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3 ways to get more reviews for your business in 2020

When’s the last time you needed a new plumber, doctor or restaurant and didn’t check a review site first? Um…never.

And as a business owner, when’s the last time you let your clients leave and didn’t ask them for a review? Yesterday, perhaps?

In nearly every industry today, reviews on Google, Yelp and social media are crucial to the survival of your business. How much more true is this today during COVID-19 when we are all stuck in our own homes, with a lot less day-to-day small talk happening?

You have to stop letting clients go without getting their feedback.

Done reading and just want to use my Google form survey to get more testimonials? Here ya go!

Swipe My Google Form Survey

Go on! Try it, you’ll like it.

What online marketing interests you?Small BizNonProfitNone. I just like you or am related to youYep! Gimme the goods

A great example of a local business getting more reviews

Recently, we splurged and brought our daughters to a ropes course in southern Wisconsin. Their brothers were at overnight camp all summer, but my daughters’ camp was closed due to COVID. The ropes course trip on a random Sunday was a result of my mom guilt.

My girls had a great time, but I was headed out of town the next day and didn’t bother to leave a review anywhere.

Until they emailed me.

I love this email because it made it easy for me to respond.

This follow up was perfect in so many ways. And I of course took the 20 seconds to leave a review. Here’s what I like about it:

  1. They followed up the next day while the experience was fresh in my mind.

  2. It goes to every customer automatically instead of just the few who the business knows are satisfied.

  3. The 5 stars led me to Google reviews, and 4 stars and below led me to a Survey Monkey form. That way, they can improve and keep unsatisfied customers off the public review sites. I would have probably had the 4 stars lead to Google reviews too, though.

  4. This initiative was free!

Perfect the few seconds you have to make a good digital impression on your customers

When you look up a new business or service and decide to use their service or product, most likely you spend all of 10 seconds absorbing information on a site like Google, Yelp or Facebook and then know which one you like.

As businesses, this means we are left to perfect that 10 second moment or we’ve already lost so many opportunities. While word of mouth still remains the most dependable source of new business for most of us, gaining new customers by creating an excellent digital introduction to our business is essential. Key to that success is reviews.

No matter your industry, positive reviews typically don’t come naturally. It’s human nature to react when we’re annoyed but move on – albeit pleasantly surprised – when we are feeling appreciative. Rare is the customer who feels delighted and then proactively leaves a review.

This is why you need to ask.

How to ask for reviews

If you leave your review pages up to the hands of fate, you’ll end up with a lower rating. True, this could be because your business stinks. But most of us toil in what we do because we care, and our ratings should reflect that.

Set yourself up for good reviews

If you want to receive more positive reviews, the first step you’ll have to take is to ensure your review pages are set up and you’re actively monitoring them.

If you have a brick and mortar location for your business, you’ll want to claim your page in Google. This is essential to making sure the correct address is listed for your business and that no one else claims your business for you. Once you do that, you’ll receive emails when there is a new review, and you should respond to these within 24-hours. If it’s positive, thank them! And reshare that information as a testimonial in other places.

If it’s negative, acknowledge the feedback without going into too much detail or getting defensive and let them know you’re addressing their concerns. Then, go ahead and fix the problem. You can even go back to the reviewer later and let them know how you handled the issue, which shows the whole world that you take feedback seriously and are committed to your customers. Next stop for you, my friend, is surely tackling world peace.

When it comes to social media, don’t ignore that space. If a lot of your word of mouth business happens on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to actively check your reviews on these channels and respond. Thank them if it’s positive and publicly acknowledge them if it’s negative. Then, take the conversation over to the private messages so that you can help them sort out their issue. Once you fix the problem, you can publicly respond and let the world know.

Does this sound like a pain? Perhaps. But consider this: customer relations has ALWAYS been a part of business. Meeting your customer where they are – which is online even more so today during the pandemic – is an integral component of customer service today.

What to do with reviews

Reviews are great fodder for social media. You can share the reviews you get on social media directly by pressing the share button (as you should!), and you can quote them in social media posts and as testimonials on your website.

Is it okay to ask employees for reviews?

Asking your employees for a review can be a little tricky. It’s tempting to ask employees to review you because it improves your rating to get a bunch of 5-star reviews. If people know your business because you’re in a small town or because they’ve visited your business in the past, and then they see employees misrepresenting themselves as customers, this looks super shady.

Here’s what you can do, though. Encourage your employees to leave an HONEST review about what it’s like to work for your business. This can improve your rating, impress your customers (not to mention prospective employees) and is totally ethical.

Mistakes businesses make when asking for reviews

We’ve already discussed that NOT asking for a review when a client leaves is your first mistake. But the way you ask for reviews can end up worse than not asking at all. Here are 3 things you should avoid when trying to build up your reviews. Google can take down suspicious reviews, and it looks bad for your business.

  1. Asking too many past clients at once so your reviews come in sudden batches. This looks suspicious to Google

  2. Asking employees to leave fake reviews as if they are customers. And don’t even think about having them create fake accounts.

  3. Offering incentives for positive reviews. Instead, ask them for an honest review with no incentive.

  4. Getting too many reviews on your premises. This looks suspicious because Google will assume you’ve provided an incentive to review you.

Gathering testimonials for a new business

One challenge for new businesses is that you don’t have past clients to ask for reviews. But you need reviews for testimonials on your website for credibility. One way to do this is to let people use your product or service when it’s still in the beta stage and then ask them for reviews. You can even give them a discount or free service in exchange for an honest review.

If you worked in a similar industry or different job in a similar space, you can ask your past clients or colleagues to give you a testimonial by sending out a survey. You can swipe mine here to use for your own business.

Swipe My Google Form Survey

Go on! Try it, you’ll like it.

What online marketing interests you?Small BizNonProfitNone. I just like you or am related to youYep! Gimme the goods

Following are 3 ways to proactively get more reviews from your clients.

  1. Add a link to your email signature: Once you’ve claimed your Google Business page and are on top of your social media reviews and comments, go ahead and add links to these pages in your email signature. Here are instructions to find your direct link on Google. Find it on Facebook (at right) by going to your page and clicking on “Reviews” in the left bar.

  2. Make a habit of reaching out to customers when they leave your business: This is what Boundless Adventures did. Once a client leaves your business, you can follow up with an email or a text thanking them for their business and asking them to take a minute to leave an HONEST review. If you’re going to do this, don’t ask them directly for a 5-star review because that’s not authentic. You also don’t want to ask them for a review while they are still on your premises because Google can see where your reviewers are, and this will be suspicious. (Creepy, I know.) Google has been known to remove suspicious reviews.

  3. Use a service like Get More Reviews: There are a lot of companies that will automate the process above for you at a reasonable price. You will need to add emails and cell phone numbers into the dashboard, and then the review service will reach out to them on your behalf. What I like about this service is that you’re more likely to keep up with the reviews because it’s simpler and you’re more committed by paying for it. It also offers recipients the option to write their ANGRY ALL CAPS RANT to you in a private message rather than on a public review. Many times, they will actually choose this because the goal of a negative reviewer is often just to get the owners’ attention. You’ll also be able to track a lot of reviews in one place if you own multiple locations of your business.

Most importantly, keep doing the good business practices you started out to accomplish, and let the 5-star reviews pour in.

Want to talk strategy for your business? Be in touch! Let’s talk.

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