The Right Way to Get Reviews for Your Local Business

Reviews are a tricky piece of work for local businesses. Every business wants positive feedback from their customers, but sometimes it’s a fine line between soliciting reviews and receiving them naturally. Review sites such as Yelp and Google+ frown heavily on asking customers for reviews or offering product or money for leaving a good review on your site. If these review sites can detect any sort of pattern in the reviews posted, often they will not show or count them. 

Before we look at the right way to get reviews for your business, let’s take a quick peek at what not to do. First off, if your reviews show up in any kind of pattern, that pattern is detectable by a computer algorithm and that equals bad news for you. Here’s what you’ll want to watch out for:

  • IP address of the reviewer - never ask for reviews from your location.
  • Timeline - if several reviews come in together over a period of time (i.e. all in the same day or week) it could mean customers were asked to leave a review in one big  push.
  • Same phrases - if you see customers leaving the same type of wording in their reviews, it often looks orchestrated. 

The bottom line? Don't try and get reviews en masse. It’s only going to raise red flags and the likelihood of those reviews getting posted are slim to none. 

Now that we know what NOT to do, we can take a look at how to get reviews that are actually approved, shown, and can help grown your business. By now it should be pretty obvious that a review is best when it is placed without your interaction. That isn’t to say that you should stay out of the matter completely. Businesses can influence people to leave reviews through communication. 

The number one way to get guaranteed reviews is through solid, out of this world customer service. You treat every single customer like they are kings and queens. Give them no choice but to sing your praises to others. This is definitely a long term investment and will take time and effort on your part, but it is worth it when those positive words come flowing to your site. Each review will be a piece of gold to your business and help to boost sales. 

Integrate with Email Marketing

Define email contact points
How do you interact with your customers online? Do you have a newsletter, offers, follow up for purchases or visits or send confirmations? You don’t have to be selling a product to interact with your customers, there should always be some form of communication from you to them that will give the opportunity to influence a review.

Communicate for something other than a review
Rather than trying to weasel a review out of your customer, find another reason to get in touch with them. It could be a customer survey or just a quick check in about their purchase or buying process. Be interested in what your customers have to say and if you get a reply (which means you have an engaged customer), then it’s okay to mention that you would appreciate a review. A customer who is willing to communicate with you one-on-one and visibly see that you are genuinely interested in their experiences will be more open and willing to write a review. 

Social media is also a great method for interacting with your customers. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter aren’t necessarily used for reviews, but engagement. Here you can post special offers, talk with your customers about the benefits of certain goods or products, and respond to their questions and comments. The more communication you see happening on your social media outlets will lead naturally to reviews coming in to your business. 

Reviews are not designed to be the bane of local businesses. They are there to help your business flourish and grow. Just make sure you are asking for reviews in a natural way and not coercing or enticing customers to leave a review that will appear unnatural to review sites. 

While it is important to invest for the long haul, not all businesses can afford to wait that long and need quicker and more immediate solutions. And lucky for you, we have a few to share.