When you’re looking for new ways to promote your business and build trust with potential customers, there are plenty of different marketing paths you can take. There’s social media, paid ads, influencer marketing, sponsored promotions, lead generation, and more. Few marketing methods, however, are as effective as garnering public reviews.
Actually getting reviews, however, can be difficult. It’s one of the only marketing mediums that you don’t have full control over, but you can take steps to increase your overall reviews. In this post, we’re going to look at 6 strategies to build reviews small businesses need across multiple platforms, and what to do with those reviews once you get them.
Why Reviews Are So Important for Your Business
Reviews are the gold standard for small businesses who are trying to gain more customers. They show that you can deliver on what you’ve promised and that other clients have been happy.
That’s a game-changer for small businesses that are typically competing against large, big-name businesses that are already established, and it can be the difference between gaining or losing customers.
There’s an abundance of data that backs this up, including the following:
- Businesses that have more than nine recent reviews earn 52% more revenue than average. If they have more than 25, it increases to 108%.
- 93% of consumers read local reviews to determine the business’s quality.
- Conversion rates of higher-priced items increase by 380% when reviews are displayed
- Customers are willing to spend 31% more with a business when it has positive reviews.
- 91% of consumers ages 18-34 trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations from peers and friends.
Which Platforms You Need to Use to Build Reviews
Reviews are clearly important, and here’s the catch: They’re important across all platforms.
Having a decent list of reviews on every platform where your customers may look for them can help your business.
The most essential platform, hands down, is Google. This is because reviews on your Google My Business listing can skyrocket your reach by boosting your potential ranking in search engines.
Since this is where customers may come to actively seek out specific businesses, being able to rank high with a significant list of reviews can be essential in landing the customers from these high-intent searches.
Prioritizing Google is a great choice, but gathering reviews on Facebook and Yelp can also be useful. Ultimately you want the most reviews working their magic on Google, but you want reviews on any platform where customers may be looking for them.
Businesses selling products should also always feature product reviews on each individual product page, and businesses selling services should consider having a testimonial page or featuring them in a sliding deck on your site.
3 Iron-Clad Ways to Build Reviews for Small Business
Building reviews can seem intimidating when you currently don’t have any, but it’s really as simple as consistently taking three easy steps:
1. Ask for the review.
68% of consumers left reviews for a business after they were asked. Asking is really all it takes, and if asking directly for the favor with a “If you don’t mind, this really helps us!” can make a huge impact.
2. Set up automated emails following purchases sharing review links.
There are plenty of tools like Yotpo that will automatically send out emails at set points after purchase or customer service experiences. They include links to review platforms that make it easy for users to submit theirs. About 80% of reviews originate from these follow-up emails.
3. Promote reviews that you already have.
When you get a great review, share it. Publish it on social media, thank the user, and use it as a call-to-action to remind your other customers to “let us know what you think!” Include a link to the review pages you’re prioritizing to make it as easy as possible for users to do so.
Responding to Reviews: What You Need to Know
Once you build reviews, your work isn’t over just yet! It’s also important to actively respond.
When a business replies to at least 25% of their reviews, they earn an average of 35% more, and people spend 49% more at businesses who respond to customer reviews.
It’s crucial to respond to as many of your reviews as possible, particularly on Google and Facebook. It shows that you care about the time the customer spent to leave them, and it increases the perception of your brand from new customers.
Try to respond to as many reviews as possible, even if it’s with a quick “Thank you so much” or “We’re thrilled to hear that you’ve had this experience!”
And for negative reviews, don’t automatically try to get it deleted unless it’s clearly spam from an angry ex-employee (or even an ex). Respond to them.
If the customer is correct and there’s a situation that needs to be resolved, apologize for their poor experience and ask them to reach out to you so you can remedy the situation. Other customers notice this, and it actually makes them trust your business more.
And if the customer is lying about certain facts, you can always gently call them out, too. Let them know that “While we are sorry you had this experience, we have reached out multiple times to offer refunds or send a replacement.” Offering your side once again shows that you’ve taken steps to remedy the situation, and customers notice that.
Want to build reviews for your small business? As it turns out, all you really need to do is ask for them! By putting consistent time and effort into asking for reviews, promoting the reviews you have, and responding to them intentionally, you can see your review counter increase quickly. And with all the benefits they can offer your business, it’s hard to say no to that.