Online reviews are incredibly advantageous for small businesses.
On one hand, small business owners can boost the credibility of their local brand and build their online reputation through positive business reviews. But did you know that reviews are also directly linked to your annual revenue and long term profitability?
A study published by Harvard Business Review found that every 1-star increase on the popular review site, Yelp, showed a 5-9% increase in revenue.
You don’t have to aim for billions of reviews to see the impact. Even just a few reviews for local businesses is better than having none at all.
Keep reading to find out why reviews are essential for the growth of your small business and how to ask for a review directly from happy customers.
Benefits of Reviews for Business
Growing your online reviews can offer a plethora of benefits, regardless of whether you’re a small and growing company or an already established brand.
Here’s why it’s time for you to focus on your review management.
#1. Reviews Are Social Proof
Positive customer testimonials act as evidence of business being done right. The time and money you invest in your marketing campaigns, in offering excellent customer support, and working to make your customers happy are solidified through a 5-star review.
Customers that leave positive ratings and reviews indirectly act as brand advocates for your business. They also overpower the impact of negative reviews/negative feedback, elevating your business name and status.
Reviews are a great way for potential customers to also gauge the authenticity of your business before deciding to engage with you. What better way to show your business’s worth than through the glowing review of a satisfied customer?
#2. Build Your Reputation, Grow Your Exposure
Generating online buzz about your business, through social media channels for instance, will help your business claim more online real estate. What does this mean?
By growing your online credibility, your business listings and local SEO will show more promising results. You can even earn a verified seller badge on certain review sites like Google My Business and through Yelp reviews.
This will help you to grow your exposure and create a strong foundation on which your future customer relationships can be built. Reviews can make great (free) marketers.
#3. Grow Your Sales Funnel
Online reviews can attract new prospective customers to your sales funnel. This can especially happen when good reviews gain traction among the friends and family of that reviewer.
The positive publicity through word-of-mouth and great customer feedback will then lead to an increase in website traffic, more queries from potential customers, and an opportunity to increase your conversion rates.
How to Ask for Reviews
Asking for reviews is simpler than you think. It’s as straightforward as having a conversation with a customer you know has had a positive experience and asking them to write a review on the platforms you prefer.
However, there are certain angles to consider before you do this.
Here are three areas to keep in mind before you ask customers for a review:
Which Customers to Ask for Reviews
While growing your reviews, it’s important to be strategic and target the right customers for review requests. You may be tempted to ask every customer who has purchased a product/service from you, but in the bigger picture, this would be unwise.
You want your reviews to showcase your best and most positive customer experiences. As such, these reviews should be representative of your business’s greatest strengths and show prospective customers what they’re missing out on by not doing business with you.
Target customers who:
Have been explicitly happy with your service and shared feedback with you before
Are loyal/repeat customers
Influence their social circles or online (think: social media influencers or active participants in neighborhood groups)
You can also categorize review requests based on customer type. For example:
Pro-tip: As you decide who to target for your review requests, you can also scope out different social media platforms to identify customers who may already be sparking positive buzz online. Chances are they would be willing to also write a customer review.
When to Ask for a Review
Timing is critical and a key factor to keep in mind while crafting your review request.
You don’t want to wait to ask a customer for a review two months after they’ve done business with you. Likewise, you should avoid jumping the gun and speaking about reviews before their purchase is complete.
Depending on your business and the kind of customers you have, the exact timing may vary. But align your general review strategy with these key milestones in their customer journey:
After completing the product purchase or service: You want to ask the customer to write a product review or feedback on your service when their experience is still fresh and top-of-mind.
When a loyal/repeat customer has been with you for ‘x’ months: If a customer is celebrating an “anniversary” with you and your business is one that has the nature of regular service delivery, this would be an excellent time to position your review request. For example, you can request a review after six months of working with the customer.
During customer service interactions: Customers may have follow-up questions after a sale or service (let’s say they are confused about a new product you released). You could train your customer service reps to request a review or feedback at the end of the chats or calls, after gauging the customer’s satisfaction levels.
Resources to Help You Ask for Reviews
Now that you’ve got the who and when down, it’s time to ask for those reviews!
There are several resources and methods you can use to get started. Listed below are some popular ones, just to name a few:
Email Template: Email marketing remains one of the best ways to connect with your customers directly. It’s a great way to personalize your message while tying in the review request after a recent transaction. Preparing email templates for this purpose through tools like Mailchimp or Signpost can also save time.
Email Links: Review platforms like Google My Business and Facebook provide the option to generate direct review links that you can embed into the body of your email. This way, your customers are just one click away from writing that 5-star review you want.
Embed Reviews: Sharing positive reviews by embedding them into your website or by sharing them on other platforms is an excellent way to market yourself and your brand. Doing so can also encourage other customers to jump the bandwagon and write a review themselves.
Text Message Campaigns: Users reading reviews on a mobile device are 127% more likely to make a purchase than those browsing through the desktop. This is because mobile usage has increased exponentially over the decade. Requesting reviews directly through SMS campaigns can prompt quick action, especially if your customers are from a younger demographic.
Review Management Made Easy
Customer reviews are undeniably important in boosting your brand and growing your business’s online presence.
You can make the process easier by partnering with Signpost’s review management service. We help automate review-related functions (whether it be Google reviews, Yelp, Amazon, etc.) to save you the time and effort of tracking all your reviews.
Now that you’re equipped with all the right knowledge, it’s time to start asking for those reviews!