How to Get Online Reviews for Your Small Business

Customer feedback and online reviews are essential for every business. Here are the main 3 reasons why it's so important to have brand reviews online.
  • 1
    Reviews are one of the key drivers of sales
    According to the AYTM's research, 20.1% of respondents always search for online reviews before making a purchase, 29.5% take into account the other customers' opinions in most cases, while only 9.9% don't read reviews at all. This shows that for a great deal of your potential customers reviews are necessary when it comes to purchasing decisions and brand trust.
  • 2
    Your customers are the best marketers of your business
    User generated content in a form of customer reviews and comments on social media promotes your company organically, becomes a source of targeted traffic to your site and improves your search engine rankings.
  • 3
    Reviews deliver important feedback to the business.
    Who can be better at pointing out the advantages and disadvantages of your products or services than your customers? It's an excellent opportunity to improve product quality and customer service.
So, how to get online reviews for your business?
  1. Email
This is one of the simplest and most commonly used options. You can email your customers asking to share their level of satisfaction with products or service quality. There are two ways you can use this tool:
Email people who made a purchase
Personalise your email by including addressee's name and describe what you're asking for and why. If you receive no answer, it's appropriate to send one followup. More emails will most likely end up in spam, and you'll lose an effective channel for receiving feedback.
It's important to give your customers ample time to test the purchased product and form an opinion about it. On the other hand, you shouldn't let them forget about their experience. With products, the optimal timing for an email is one week from the purchase, while with services it should be sent the next day.
request for leaving review
Create a newsletter
If you already have an extensive mailing list, you can collect information on what customers think about your company, product quality, customer service, pricing, or relevance of your content.
Consider segmentation by date and activity. For example, you might have groups of users who subscribed to the newsletter over 3 months ago, opened 5 emails over a certain period of time and clicked on 3 or more links.
If customers are following your news the chances are high they will be willing to write a couple of lines about you when asked properly.
company's request for taking part in survey
2. Social media
Presence on social media not only helps attract target audience and advertise your products—it's also instrumental in getting feedback. This is the most popular way for people to share their opinions and recommendations.
Reviews on social media
Give your customers a chance to leave feedback on your business page. Welcome and respond to both positive and negative reviews. Here's how you can reinforce the positives with responding to positive reviews and how to handle the negative ones to your benefit.
example from Facebook of how to reinforce the positives with responding to positive reviews
Create a survey in your social media community
3. Surveys and questionnaires
This format is very convenient for the clients: all that's required of them is to check a couple of boxes and write a couple of lines in answer to a specific question. There's no need to register or enter your personal data.
There are multiple services that help automate creation of forms, from Google Forms to websites like Typeform.com
interface of service Typeform.com
4. Rewards for reviews
As a rule, people react positively to various contests, especially when the terms are simple. The mechanics are only limited by your imagination. For example, you can organize a photo contest where customers take a picture with the purchased products. Typically, customers would supplement their photos with texts, which serve as a great source of reviews and brand mentions. The successful campaigns are creative and offer a satisfactory reward for participation.
Providing bonuses and incentives involves additional costs but they are justified by the amount of reviews that you can get. Consider the following options for incentivising your customers:
The most popular ones are discounts, gift cards or free shipping. Determine the most suitable option for your company, which does not hit hard on the budget.
gift card from Starbucks as an example of incentive
A product sample, demo access or free service
This option works best with the most loyal customers. An example from one of our reputation marketing campaigns: giving out certificates for purchasing baby food from a brand resulted in positive reviews and coverage.
slide showing growth of positive brand mentions
What not to do: buying reviews from agencies or freelancers
Paying for reviews might seem more cost-effective and less time-consuming. But, apart from the obvious ethical issues, businesses face reputational risks when doing so.
  • Disclosure of information. When reviews are written by individuals there's no guarantee that this information won't become public.
  • Low quality. Fake reviews can easily be spotted, as most of the time people who write them don't bother to find out anything about your business and create a credible story. You've probably seen those, like a lipstick review written by Ben, a craft beer aficionado. Suspicious reviews like these damage your reputation more than the complete absence of them.
  • Popular review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are constantly introducing new algorithms to fight fake reviews, so there's no guarantee they will be able to pass moderation.
Online reviews and brand mentions will help attract more customers and encourage them to make purchases. Make sure you ask your audience to leave feedback on the quality of your services and products. We recommend using all of the above methods for obtaining reviews in order to achieve good results.
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