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Simon Washbrook

How to Get More Reviews for Your Small Business

Reviews for Reputation

Reviews are the bread and butter of business. Companies live off their reputation. Taking care of customers goes a long way—plus, it makes it easier to convince leads to consider you as an option. On the flipside, a bad reputation turns leads off before you even have a chance to prove them wrong.

This is all very obvious to anyone running a business, but it’s a point that worth hammering home. It simply takes one mishap to cause a customer to leave—it takes tireless work to build up trust again. That gets reflected in how outside consumers and leads view your business.

First impressions count, and you need to make sure you have control over them. Naturally, you want positive feedback from your customers. But you don’t have to rely on good service and simple word of mouth.

Good reviews are like trophies; they’re marks of service that you can proudly display. They immediately let people know you’ve excelled at what you offer. But they’re not just to show off. People trust other people far more than companies. It’s why ‘word of mouth’, especially from relatives or close friends, is a powerful persuasion tool. You can say you provide a fantastic service or product all you want, but without proof this is simply posturing. Your leads don’t want to be sold to; they want to be given a reason to listen.

Real vs Filler Reviews

That reason to listen also has to be convincing. It’s lazy to force reviews—and even worse, leads will look right through it. A forced, or filler, review that comes across as fake will give your company a reputation for desperation. Reviews that come from real customers and real experiences are vital to build an accurate image of your business.

Giving people a reason to write a review is also a big part of the process. Consumers are more likely to write a review if they’ve had a memorable experience, whether that’s good or bad. As you want to avoid a bad reputation, ensure you give customers something to write about. Maybe you had a casual conversation and found something in common? Maybe you resolved an issue immediately and without fuss, impressing your customer. These are both noteworthy moments that a customer may want to gush about.

Even then, there’s no guarantee that a customer may feel compelled to write a review. But the likelihood increases. If, for every 20 new customers, you get 5 positive reviews, that is still 5 new positive reviews!

Reviews are easy to acquire if you're a big company. But what if you're an SME, with plenty of clients but not many sources for stacking up reviews? Here are our 7 steps to getting authentic reviews for your business.

platform of trophies representing good reviews

1. Online business review sites

There are plenty of online review sites like Capterra, Glassdoor and Google My Business. These are perfect if your business needs to be put on the map. Having multiple points at which you can be found and therefore written a review of opens up the opportunities for your customers, new or existing, to advise the internet on what their experience was.

2. Advertise on your website

This is a basic but necessary addition. With trophies, you put them in a glass display case, where they are easily visible. The same goes for your existing reviews—make sure any incoming leads can see them! Most importantly, you should signpost where customers can write a review themselves.

These usually go on your homepage, but don’t be afraid to put them on more pages on your website too. It doesn’t hurt to remind your customers or leads that they can leave a review – as long as you don’t seem pushy.

3. Advertise reviews on your email marketing

As well as on your website, carrying a link or call-to-action in your emails can bring the possibility of leaving a review closer to your customers. Exercise caution here; it doesn’t need to be a bombardment, but one simple email or even one paragraph in a larger email campaign will do just fine. It could even be a small section of your email signature. Remember, this should be enough to remind your customers, not pressure them.

popcorn’s automation means you can set up an email specifically in response to a prospect’s action. In this case, that would be a purchase. Once a contact is moved into the corresponding (e.g. ‘purchased’) section in your sales pipeline, you could popcorn to automatically schedule a ‘leave a review’ email a certain time period after the initial purchase. Every condition of this rule would be completely up to you, as would the content of your email; popcorn allows you to personalise the entire experience.

4. Make reviews part of the customer experience

As part of a sign-up process, or a conversation, or an e-commerce purchase; however your customer interacts with your company, there is always a chance to drop in a mention of rating your business. This usually happens after a purchase has been made. On websites, for example, this comes as a pop-up, aided by cookies identifying a returning customer.

telesales tips man using phone in office for the article How to Get More Reviews for Your Small Business

5. Make it part of your customer service

Of course, there is no easier way to ask for a review than by doing exactly that—asking. Not every business is able to hold a conversation with each prospect before or after they become a customer, so instead the best opportunity to talk to your customer is through your customer service. Scripted though it can be, there is still enough room to slot in a quick mention of reviewing your business. Both statements and questions work well here, but remember: the aim isn’t to make your customer surrender their time, but simply to acknowledge it. Like that first sale, leaving a review needs to be appealing.

6. Embed Call-to-Actions

Think about the content you put out for your prospects. How much of that content—website, social media and email—uses calls to actions? If your answer isn’t ‘a lot of it’, you may be underutilising your content! Luckily, asking fora review can help to rectify this. Wherever you put this, if you can add a call-to-action to review or rate your business, you probably should.

7. Gamification

If leaving a review requires motivation, then a ‘gamification’ of one your business processes can provide the right sort. Gamification can give the review a reason to traverse review boards—specifically, as a task to complete for a reward. As with all of these steps, you should give them the option to opt out, as insistence can put a customer off your business. But as reviews don’t have to be high-effort, this is a task that customers can complete fairly quickly.

The key to acquiring more reviews is to remind your customers that they can—and not pressure them into it. Giving customers the opportunity to leave a review will make your rating process visible and accessible. When customers are motivated to discuss your business, the process will be much more enjoyable, increasing again the likelihood of the review being made. Every little step along the way, no matter how gentle, will make a difference. Eventually, you’ll have a collection of authentic, convincing reviews under your belt and a glowing reputation to boot.

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