many appreciation posts. People tend to get annoyed at this kind of repetition, and you wouldn’t want to annoy any potential customers!
So, how do you ask for a review?
Ideally, it’s best to personally inform someone that you’re sending them an email, text message, etc., before sending a request their way to give you a review. It’s just a way to be polite and give someone a heads-up to be on the lookout for it. This is especially helpful if the email happens to wind up in their spam folder!
Timing is also a factor in asking for an online review. There are several resources that talk about certain days and certain times of day that are better for this type of ask, but this information is fairly subjective to the business you’re in. Though, it is worth noting that the bulk of reviews written are written between 12 pm and 8 pm. This could just be when it’s a good time for the reviewer and not necessarily indicative of when an ask is sent.
A good rule of thumb is to strike while the iron is hot and the customer is still motivated! Like right after you install new kitchen cabinets or perform a home inspection. The point is, ask after something good happens.
If you’re unable to ask for the review on the spot, an automated service is a great tool to have in your back pocket. This is something WebPunch is capable of. With us, you can send Review Requests out on the fly. If you don’t want to ask for the review right then, our automated system will kick in and ask for you. Our system is smart enough to know that if you sent a Review Request out manually it won’t send out the automated Review Request.
Also, make sure everyone on your team is in the ring to ask for reviews! This is a team effort to give your business the best boost possible.
Hopefully, we’ve gotten across that there are myriad free ways to solicit online reviews out there.
Let’s recap: use what you have, you can do this for free, and don’t be afraid to ask for a review! If you’re creating satisfied customers and clients, more often than not they’ll be glad to help you out and provide a review.
Plus, customers want to provide feedback on their experience. Yes, we’re all busy, but people like to be heard and there’s no better way to be heard by the masses than to write a review.
One More Thing…
We know it can be tempting, but it’s terrible form to have friends or family post reviews about your business. We get it! You’re looking for five-star reviews and they have to come from somewhere, but if a potential customer does any type of research or digging around and finds that the friend or family member is connected to your business, they’re likely to not trust what you’re offering and move on to a competitor.
The best practice here is to not recruit friends and family members to write positive reviews for your business.
Here at WebPunch, one of our favorite things is responding to your online reviews. Maybe you’ve been thinking about outsourcing this task—well, here’s your sign!
One of our many offerings is our review generation service. That’s right! We’re in the ring to make sure you’re pulling in 4- and 5-star reviews. We consistently achieve higher rates of reviews with our automated system for customers who have selected this service from us. Our review generation service is automated, so you never have to lift a finger!
We also have review responding services where our professional writers will respond to your business’s reviews. Every response is personalized so nothing feels canned or corporate in language (unless that’s what you’re going for). We make sure to complete a brand persona that is approved by you so that we are consistently within the voice and tone of your business for every response.
We’re happy to take online review generation and responses off of your plate at any time, so feel free to mull it over before you hit us up. We’re in the ring to help duke it out and make sure your reputation shines!Contact us to learn more about our services today!