Online reviews and ratings are a business’s best friend in the internet age. Consumers trust positive reviews more than any other form of advertising and marketing. They rarely make purchase decisions without scouring through endless customer reviews.
By 2030, 34% of people will use online research to research businesses. In 2023, this number fell to 14%, while online searches were largely static. Despite this, a recent local consumer review survey found that consumers use the web more often than usual.
The benefit of online reviews for local businesses
For different reasons, customer reviews are needed for brick-and-mortar shops and online businesses. While a good salesperson can work marketing magic in person, the online world doesn’t have that luxury.
Because it’s become too simple to shop online, customer reviews usually do the work of an in-person sales rep, meaning that reviews, especially positive ones, can considerably affect your purchase decisions.
How often do consumers read online business reviews?
The consumer who reads regular business reviews represents a relatively small proportion, holding a 41% increase since 2021. This suggests that consumers use the internet more for obtaining business reviews and that it isn’t as surprising. The constant rate of reviews by people should help local businesses grow reviews.
So, the question is: how can you get your satisfied customers to leave you positive reviews?
Local business reviews on multiple online review sites can establish trust between your business and potential customers. Though it can be difficult for businesses to collect customer reviews, it’s an essential aspect of marketing that must be implemented.
Here are 11 tips to help you inspire your customers to leave positive reviews of your business:
1. Just ask!
People love to share their opinions but often just need a small reminder to get their voices out there. Asking your customers directly to leave online business reviews is an excellent way to boost customer interaction with your business.
Send a follow-up email or text message to your customer after they’ve made a purchase. Link them to one of your review sites and let them take over!
2. Simplify your local business review process.
Unfortunately, customers are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive ones. Negative reviews don’t necessarily reflect all aspects of your local business, and good experiences don’t often get people passionately speaking their minds.
Getting away from negative reviews means making the review process as simple as possible so that all your customers feel encouraged to leave you positive business reviews.
Attach links on your website and customer emails to review sites to save customers crucial steps when leaving online reviews.
3. Provide incentives for writing online reviews about local businesses.
People like nothing more than receiving a reward for doing something easy. Providing an incentive for consumer reviews is a surefire way to garner some reviews for your business.
Remember, you’re not bribing your customer or pressuring them to leave positive online reviews to be rewarded. Instead, you’re encouraging them to leave reviews on a local business to help the business improve while rewarding them for their local business reviews.
Some online reviews incentives you could provide are:
- A draw for a monetary reward.
- A percentage off your next purchase.
- A free product sample.
You want your customers to feel like they are helping local businesses improve whenever they leave online reviews, so make sure to actively respond to your online business reviews, whether positive or negative.
4. Send out surveys that link to your review site.
One of the best ways a local business can begin to understand its customer base is to know how they perceive and experience your business.
As a local business, you want to be as customer-focused as possible. A survey is a fantastic method of customer communication that will leave you with business and customer satisfaction reviews.
Surveys can also be tailored to give customers more engaging and informative business reviews beyond leaving simple comments and star ratings.
Through surveys, you can learn what your local business is doing well and ways you can improve.
5. Explain why local reviews of businesses are important.
Review sites often seem littered with half-hearted reviews that don’t accurately reflect your local business’s quality and importance in the community.
It’s essential to make your customers aware of the importance of leaving detailed and impassioned business reviews for local businesses to change the monotony of review sites.
Explaining how your customers’ local business reviews help directly improve your business’s quality—if you’re doing well, you want to know!
This type of encouragement will resonate best with your already happy customers, who are more than likely to want to help local businesses in any way they can.
Positive reviews on legitimate business review websites like the better business bureau can significantly increase new and existing customers’ trust in your business. A good business review site goes a long way!
Always provide your happiest customers with links to your review site – it’s an almost guaranteed review!
6. Share online business reviews across your social media.
Review sites aren’t the only place your customer can find or write reviews about your business. Social media is also a great tool to invest in when seeking customer or professional reviews!
Sharing positive reviews from satisfied customers incentivizes other happy customers to write reviews. It can also help filter out incorrect and fake business reviews from quality ones.
Post reviews from various review sites to show you appreciate each customer interaction with your business. You must offer a review platform that allows open communication and trust between you and your consumers. What better way than showcasing that relationship through social media?
Business review websites don’t carry the same weight as a personal social media account, so ensure that your social media accounts are updated with all your favorite reviews—your customer will thank you.
7. Make your company complaint friendly.
When it comes to getting feedback, especially negative reviews, creating a complaint-friendly company can save your business problems in the future.
Only 2% of people consider using companies with 2-star ratings, while only one percent choose companies rated 1-star. Consider how you should handle customer complaints and negative reviews—each negative review is an opportunity to improve and change that customer’s mind about your service.
Your customers will respond positively if you are willing and ready to work with their feedback. If customers know their reviews will be taken seriously and responded to with care, they will be more likely to voice their opinion.
It is impossible to run a small business without making mistakes and implementing positive changes based on customer reviews shows that you care about your customers as a small business owner.
8. Include a business card with their purchase.
Keep your customers reminded of you after purchase by including a customized card with every purchase aimed at encouraging your customers to leave an online review.
A business card can be given to customers during the sale or after the job has been completed. These cards should be friendly and direct the customer to leave a review about their experience with the product, service, or staff.
Have a local artist design a cool graphic for your business card to make an even bigger impact. This will make customers more inclined to keep the cards rather than toss them away.
9. Include a message & review site link on your invoice.
Using receipts and invoices is a great way to remind customers to leave feedback, especially if the invoice is sent out after the purchase.
It’s a smart idea to feature a link to the review site where your customer can learn how to leave a review. E.g., “Love our service? Leave a review at domain.com/reviews.”
10. Post engaging signage around your business.
If you own a brick-and-mortar shop, use signage to remind your customers to leave a review after checkout. These fun and bold reminders encourage your customers to take their in-person experience to the online world.
Use bright & colorful signage that reflects unique aspects of your business without being too overwhelming or in your face.
A dedicated reviews page and signage on your website are other ways to implement a similar approach.
11. Engage your customer in conversation.
One of the most effective ways of getting a customer review is to simply talk to your customers.
Participating in active discussion and conversation with the people supporting your business establishes a rapport between staff and customers that goes beyond an average business transaction. You want them to remember your business’s unique experience, which will encourage them to leave a review about their time with you.
This interaction occurs face-to-face in your retail store, in a meeting, or online. Conversation is key to connecting with your customers and motivating them to share their feedback.
For more digital marketing tips & tricks, check out our other blog posts at Wow! Graphic Designs.