Online reviews are becoming one of the most important sources consumers turn to when they are making a decision about whether or not to do business with a company. Many will turn to sites like Yahoo! Local, Yelp and Google+ Local to find reviews for different companies.
It has been reported that approximately 52 percent of consumers will choose a company that has already received several positive reviews. Only 28 percent consider price and location as a determining factor. When you have genuine customer reviews online, consumers are more inclined to choose you over a competitor; it's just a fact. The more reviews you have, the more legitimate you are going to appear to consumers. They want to know that your company is established enough to get multiple reviews.
With reviews, more is more. On average, a consumer wants to see at least two to three reviews before he or she deems your business trustworthy.
So, how do you go about getting more online reviews for your business?
There are any number of sneaky ways to increase the number of online reviews for the company. There are some people who, for a price, are willing to make up a fake review without so much as buying your product or setting foot in your restaurant. Then, of course, you could pick an employee or family member (or yourself) to spend hours writing and submitting your own reviews of your business to all of the different review sites.
But here's a little secret: consumers can spot a fake review anywhere! We've all read them. The reviews that seem just a little too positive, full of too much praise and adoration. The ones that you just know were written by the owner.
Bottom line: Don't do it. You want real, genuine reviews from people who actually care about your products and services. The trick is to make sure your happy customers know you value reviews and encourage them to create them. The steps that you should be taking to help you get more online reviews are worth the effort, and much more satisfying to receive.
Fill out your company profiles
Whether it's your Business Page on Google+ Local or the profile on Yelp, you want to make sure you have a complete page. Share information about the company, its roots, the owners and staff.
Consumers want something to look at, so take pictures every chance you get to add to your business profiles on review sites. Take shots of the staff, products and the storefront. Anything that gives more visual interest to your profile.
Encourage customer feedback
You don't want to pester your customers to give you a rave review, but it is important to let them know that you appreciate any feedback. Just knowing that what they think matters to you will motivate many to get online and share their thoughts. You can do this by including a little note at the bottom of receipts. Include a link to review sites on your website to make it easy for customers to leave comments and ratings.
Since so many people have smartphones these days, consider adding a QR code to business or comment cards and give them to your happy customers. When they scan the code, they will automatically be taken to the review site.
Respond to your reviews-good and bad
This is especially important for negative reviews. You want to address any complaints reviewers have and see what can be done to remedy the situation. This type of interaction will go a long way in building trust. Engaging through comments will help keep happy customers loyal and may convince an unhappy one to give you another shot.
Online reviews are important for every business, especially if you own a small, local business. Consumers today often turn to the Internet to find reviews of your business, so make sure it is easy for them to find you and see what others are saying about you.
About John Jantsch
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.