Between frustration with online review sites, over-promising of online marketing companies and a general lack of understanding, it seems as if business owners have had enough of the online reviews. Unfortunately, it is not their choice whether their customer base reviews them publicly or not. The best plan is to have a strategy and to stick to it, adjusting the sails from time to time to ensure it is working. Recent estimates have shown that up to 90% of internet users research a business online before every going in or picking up the phone to call. This goes to show that a positive review can be the gift that keeps on giving, so it’s worth going after.
We hear and see a constant barrage of negativity in our lives and online reviews are no different. As a matter of fact, I saw a recent study that says that our brains are actually hardwired for negativity. This was a survival mechanism when we were living in caves to make sure we were not killed by Lions, Tigers, or Bears, oh my! I digress, now it means that we see negativity every day in our lives and that online reviews are no exception. That being known, you need to have a plan in place to be constantly asking for feedback for your business in a way that will help to ensure positive reviews, because they are the gift that keeps on giving. Before you do so, make sure you have your affairs in order using the guidelines below.
- Is my business ready to start asking for reviews?
If you are a new business or a business that has gone through a lot of changes lately, you may hold off until you are fairly certain that the customer will have a great experience with your business before asking for reviews. Otherwise you could be doing more harm than good.
- What review sites are important to my business and why?
There are literally 100’s of different online reviews sites these days. Make a choice to pick 1-2 to work on and solicit feedback to and this will make your life much easier. Just simply Google the name of your business and see what comes up. If you have review sites coming up in the top search results for your business, it will be wise to work on those first, as that is what new customers will see.
- Am I asking for reviews on social media?
If you are not, you should be! Make sure and provide links to the sites you are working on once or twice a month to your social media audience and also to thank people for positive reviews on those sites as well. This will give your loyal patrons the hint that you want them to give feedback in these specific places.
- Can I collect e-mail addresses?
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you are collecting e-mail addresses of people that have recently patronized your business. You can e-mail all of these people, in a timely manner, to ask them to review you on certain sites. This will be important to keep the ball rolling on receiving positive reviews and keeping your account active and awesome!
All in all, people are looking at your reviews, so you might as well get a plan in place to take it over. Although many review sites will ask you not to solicit feedback, they are not the one trying to stay viable in this world wired for negativity. Ask often and be awesome at what you do and online reviews will be the gift that keeps on giving!