Fool Proof Ways to Improve Your Online Reviews

best way to obtain online reviewsOnline reviews can either make or break your business. It’s the first thing I check before I purchase a product of any kind. It’s the deciding point between two similar services, and it’s the encouraging voice that convinces me to push that “Buy Now” button.

I love shopping but I also like to be smart about it. All it takes is three bad reviews to make me want to run like a roadrunner.

And I’m not alone. The majority of people have the same inclination. As humans, we are predisposed to be skeptical about the unknown, especially if we suspect it might not turn out so well. With that said, a simple reassuring statement of acceptance can make all the difference.

Convinced yet?

Don’t worry, these next few paragraphs will show you how to turn your reviews around, as well as how to encourage new ones!

Let’s start by examining your current reviews.

Although this may sound pointless, there’s plenty you can learn from past reviews, especially if they are negative. Before you start exploring ways to encourage your customers to leave meaningful reviews, it’s important that you address any past issues. Unfortunately, no matter how politely you ask your customers for reviews, this will not compensate for a bad first impression. Make sure you resolve any concerns that particularly bother your clientele.

Here’s what you can do if the reviews are negative:

  • Reach out to these individuals directly (either publicly or privately).
  • Ask them what went wrong and how you can fix it.
  • Find a solution.  These may vary but some ideas would be to offer a free trial of a product or a voucher for a free service. This should be determined by the resources your business has, and the amount of negative reviews you have.  A simple apology may just do the trick.
  • Follow up. After having a productive conversation with an unhappy client, make sure you follow up to make sure they are satisfied with your response.
  • If you feel comfortable, feel free to ask them to review your business again. This may make all the difference. The more reviews the better.

Here’s what you can do if the reviews are positive:

  • If more than one person reviews a specific service or product as exceptional, you should probably make that product or service easy to review. What I mean by this is that it would be wise to include visible review buttons on your website for that specific item or service.
  • If reviews are positive, don’t forget to say thank you. This may seem like a no brainer, but many businesses fail to do so because they believe they’ve already got that customer under their wing. Instead of risking it, why not guarantee returning customers?

After you complete a full background review on your customer feedback, it’s time to start crafting a plan of action.

Let’s start by getting social.

It’s imperative that businesses establish a positive social presence in a variety of Social Media platforms in order to obtain significant exposure. This way, your customers will most likely review your product or service if they like what they see on your Social Sites. Not to mention, it makes it easier to include review calls-to-action.

Here’s are a few simple Social Media Strategies you can count on to obtain online reviews:

The Google+ Strategy

Set-up a Google+ and Google Places Account. Google+ is a huge player when it comes to online reviews.  Not only will these reviews help your reputation but they will also maximize your click through rate. It’s especially important to pay attention to the Zagat score.  These scores and summaries are constructed from the reviews of thousands of Google+ users. They represent a central part of the Google+ ecosystem.  Their goal is to ultimately provide users with an overview of the places you care about.

  • Google+ Communities: The integration of Google+ Communities has provided businesses an opportunity to interact with a wide audience in niche specific groups. One way to obtain legitimate reviews is by providing a free trial/sample of your product or service with a proper call-to-action and asking some of your G+ Community users to try it out and review it.
  • Another way to obtain Google+ reviews is by simply asking past clientele to go ahead and review your business. A great way to do so is by e-mailing some of your clients this instructional template crafted by Local Visibility System.This template will provide your customers graphic instructions on how to set-up a Google+ account as well as how to review your business if they already have an account. The goal is to make the process easy for your clients.
  • If you’re a small/medium size business don’t forget to add your customers to your Google+ circles. You can always request reviews through their Gmail address.

The LinkedIn Strategy

Set-up a LinkedIn Account.  Many individuals are under the impression that LinkedIn is mainly to seek employment or professional related affiliations. This is true, but LinkedIn is much more than that. It’s now a crucial Marketing platform you should be taking advantage of.

  • Remember that the individual behind the business is just as important as the business itself. With that said, obtaining positive recommendations and multiple endorsements will only play to your favor.
  • Start off by pinpointing the connections you feel comfortable asking for a recommendation. Consider what you’ve done for them, if you worked with them, and how the projects turned out.
  • After you’ve selected your connections, send each a personalized message through LinkedIn asking for a proper recommendation. Remember not to be pushy about it. I usually like to reference to past projects we worked on together as well as answering why he/she should recommend me.
  • Asking for endorsements is a bit more informal. I usually choose to ask past customers who were happy with the services, or simply connections who are aware of my skills.
  • Another great way to obtain recommendations and endorsements is by simply giving them out to your connections.

Facebook & Twitter

Establishing a Good Reputation on Facebook and Twitter. It’s important to remember that a good Social Media reputation will make users more inclined to write good reviews about your business.  These platforms are also great to promote your review calls-to-action as well.

After you’ve tailored your Social Media strategy, consider these additional tips in order to obtain high quality reviews:

  • Customize your website in order to make it easy for your customers to review your products/services. For example, go beyond the simple “Review It” button at the end of an online purchase. Instead, integrate a “Give Feedback” button and even a “Suggest a New Feature” button.
  • Review quantity is very important. However, the more reviews you get on your business, the more likely there might be some negative ones. Even if you offer the best product/service out there, certain people are bound to complain.

“Despite this, it is still important that you focus on getting as many good reviews as you can. Having some bad ones is okay, but make sure you follow up with each one of those bad reviews!” Consider this: twelve good reviews and three bad ones out of fifteen reviews is acceptable and will do more good for you than a single positive review.

  • Remember ethics.  When it comes to responding to bad reviews, it’s essential that you put yourself in the customer shoes. What I mean by this is to try to recreate how you would react if you were in their position even before crafting a response.  In addition, consider responding to negative reviews directly and privately. This allows you to resolve any issues without putting your company in a defensive position. It also promotes constructive feedback.
  • Apologize. Every human being is predisposed to defend something they believe in. Therefore, when a customer has a bad experience with a service/product that you offer, it can be hard not to defend your position. Remember that the key is not to fire back at a customer, but rather to solve the problem and learn from it. Apologize and move on.

What would you add to this list?

Now that you have a basic plan of action for increasing your number of online reviews, it’s time to put it to the test. Remember that every business needs reviews in order to attract more customers and increase click through rate.

If you need help improving your online reviews, we’ll be happy to help, just contact us!

Make sure you let me know what you would like to read about next. Just shoot me a message on Twitter @luciasastre1 or comment below.

March 25, 2013

Written by Lucia Sastre

Lucia is an SEO Specialist with a true passion for Social Media and Public Relations. She has dedicated her efforts to researching and implementing new Marketing techniques for innovative technological trends. Prior to her induction to Optimum7 she successfully served in the Marketing Campaigns at Telefonica, Coastal Construction Company and Cleveland Clinic Hospital. She has also written for several newspapers including the South Florida Times, the Beacon Newspaper and the Examiner. Lucia graduated from Florida International University with a Degree in Mass Communications and a Minor in Art. With a passion for cultures and languages, she also completed four years of French at the University of Iowa. Lucia is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but spent most of her life living in the United States, Mexico and South America. In her spare time, she is a freelance photographer, teaches tennis and enjoys the outdoors.

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