Online reviews for businesses can be hard to manage. But with the right strategy and attitude, they can be a major driver of visibility and growth for your business. In this post, learn how online reviews can affect your business, why they are so important, and how you can get reviews for your business.
How Online Reviews Affect Business
Online reviews help consumers communicate and share their experiences, having never met each other. If you have a great business, this is great for you. However, if your business is sub-par, online reviews may discourage people from working with your business.
Why Online Reviews are Important
Great reviews are important because they can create additional visibility for your business. Case in point: you may have a website that consumers rarely see. However, consumers may find your business on a review site like Yelp or Wedding Wire. If your review page is filled out and includes detailed pictures and positive reviews, consumers will be aware of your business, and they’ll be more inclined to try it due to the positive social proof the online reviews created.
How to Get Online Reviews for Businesses
Ready to get leverage the power of online reviews for your business? Here are some tips.
Step 1: Prepare for Online Reviews
Before you start asking for reviews, it’s important to prepare for reviews by adding your business to various review websites. You can make sure you’re putting your best foot forward and providing relevant information to your current and prospective customers by taking the lead on this. Here are some review sites to consider adding your business to.
Google Business Profile
Google is a powerful search engine that strives to provide its users with highly relevant information and data. To do this, they provide business owners with a free Google Business Profile. By filling out a free profile for your business, you make it easier for Google to provide quality search results when, for example, a consumer searches for “plumber near me.”
Yelp is another company that is in the business of providing relevant data to its consumers. By claiming your business on Yelp, you can help consumers know what to expect when they visit your business and help them share their experiences, stories, and pictures with other customers.
Review Sites in Your Industry
If there is a popular review site in your industry, you may want to consider adding your business to it. For example, if you are in the wedding industry, you may want to consider adding your business to Wedding Wire, as this is a place where brides often go to search for wedding vendors and service providers.
Share Your Name
While Google and Yelp are some of the best-known business review sites, don’t limit yourself – there are many sites that offer similar opportunities. And don’t forget to register (if you haven’t already) with your local Better Business Bureau.
Review Widgets to Your Website
You don’t always have to rely on outside sources to publish your reviews. While third-party review sites are generally considered more trustworthy by consumers, don’t be shy when it comes to tooting your own horn on your website. For example, if you have positive client reviews, you can use widgets or simply have your web designer add those to your website to create social proof and highlight the great things that make your business superior.
Step 2: Ask for Reviews
Once you have places for people to leave reviews, you can create processes to request reviews and feedback from customers. For example, you can mail a postcard or send an email after a customer has come to your business asking them to leave a review by saying, “Thanks for your business. Please let us know what you think about us by leaving a review on Google.”
Step 3: Monitor Your Reviews
If you ask for people’s opinions, you will get them. Unfortunately for business owners, sometimes the most unhappy people are likely to be the most vocal. With that in mind, it’s important to have a growth mindset and follow this advice:
1. Use Feedback to Improve your Business
While it’s never fun to get a negative review, if you look closely, you can often get valuable data from negative reviews that can help you improve your product or service. First, ask yourself if any part of the situation the customer experienced was within your control. Then, if it is, do something to fix it so future customers avoid a similar experience.
2. Deal with Bad Online Reviews
How you deal with bad reviews tells a lot about a business. If you’re a small business owner, it can be easy to take a bad review personally. While that may be the case, it’s important to separate your emotions from your response to a bad review and never respond to an online review when you’re feeling angry.
Another way to deal with a bad review is to win the customer over. For example, some review sites allow customers to update their reviews. So, if you can address the customer’s issue and turn their anger around, you could end up with a customer for life and a raving review that discusses how well you handled a less-than-ideal situation.
If you can’t change your customer’s mind, you have two choices: you can ignore the review or post a public response. When posting a public response, remember to be professional. More importantly, remember that your response isn’t necessarily a direct response to the customer who left the bad review but rather a message about your character and professionalism to prospective customers who are reading your reviews.