Many local business owners realize that positive online reviews can help their business grow.
Unfortunately, many aren’t aware of how important reviews are and the positive impact they can have.
Consumers today are relying on reviews more than ever before to learn more information about the products and services they purchase.
- 90% of consumers trust online reviews as much as, or more than, personal recommendations
- 88% of buyers regularly rely on reviews when purchasing a local product or service
Getting more reviews for your business is an incredibly effective form of social proof.
These reviews tell your potential customers and clients that your current customers are happy with your service and willing to share their experience.
Even more, reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp are being used as a search engine ranking factor for local searches.
Search engines are picking up on relevant links, analyzing reviews, and using geolocation markers to give users the most accurate results.
To start generating (positive and authentic) reviews regularly you’ll need to be proactive and committed in getting your clients and customers to share their experience.
It seems tricky, though it’s a simple strategy once you start using it.
Why Reviews Are Important For Your Small Business
Your clients and customers want to make sure they’re getting the value for the price in the products and services you’re offering.
With so much competition in local markets it’s important that your small business stands out from the rest.
You need to give people a reason to choose your business over your competitors – and that’s where a collection of positive reviews comes in.
Using traditional SEO strategies for small businesses will get you to the top of the search engine results but it’s online reviews that are going to convert your leads into paying customers.
Look at reviews as contemporary referrals.
Having a number of positive reviews for your business shows people that you’re offering a quality product or service that other people can stand behind.
Don’t forget that people always trust more what is said about you rather than what is said by you.
Focusing on generating positive reviews is great way to stand out from your competition and dominate your local market.
How to Get Reviews For Your Small Business
The niche or industry of your small business that dictates how difficult or easy it is to get reviews.
The best way to get reviews is to be proactive with your approach and make it easy for your customers by using what’s called a review funnel.
This quick guide assumes you’re collecting emails – something that every small business owner needs to be doing.
Here’s how to get your customers into your review funnel:
Step 1 – Create an Email Template That Asks for Reviews
Reaching out to customers via email is an effective way of generating new reviews.
Avoid asking people to review your business while they’re still on the property.
It’s possible that reviews are filtered on certain websites depending on the location (IP address) so it’s best for them to share their experience from home.
There’s no need to be pushy with your request, a simple “Hey, we’d love if you could share your experience online” is all you need.
Step 2 – Add Review Links to Your Google My Business and Other Review Profiles
The next step is to add review links directly to your business profiles online.
This makes it easy for your customers to find you on Google Reviews, Yelp, and other platforms where they can quickly leave reviews.
Don’t forget to optimize your Google My Business profile for better results.
Step 3 – Add Review Links to Your Email Signature
If you’re sending out emails regularly from your small business consider adding review links in the signature.
You can even add links to your business cards, invoices, and anywhere that your customers are interacting with your information.
This is another way to nudge your customers into leaving reviews without being pushy.
Step 4 – Write Reviews for Other Businesses
Are there other businesses in your local marketplace that you’ve worked with or used before?
Leave reviews for these businesses and share your experience from a local business owner point of view.
Search users as well as other businesses will see these reviews and be more inclined to share their experience about your business.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to people in your network to ask for reviews as well.
You’ll find that people are happy to share their thoughts online, especially if they’ve had a positive experience.
Where to Start Building Your Online Review Presence
Positive reviews have two main benefits – social proof and local SEO rankings.
The Google algorithm takes review activity into account when determining the businesses that show up in the 3-pack at the top of their results.
This means you can’t ignore Google Reviews if you want to get listed at the top.
The three platforms you should start generating reviews for are:
- Google My Business (Google Reviews)
- Facebook (A page for your business)
Keep in mind that for Google My Business you’ll need at least 5 reviews for the review stars to be displayed in the local search results.
Don’t forget about any local review sites in your industry where you can list your business and generate even more reviews.
For example, contractors will want to focus on HomeAdvisor.
Hotels and travel based companies for want to focus on TripAdvisor.
Do you see what I’m getting at?
Another thing, look out for bloggers and local blogs that are writing “top 10” posts about businesses or industries in your area.
It’s important that you get listed in these posts as this will help with reputation management and branding.
Reputation Management Tips
Speaking of reputation management for small businesses…
You can’t just set up your review funnel and have it run automatically without putting in any effort to generate reviews and feedback.
It’s important to keep track of what people are saying about your business.
As a business owner you need to be present and proactive when replying to and dealing with reviews.
Here are some small business reputation management tips:
- Avoid fake reviews at all costs. Google can detect most non-authentic reviews and will penalize your website rankings.
- Always reply to reviews – even the negative ones.
- Address all negative reviews in a professional manner and make an effort to change the person’s thoughts about their experience with great customer service.
- Don’t stress out over negative reviews and do your best to prevent them from happening by improving your business.
- Detail reviews are some of the best reviews you can get. You’ll find plenty of helpful information in these longer reviews that you can use to optimize your business.
At this point I hope you’ve come to realize how important reviews can be for your local business.
People online look at reviews as social proof before making purchasing decisions.
Generating positive reviews can also help with your small business website rankings.
It’s hard to argue against the benefit of getting reviews for your business so it needs to be something you focus on from day one.
This is one of the best small business marketing strategies, especially when you’re starting out and looking to grow.
Need help with reputation management or generating more reviews for your business? Don’t hesitate to contact me at any time. I’d love to help!