Online reviews have become increasingly important for consumers who shop locally. According to surveys by Bright Local, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. It has also determined that reviews help to increase rankings within search engines. If you are familiar the Yelp review site, you should know they have their own traffic where people look for services through their favorable reviews.

If you haven’t started asking your customers for reviews or need to increase the number of reviews received, here are some tips to help you along. Keep in mind that you should aim for more online reviews than your competitors!

Text Messages

Sending text messages to customers may sound intrusive but they do have a 98% open rate. Restaurants use text message to notify their patrons when a table is ready or to take reservations. Why not send them a text message once they leave to inquire about their experience. If their dining experience is positive send them a link to Yelp or Facebook so they can leave a review. Of course if it’s not positive, better to find out why through text instead of an online review.

These same tactics could apply for local hair salons as well. Appointments and upcoming promotions are now made via text messages. Why not ask for a review as well!

Social Media Reviews

  • Facebook has monthly visitors upwards of 85 million which makes up 27% of U.S. traffic and one of the most trusted review websites. 40% of people show interest in a retail store after seeing a picture posted on Facebook.
  • When issuing receipts, consider digital receipts which allows your customer to directly link to your social media pages. Keep your Facebook and other social media accounts active and updated. This will help to show up in your customers feeds and more likely they will share their experiences with your business.
  • Adding the ‘Star Ratings’ feature on your pages will make it easy for visitors to leave a review. Be sure to monitor your social media accounts for questions, reviews and always provide timely responses to every review even if they are negative.

Asking In Person

If your small business is local, you have many opportunities to speak with your customers in person. This is a very effective way to ask for reviews and feedback about your services or products. If someone is offering unsolicited praise, seize the moment and ask them to write a review on one of your social media platforms. If they a post of picture of your product, that’s even better.

Sometimes you may have to strike up a conversation. It may sound intimidating but it can pay off. Be sure to read your customer first to see if they are willing to engage in a conversation. If so, work your way towards asking for that important review. These same tactics also apply when speaking on the phone.

Emails

While more and more businesses are using SMS to ask for reviews, emails are still a great way to nab those reviews. To be most successful, your email list should have repeat customers, or people who have shown an interest in your service or product. You can obtain these email addresses by sending out a survey to your customers asking for feedback. From that feedback, send out emails to the ones with the most positive responses. Be sure to first ask for permission to send emails to them.

Keep the emails personable and text only. They will come across as less sales oriented and with a clear ‘call to action’. Having no distractions like flashy pictures will result in a better click-through rate.

Conclusion

Of course it goes without saying that providing excellent service and going above and beyond will ensure high quality online reviews. Asking for reviews should be a high priority for your business. For help in coming up with a well-thought strategic plan feel free to contact us.