Online reviews can have a huge impact on your business’ reputation and on your bottom line. Problem is, if you aren’t actively seeking reviews, you are missing out on a big, fat, juicy piece of low hanging fruit that can actually move the needle for you.
According to Search Engine Journal, 91% of consumers between the ages of 19 and 34 trust reviews (the numbers are strong in other age groups too), and consumers are more likely to trust your company if you have at least 40 reviews. If you don’t already have a solid review presence, it’s time to get serious about building one.
Hubspot has some good news regarding reviews. 68% of customers who are asked to leave a review are willing to do so. Here’s how to ask them.
Asking for Reviews in Person
If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar store, then asking for reviews in person may be the way to go. The trick is doing it in a way that doesn’t feel forced or put undue pressure on your customer.
Conversational flow is important. One option is to have your cashier(s) engage with customers when they check out. They can start by asking if the customer found everything they were looking for. Any customer who praises your store or products represents a positive review.
That said, it’s not a good idea to ask for a review as soon as the customer says something positive. Ask a few follow-up questions. Then, as you end the conversation, say something like “We really appreciate feedback from our customers because it helps people learn about us. Would you be willing to write an online review?” You can plug in your platform of choice, whether it’s Yelp, Google, or Facebook.
Asking for Reviews via Email
Perhaps your business doesn’t have a lot of face-to-face interaction with customers. In that case, sending an email may be the right way to ask for reviews.
My recommendation is to segment your list and send out emails accordingly. Getting too many reviews all at once may not be helpful, since there’s evidence to suggest that Google and Yelp may ding you if you have a massive influx of reviews.
On a related note, it’s also not wise to link directly to your Yelp page in your email since their algorithm might penalize you for doing so. Instead, mention your preferred review site if you have one, and suggest that the recipient Google “Your Business Name + Yelp” to find your page.
However, if you are asking people to leave reviews on your page, you may link directly to the product page.
Asking for Reviews on a Thank You Page
If you have an online store where customers can buy products, you may want to use your Thank You page to ask customers for a review.
It’s important to remember that first-time-customers aren’t going to be able to review your products if they’ve just ordered them. However, they can review their experience on your site, and they may be able to offer insights on your customer service if they’ve interacted with you.
Of course, some customers who land on your Thank You page will be buying a product for the second or third time. That’s why it’s important to ask because those people will be primed to leave you a review. If you don’t have a Thank You page, you can also ask for a review on a confirmation page or in a confirmation email.
Asking for Reviews in a Text Message
Text messaging has become an increasingly popular form of marketing, and you can use it to ask for reviews too.
Text messages have nearly a 100% open rate. If you’re already sending text messages to your customers, then following up a purchase with a request for a review can be a great way to generate more reviews.
Since it’s a text message, it should be brief. You can try something like this:
We hope you’re happy with your purchase. Please leave a review on Google and let us know how we did!
Here again, you should be wary of linking directly to your Yelp page. You may want to add brief instructions like the ones mentioned in the section about emails to help customers find your review pages.
Asking for Reviews on a Receipt or Card
Not everybody is comfortable asking for a review in person. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or you’re shipping products to customers at home, including a card or a note on your receipt can encourage them to leave a review of your business.
You can use a tool like Canva to create and print message cards that ask customers for reviews. You can even put the URLs of your review pages to make it easy for customers to find them.
If you own a restaurant, another option is to give your patrons a comment card when you deliver their bill. While they’re not the same as a review on Yelp, you can aggregate the comments and feature the ratings on your website.
Receipts are another option. You can program your receipts to include a brief message at the bottom asking customers to write reviews.
Asking for Reviews on Social Media
Finally, you may want to ask your social media followers to review your business. Facebook reviews are important for local businesses since many people use Facebook to search for businesses near them. You have the option of asking for reviews in a Facebook post or using a chatbot in Facebook Messenger to ask.
Keep in mind that you’ll still need to be careful about linking out to your Yelp pages from social media. You may link directly to your Google page.
If you decide to use a chatbot, you may want to consider setting up a survey directly within the chatbot if you want to collect reviews to post on your site. Otherwise, you can simply ask people to leave a review elsewhere.
A Word of Warning…
Do not ever incentivize people for leaving a review. For starters, the quality of review will decrease, as people may not have their heart in it. More importantly, Google and others will take drastic steps if they find you are compensating people for good reviews. How drastic? How about deleting ALL your reviews? Don’t do it.
While we’re on the topic, don’t try to hide negative reviews or send people to different review sites based on whether they had a good experience or not.
One final note about reviews. While it might sound odd, customers are more likely to trust businesses that have some negative reviews. It’s not realistic for any company to get 5-star reviews across the board. That said, you should respond to negative reviews and do your best to make the customers who leave them happy.
Reviews are a necessary part of your marketing. Navigating the process may be confusing. If you need help, we would be glad to help out.