Getting Customer Reviews

Reviews are an excellent way to tell if a business is legit or not. A recent market survey shows that as many as 72% of people find reviews as valuable as personal recommendations. Reviews are important for search engine optimization as well, and they help as local ranking factors. When your website has reviews with Google, those pages will land higher in the local search engine ranks.

With social media allowing us to have our say so easily about a product and with review websites making reviews so easy to generate, it’s time to put a plan into action. Motivating your customers to post a review takes some strategy. Here are some basic points to follow to encourage your customers to provide reviews that will raise you above your competition.

First, try to get your website reviewed at a few different websites. Google+ is ideal to start with. After that, you can move to other sites like Yelp, ReviewCentre, Brownbook, Qype, Tipped and FreeIndex.

Ask for reviews at the right time. Most of your customers won’t have more than a few minutes to review your website, so it needs to be easy and convenient for them. The best time to ask for a review is the way the big guys do it – right after a purchase is made. Websites like eBay and Amazon include this function as part of their shopping cart, and it’s easy to integrate for your website as well. If you have a manual process, make sure you have your email ready to send as soon as your product sale notification goes out. Most customers are quite excited to receive their notification and will be happy to take part in a short review at that time.

Use your social media profiles creatively to evoke responses from your customers. Most of your customers will have social media handles as well. Although most people use Facebook, you can leverage all the media you can to get reviews. Google+ is definitely the top one to look for. With Google+, you rely on your client having an account with Google. However, the integration with search engine results is far better than with other providers. Since these reviews can improve your local search results, make sure you ask for reviews with your circles.

Facebook has a review tab that allows anyone who visits your company page to see recommendations from other users. They can also leave their own review for your products. To enable the review tab, you need to be a local business, list your address and check “show this map on the page.” Since Facebook has a billion users and climbing, getting people to review you should be quick and easy to do. Then, make sure to keep the review URL handy to send to your customers.

LinkedIn also has a great review system. It allows you to display recommendations on your company profile page or on your name as an individual. The only condition for LinkedIn reviews is that your clients must to be on LinkedIn and connected to your profile.

Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube do not have review sections. But they can contribute to your review strategy. With Twitter, you can post snippets of your reviews and ask for retweets from your fans. When your fans see these reviews, they are encouraged to write in as well. Pinterest allows you to create specific boards for your reviews. So if you have images or written testimonials of your reviews, you can post them into your boards for people to see. YouTube is the toughest one to get a review on, of course, but a video testimonial goes a long way. And they are great to have on your website.

These are just a few ways you can generate reviews for your website. Be open to a mix of approaches on how to engage your customers. But keep one rule in mind: strike when the iron is hot, catch your customers when they’re feeling good about your business, and make sure they have all the options they need to review your business.