The number one way to build trust online is through a robust suite of reviews. Not certifications. Not a slick website. Not even a service guarantee. (Although all those things do help.)
Reviews are the first thing that online consumers turn to when making purchasing decisions. They’re the first thing people see when they Google your business. They’re one of the first things people look for when they come to your website with the intent to purchase.
If you don’t have any reviews, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to grow your business.
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Getting reviews is easier than you think
I can hear the internal groan and the question that probably immediately popped in your head:
“But how do I get reviews?”
Here’s the revolutionary secret to getting your customers to leave a review: Ask them.
That’s it! It’s that simple.
One reason that consumers are unlikely to leave reviews, especially if they’re satisfied with the service or product, is they don’t think about it. Their experience was so smooth that it blended seamlessly into their daily life and they didn’t need to think about it anymore.
(This is why there’s a stereotype that the only people who leave reviews are dissatisfied. If someone is dissatisfied with a product or service, they tend to fixate on it until they feel they have done something to rectify the situation, usually leaving a review to let other potential customers know about their experience.)
Whether you have 1000 new customers each week or you work with just 1 customer each month, you need to have a streamlined process in place where you are asking your customers for a review after you have delivered your product or service.
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How to ask for reviews
The more specific you can be and the easier you can make your ask, the more likely it is that your customers will help you out. So, before you start mass emailing your previous clients, think about exactly what kind of review you want them to leave.
If you want them to leave you a review on Google, Amazon, Trustpilot, Yelp, Angie’s List, or any other specific platform, be sure to include that in your ask along with a link to the exact page you want them to use for their review. The easier you make it for them, the more likely it is they will do what you want them to.
Also, let’s pause real quick and review the term “mass emailing.” Yes, you will be emailing your previous clients but there are good ways AND bad ways to do that.
If you only have a few clients, it’s best to email them individually to ask them to leave a review. The message can be the same but you’re most likely to get a yes from people who feel you reached out personally. A BCC email is not personal.
If you have lots of clients, automation is the way you want to go. The process of automation is actually quite simple.
What you would need to do here is to create an email sequence that consists of one or more emails that are asking your customer to leave a review. You add the customer into your automation sequence and send out an email (or series of emails) asking them to leave you a review. If you already use an email provider such as ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, Drip, MailerLite, or MailChimp, you should have automation functionality available to you already.
Yay! You have reviews! Now what?
Now that you’ve asked your previous clients for reviews and they’re rolling in, you may think your job is done. But it’s not done quite yet. There are still a few things you need to do.
Say thank you/respond to reviews. One action that truly goes a long way is saying thank you to your customers for their reviews. It can be as easy as responding to the positive review with a simple “thank you!” This also looks good to potential customers who are reading the reviews.
It’s also important to respond to the less stellar reviews. Not only does it address that client’s specific problems or issues, but it also shows that you are a business that cares about everyone’s experience, not just the good ones.
Plan for repurposing the reviews. The answer here is yes. You’ll want to be able to take these reviews and use them on your website, as social media posts, or in other promotional material. Best practice for repurposing reviews is to ask the poster whether or not you can use their review in other ways.
Never incentivize your reviews. Ok so this isn’t something you need to do after asking for reviews, but it is something you need to avoid doing throughout this whole process. While it is acceptable to hold a drawing or raffle for customers who leave reviews, you get into ethically murky waters if you offer something in exchange for a review.
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Great reviews can massively enhance the reputation of your business and help potential new customers trust that you’re able to assist them with their needs. Whether you sell products or services, it’s important that you’re encouraging your customers to leave reviews. These will show the quality of what you have to offer and in many cases, make a difference in how your business
is viewed in the search engines.
Check out the other steps to creating a website that dominates online with our Blueprint for Online Excellence.
Thrive Design is a customer-centric web design and marketing agency from Seattle. Contact us today to find out how we can elevate your business online! Find us on Clutch, UpCity, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.