Many businesses thrive on positive reviews from their customers to drive new business to their doors. In the world of online marketing, review sites like Merchant Circle, Yelp, and Google Places are where your company can stand out amongst competitors if you have a good review record.
One of the issues that many businesses run into when they’re starting out in the online marketing world is that they don’t have many reviews. Not all clients are apt to jump right in and review a business – sometimes they need to be coerced or reminded to do so. That’s where things can get sticky. If part of your social media marketing strategy is to foster better connections with your clients through reviews and testimonials, ensure you’re going about it the right way.
Requesting Reviews in a Safe and Courteous Way
There’s no rule saying you can’t ask clients to review your business, but there are some actions to avoid when doing so. Some sites such as Yelp discourage incentives for leaving reviews of a certain level. For example, a restaurant can offer diners a coupon for reviewing their eatery, but they can’t say that offer is only good when a diner leaves a five-star review. They have to offer the incentive to all reviews, good or bad.
When requesting customers to review your business it’s best to do so in a low-pressure way. Some of the best methods for marketing online with fairly gained reviews are:
- posting a sign in your office lobby or entrance area reminding visitors of the sites on which you are looking to gain reviews;
- including a note on your sales receipt or invoice with the web address to leave a review;
- having handouts with reminders to review and where to do so; and
- sending follow-up e-mails to request reviews.
This latter strategy is also good for obtaining longer testimonials, which often include more personal information about a client’s interactions with your business. When sending an e-mail asking for a more detailed review to use as a testimonial, make sure you include instructions on how long of a commentary you’d like and whether or not they should provide personal information if they are comfortable doing so. Remember, don’t ask too much of your clients – a paragraph is typically enough for a basic testimonial.
A Word of Caution on Gaining Reviews
If your business is just starting out using reviews as part of your social media marketing strategy you’ll need to stagger your requests. The reason is simple – many review sites have filters to detect a sudden surge in reviews on a business’s profile.
When a business suddenly starts gaining multiple reviews in a short time span, that’s a signal to the review sites that something may be fishy. There have been instances where companies pay third-party sites to generate bogus reviews, or they ask non-customers, family, or friends to leave reviews even if they’ve never used the business.
To prevent this from happening, ask clients for reviews in small batches. Not every client you ask will provide a review, so you can play it safe by asking around 10 clients per month to review your business. You can also cycle through the different sites you’re listed on – one month ask for reviews on Yelp, the next on Merchant Circle, and so on.
Ready to get started marketing online with a review strategy? Let We Do Web Content show you the ropes. When it comes to developing a social media marketing strategy to fit your business, you need quality web content – and that’s what we do! Give us a call or contact us online to learn about the benefits of web content for your business! 888-521-3880