Online reviews fall under the broader category of what we call “social proof”, aka any piece of information that shows your company has been tested and approved by other people. Other examples include people lining up outside of your restaurant, a celebrity rocking your fashion line, or someone speaking well of your business to their friends.
People make buying decisions based on reviews. None of us are immune to this process, right? Whether it’s a friend’s recommendation or thousands of people eager to share their enthusiasm on an Amazon review page, we rely on this information to avoid regret, wasted money, or disappointment.
The question remains: how does one get these highly valuable online reviews? Have no fear. In this post, we’ll explore approaches, resources and give you a little encouragement along the way.
But first off…
What can online reviews do for you?
Online reviews hold a few different benefits for you. For one, they give you valuable feedback that you can use to improve your products or services.
Secondly, they allow you to build relationships with your customers. If a person gives you a negative review, therein lies an opportunity to fix their experience and earn their loyalty back. Or if someone writes a glowing review, you can respond to them directly with gratitude or even a small gift.
Lastly ( and most importantly) is that an online review is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your fingertips. Nothing helps boost business like the recommendations of satisfied customers. You’re reducing the risk of disappointment by showing off how others’ lives have been improved by what you offer.
Set yourself up to receive reviews
First things first: make sure to claim your business on Yelp, Facebook, Google, and Amazon if you haven’t already. It’s crucial that you’re set-up, present, and available on these platforms. These are some of the main channels customers use to voice their opinions.
Overcoming hesitations to ask
Are you finding that there’s some kind of mental block or fear around asking customers for online reviews? If so, let’s go through some of the big ones together.
“I’m scared of dealing with negative reviews”
Yes, you may have to deal with some negative reviews at some point. But first, let’s think about why it’s worth overcoming this fear: if you’re shutting yourself off to all reviews, then you’re not only rejecting the negative ones, you’re also rejecting the positive ones. And those positive ones are critical to your business.
On dealing with negative reviews:
After you’ve taken a deep breath, first look at the review itself: Are there complaints justifiable and/or relevant to your business? Is this there potential for fixing or redeeming a poor customer experience? Is it extremely derogatory/inappropriate in any kind of way?
Unless the review is extremely offensive, then go ahead and respond to the reviewer and see how you can help them. If you succeed in fixing their issue, then you’ve earned back a customer and created a positive brand experience for others to see.
As for derogatory/inappropriate content: while you can’t delete bad reviews, many of these review platforms have policies around what’s acceptable to post and what’s not. If this review is just out of bounds, super nasty, spam-sounding, or something that would embarrass a person to read aloud, look for ways to report the review to the platform.
Note: just because you don’t like or agree with a review doesn’t mean that it should be reported. There has to be grounds for a report and platforms don’t take this process lightly.
“I feel like I’ll bother my customers if I ask.”
It all depends on how you ask. If you’re sending a ton of emails every week to your customers requesting reviews, then yes, you may bother them. But let’s examine some ways to ask that may appeal to your customer.
Ways to ask
Promote an incentive to post a review on your social media accounts. Ask customers to fill out a review and make it easy by posting links where you’d like the reviews written up. See what incentives speak to your community. A discount? Freebie? Raffle for something bigger?
Plugins make it easy for people to write a review directly on your website. Place one on the product pages of your website so that people can find them easily. Some of these plugins have special features, like built-in metrics tracking.
After a person has made a purchase from your company, send a quick follow-up email with a survey for them to fill out. Make it as easy as possible for them to do this, and add incentives if you can.
When to ask
- If a customer tags you on social media, engage with them and ask for a follow-up review or repost their praise.
- If someone has reordered your product, email them and ask if they’d be willing to share about why they reordered their previous purchase.
- If someone has had success with your product- for example, you know a friend of a friend has enjoyed your services/product, then reach out and ask for them to write a public review.
Where to put the reviews
Place it on your homepage for everyone to see. Some plugins allow for you to add social media reviews directly onto the page, like tweets.
Share reviews on your social media pages, whether they’ve been written elsewhere or it’s you resharing a post.
You can add glowing reviews at the footer of your emails, which helps to persuade prospective customers to give your brand a try.
Why are reviews so hard to get?
The main reason why it seems almost impossible to get reviews is a lack of strategy. Companies that aren’t successful in getting reviews usually never ask for them.
What should you do if you feel that you are making the right efforts, but the Google reviews aren’t showing up? The most important thing is not to panic.
Unfortunately, some companies do something drastic—like buying Google reviews. But buying reviews typically leads to reputation disaster.
So, let’s look at some of the top reasons why it might be hard to get reviews.
1. Not having a review strategy
Reviews are important for any business because they allow customers to share their thoughts about the company and its products. A plan for managing reviews will not only create value and help promote brand awareness, but also ensure reoccurring engagement from potential clients or patrons of any business venture they may have in mind!
Leaving getting reviews to chance
Just because people are happy with your business doesn’t mean they will leave you a review. I know this one feels like common sense, but it seems so many businesses still don’t get that leaving reviews is as easy for them to forget when their life gets busy or stressful at work/home balance- never mind the actual human response time! Reviews provide great content marketing too – if nothing else than SEO value from Google’s point of view (and who could blame ‘em?).
The problem is that unhappy customers almost always leave reviews without you asking. So you need to capture your satisfied customers and encourage them to leave reviews. Usually, all they need is a reminder.
You don’t ask for reviews
If you don’t ask for reviews, you won’t get them—or not the volume you hope. Asking for reviews can be difficult for many. It feels like you are asking for a huge favor. But don’t worry—asking customers is ethical, and most customers respond well to request.
- You forget to send reminder emails to leave reviews
Asking your customers to voluntarily leave feedback is not always easy; after all, it feels like asking a favor which may be seen as manipulative by some people who have never been asked before (or maybe even themselves). But requesting customer-created content can help improve an establishment’s brand presence while also helping keep up with trends in eCommerce today where more consumers are looking online than ever before.
Customers don’t know how to leave reviews
It could be that your customer doesn’t know where to leave reviews.
You make it too complicated to get reviews
You can make it easier for your customers by simplifying the review process. A three-click rule is usually enough to prevent them from getting overwhelmed and leaving before leaving feedback, so you should keep this in mind when designing a system for collecting reviews.
It’s best if there are only two steps needed: 1) leave an honest comment about what was good or bad 2 )go back into their account after doing so!
Reviews may not be showing up
Customers are frustrated when they think their reviews aren’t showing up. Google has strict policies about what can and cannot be included in a review, so customers could have no idea that there was something wrong with the way it was written or else contain sensitive information like credit card numbers!
Even a happy customer will not leave an online review if it takes too much time or requires complicated methods of accessing your site. Not every person has the tech skills to navigate on their own device, so they may give up in frustration before even getting started!
It’s important to not take it personally.
Social proof is powerful. Make sure your business information is complete and accurate on your account, then reach out to customers or respond to online reviews in a timely manner–you’ve got this!
eBook: Get the Love Your Business Deserves: Get more online reviews checklist
List of top apps
How to report a review: Yelp
How to respond or report a review: Amazon
How to report a review: Google
Claim your business on Yelp
Claim your business on Google
Claim your business on Facebook