Consumers increasingly rely on the experiences and opinions of others to make purchasing decisions, which underscores the importance of obtaining the right online reviews for your business. These reviews can significantly impact your reputation, credibility and overall success. So, where and how can you get the right reviews for your business? How do you amplify positive customer voices and address those not-as-positive? How do you leverage top review platforms?
Let’s look at specifics…
Google Business Profile, previously known as Google My Business (GMB), is the starting point for any online review marketing strategy. It’s often the first result people see when searching for your business. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile. Make sure your business listing is up-to-date with accurate information, attractive visuals and engaging posts to increase your chances of getting positive reviews. Respond to reviews promptly, whether they’re positive or negative, as this demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction. (For tips on how to best respond to negative reviews, consider this advice from Qualtrics and TrustPulse.)
Leverage the power of social media relationships. Regularly post engaging content, interact with your audience and ask for reviews. Social media is a fantastic place to foster a sense of community and engage with your customers directly.
Facebook allows users to leave reviews and ratings for businesses on their respective pages. Ensure your Facebook business page is up to date and actively encourage customers to share their experiences. Reviewtrackers can some specific advice on making the best of Facebook reviews, or take a peek at this overall guide from HubSpot.
Yelp is a popular review platform where customers often turn to when seeking opinions on local businesses. Make sure your business is listed on Yelp and encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. Yelp reviews can significantly impact your local search rankings and visibility, so it’s smart to understand how it works. One of the advantages of Yelp is consumers now trust online reviews, although not as much as friends and family recommendations. Yelp identifies unfounded or fake reviews and removes them, which adds to their credibility. But the algorithm that filters also…filters.
“With the intention to protect businesses, Yelp uses an algorithm to hide or remove fake or illegitimate reviews. Yelp has reported that approximately 25% of user reviews are not recommended and filtered out,” according to SmartBiz.
That’s a lot of filtered reviews. Why might Yelp cull a review? According to SmartBiz, among the reasons even a positive review might get filtered out is that the platform “doesn’t trust users who have only written a few reviews, especially if they have no Yelp friends or profile information.”
Reviews that are over-the-top get bumped—whether they’re negative or positive. (Cool it with those exclamation points, people.) Ultra short reviews also get filtered because they provide few specifics and don’t offer context. If a review violates Yelp’s Content Guidelines, it gets filtered out. Guidelines include information about conflicts of interest, promotional content and relevance. We know you can’t control the type of review your customers write, or fail to write, but it’s good to know the pros and cons of Yelp as a review site.
Depending on your industry, specialized review websites exist that cater to your niche. For example, TripAdvisor is crucial for the hospitality and travel industry, while Angi is essential for home services. Identify and target these industry-specific review platforms to gain credibility in your field. If you’re not sure where to begin, get a wide-lens view with this primer from HubSpot or reviewtrackers. See also this information on where you might be reviewed (or want to be reviewed) if you’re a contractor.
One more online review primer we like is this one from smallbiztrends.
Amazon customer reviews
For e-commerce businesses, Amazon Customer Reviews are a key element. Product ratings and reviews significantly influence consumers’ purchase decisions on Amazon. Ensure your product listings are optimized for reviews and encourage buyers to leave feedback, according to Search Engine Land.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
The BBB is a trusted source for consumers looking to verify a business’s credibility. Having a strong BBB business profile with positive reviews and a good rating can boost your reputation.
Don’t underestimate the value of having a dedicated section on your website for customer reviews. Make it easy for visitors to find and leave reviews. Displaying positive feedback on your site not only builds trust, but it also encourages other customers to share their experiences.
We’re also putting another key tool in this category: Your employees. Your team(s), as well as your vendors and partners, can be valuable ambassadors for your brand. Encourage them to leave reviews and share their (specific is best) experiences working at your company. Their perspectives can offer an authentic touch to your online presence.
Regularly communicate with your customers via email. Send out surveys or request feedback, and provide a link for customers to leave reviews. Offering incentives or discounts in exchange for reviews can be an effective way to encourage participation.
Customer feedback forms
Include a feedback form with every purchase or interaction with your business. Make it easy for customers to provide their thoughts and consider asking for permission to use their feedback as a testimonial or review. If you don’t ask, you don’t get—unless it’s negative and pops up where the customer chooses to amplify it.
Also, consider online forums and communities, particularly those active in your geographical region or industry specialty. Engaging with potential customers in these spaces can lead to organic reviews and referrals.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, don’t hesitate to ask customers in person to leave a review if they’re satisfied with their experience. A friendly face-to-face request can be incredibly effective.
Now the Work Begins
Once you’ve learned how best to get reviews for your business, you must stay frosty to what’s happening in the digital space. As we noted before, you have to respond to reviews. Engaging with your reviewers by responding to their feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, shows you value their input and are committed to improving your services. Everyone loves a positive review, but be extra vigilant in your response (and monitoring of) to negative reviews. Think of them as an opportunity to show your commitment to customer satisfaction. Address concerns, offer solutions and demonstrate your willingness to rectify any issues. A well-handled negative review can turn into a positive customer experience.
Assess your need for online reputation management tools. Consider investing in online reputation management tools that can help you monitor and manage reviews across various platforms. These tools can provide insights into customer sentiment and help you respond to reviews more efficiently.
Online reputation monitoring is how brands oversee and analyze their digital reputation. The “monitoring” piece looks at actual feedback from your audience. This feedback can identify customer sentiment (positive or negative), trends and more,” according to Sprout Social. “Although reputation management is synonymous with review sites (think: Yelp! or G2), it goes far beyond that. Monitoring your digital reputation involves a wide variety of channels.”
Techradar rated current online reputation tools and offers specific pros and cons.
Continue to work to achieve consistent and quality service. If you drop some slack, know that customers don’t trust reviews more than about three months old, per our blog on it here.
The best way to get the right reviews is to provide excellent products and services consistently. Delight your customers, exceed their expectations and, naturally, positive reviews will follow.
Remember to stay compliant with review platforms. If you think an angry customer can be troublesome, you don’t want to engage with G2, Amazon or Yelp if you go astray from their review guidelines. Different review platforms have specific guidelines for requesting and managing reviews. Ensure you understand and adhere to these guidelines to avoid any negative repercussions.
Gathering the right reviews for your business is imperative for building trust, credibility and attracting new customers. Using a multi-faceted approach that includes both online and offline strategies will help you create a strong online presence and enhance your reputation.
Remember that the most effective way to get positive reviews is to provide exceptional products or services, as happy customers are more likely to share their experiences. By focusing on customer satisfaction and actively seeking reviews through various channels, you can establish an enviable online presence.
You can start with Google Business Profile and expand to social media, industry-specific websites, and more.
Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, respond promptly to all reviews, and use negative reviews as opportunities to improve.
Regularly engage with your audience on social media, encourage reviews on platforms like Facebook, and foster a sense of community.
Yes, target specialized platforms like TripAdvisor or Angi based on your industry to gain credibility in your niche.
Displaying positive feedback on your website builds trust and encourages more customers to share their experiences.