A while back, we did a blog and video on “How Reviews Help Your SEO” where I spoke about trends, tips, and HOW reviews can help your SEO. In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to implement a system to keep getting NEW reviews. Let’s dive in.
Things to Know Before You Start Collecting Reviews
- You cannot incentivize your clients to leave a review online. Most of the platforms where you will collect reviews have items in their terms of service that explicitly prohibit offering any compensation for a review.
- Don’t set up a computer within your office or store to collect reviews because the platforms will know that they are all coming from the same location, IP address, and business.
- Different devices use different platforms for reviews which is why it is important to diversify where you get them. For instance, Siri displays Yelp reviews, Google devices display Google reviews, Amazon devices that are enabled with Alexa change frequently but have used both Yelp and Bing in the past.
The Four Steps to Get New Reviews
Step 1: Claim your local profiles
Before you can begin collecting reviews you need to be sure that you have claimed your profiles on the channels that you’d like to generate reviews on. Depending on your business this may be Google my business, Yelp, Bing Places, or an industry site such as Avvo if you are a lawyer. We have put together some resources to help you claim those profiles including a checklist to claim your local SEO profiles if you need a refresher on that.
Step 2: Provide great service or products
In order to get those coveted five-star reviews, it’s important to provide good service and or a good product. As long as you have that base covered, you should have no problem tapping into those Happy Feelings your clients or customers have when working with you.
Step 3: Ask customers for a review immediately following the completion for delivery of a service or product
In my experience, it is easiest to ask customers for a review right after they’ve had a positive interaction with you and it is also important to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. One tactic I find particularly effective is to write a script for the customer if you are sending it via email. Here’s an example:
“I had a great experience working with Steve! He was able to take my vision for redesigning our closet and bring it into reality. The project stayed on time and it fit within our budget and now we have a beautiful closet that my wife never wants to leave. Thank you, Steve!”
Another approach might be to provide them with a framework such as, “ I had a ___________ experience working with Michelle. I especially loved that she ______________________________________. Now I can ___________________________________________________ all thanks to Michelle’s work.”
Yet another tactic might be to lead the client to give you the type of review that you’d like by saying something like, “ I’d really appreciate it if you could leave me a review about how happy you are with your new Operating Agreement that we created for you and your partners.”
Step 4: Make it Easy by Providing a Link Via Email, Text, or QR code
One thing we tell our clients at Illuminous Marketing is to always send a link to the client of where you would like them to leave a review. It is important to vary your strategy across several platforms to give your business the best holistic reputation. As I’ve mentioned, different devices can pull reviews from places like Yelp, Google, Bing, or other industry-specific websites.
Here’s a simple way to make it easy for your clients:
- If sending an email paste the link to your profile right in the email.
- Pro tip: If the client has a Gmail address you already know they have a Google account so you can guess that it will be easy for them to leave a review for you on Google. Click to Tweet
- If you have a close relationship with your clients that you would have their phone number in your phone, you can have a pre-written text that includes a link to the profile within a text message.
- Pro-tip for texting: Yelp! is often installed on smartphones so perhaps you focus on Yelp reviews via text messaging.
- For retail or hospitality businesses, it is often a good idea to have a QR code posted prominently in high traffic areas such as near a cash register, on a table tent, or on the window as customers are leaving. QR codes can link to any website you wish and many of the review sites will send you a sticker with a QR code for free. There are also plenty of free QR code generation sites online that can walk you through this process.
Rinse & Repeat Daily or Weekly
In order to be successful with reviews, it is important that you implement a system that allows you to continuously follow up with customers or clients. The biggest pitfall that I see clients fall into is only doing review generation efforts once a year or once every few years. This puts a lot of burden on the business to remember who you enjoyed working with, who your customers were in the last year, and whom you have and have not already gotten a review from. It also puts you at a disadvantage perceptually because reviews do show the date on which they were collected. If you only have one review from last year and two reviews from the year before and one review from the year before that, the impression is that you’re not providing consistently good service.
To make consistent review generation easy for people in your organization, you want to build a process that can look something like this:
- Complete your service delivery.
- Thank the client or customer for doing business.
- Immediately ask them if they would be willing to leave a review.
- If they reply yes, immediately send them the script and link source of your choice.
- Once a review is left, thank them publicly on the platform, thank them via email or text however you asked them for the review. Also, if you get any new business from that review, be sure to let the client know and thank them again. It is important to recognize your clients’ efforts of going above and beyond when they take the time to do this for you.
Once you are successful in generating a handful of reviews on each site, you should notice increases in your local search visibility and increases in traffic to your website. You can check this in your Google Analytics reports under Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium to see where traffic comes from.
Lastly, if you have an Account Management or Customer Service team, it can help to incentivize them with bonuses for promotional items for who gets the most reviews in a given time. We have seen several clients have success gaining new reviews with a little healthy competition in the office.
Other topics that we will be covering in this series will include “How to Respond to a Negative Review” as well as “How to Use Your Reviews for Maximum Benefit” beyond these platforms.
Do you have any tips or tricks that have helped you to get reviews for your business? Send us a message, we love to hear success stories!