Local business reviews can provide a serious boost in website traffic and sales. Consumers put a lot of trust in reviews, and a local listing with multiple positive reviews is more likely to attract a visit than a website that has none. They are a great way to stand out from your competition.
Mobile search has given consumers the option to search and shop on the go, so it is important to take advantage of every opportunity available to stand out. For example, reviews placed on your Google+ Business page will be displayed when your business listing shows up in Google’s local search results. The star icons, average review score and total number of reviews can all help to attract consumers to click on your website. Your Google+ reviews can also be displayed in your pay-per-click ads to help increase the click-though rate.
The clear benefit of local business reviews has lead to several business owners hiring third parties to post fake reviews and also offer incentives to customers to get them to leave reviews (often times looking over their shoulders). This approach is completely wrong, according to Google and Yelp.
Being overly aggressive and asking for reviews will result in them not sticking. The most common mistakes businesses make when trying to accumulate reviews include:
- Asking every customer to leave a review and giving him or her a pre-written template to copy. With the same review being posted multiple times, the review sites will filter them out and mark them as suspicious.
- Asking customers to leave a review at their business location. Multiple reviews from the same IP address will flag all of the reviews as suspicious.
- Reaching out to past customers all at once and asking them to leave a review. If a lot of reviews are posted in a short period of time the algorithm will mark them as unnatural.
So what is the right way to attract reviews from customers?
Good, old fashioned customer service. If you treat every single customer like they are your number-one customer, they are going to naturally provide you with word-of-mouth advertising by telling their friends, family and co-workers about your business and leave reviews without you even asking.
Use social media to support customer service. Instead of using social media to ask for reviews, use it as a customer-service extension. If your customers message or mention your social media profiles, take a minute and let them know that you are happy they had a pleasant experience.
Reach out to your customers via email and present them with a customer-satisfaction survey. You should be gathering your customers' email addresses so you can send them offers and promotions. Send an email asking for their feedback after a purchase to make sure they are happy with their experience.
If you send an email like this to every one of your customers, you should receive several replies. Respond to each email thanking them for their feedback and also remind them that they can find you on Yelp and Google+. If a customer responds to your email then you know that they were satisfied. These customers will most likely leave a very honest review.
You do not have to (nor should you) ask your customers to leave reviews. Provide a great product or service, deliver excellent customer service and make sure that your customers know how to find you on sites such as Google+ and Yelp and you will accumulate natural reviews that stick.