98% of consumers read a review before buying from a company. For small businesses, reputation is everything, and a 5* review can be the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity.
Reviews give a business credibility and are an excellent piece of social proof, “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”
If that official definition was a little too jargony, essentially, it means if a potential customer sees that other people are buying (and loving) a product or service, they’ll also want to.
For local businesses, reviews significantly impact local SEO ranking, meaning the more reviews you have, the higher you rank on Google. They’re also important for capturing potential customers like me that will filter searches by 4* and above at any opportunity!
So now we know how important client reviews are for your small business, let’s dive into how to get them.
Collecting reviews for your small business is easier than you think. A recent consumer study by brightlocal found that 76% of people who are asked to leave reviews go on to do so. So, if you want to boost your Google reviews, all you have to do is ask!
But when’s the right time to ask?
There’s no point asking a client to leave a review before they’ve received the product or service in question. But leave it too long, and they risk forgetting how much they loved it. Best practice suggests waiting between 7 to 30 days post-purchase before asking for a review. Of course, if the opportunity presents itself earlier, for example, if a customer raves about your service immediately after it’s finished, ask if they’d consider posting a review on Google then and there.
When you’re ready to reach out to a client about leaving a review, options include:
To maximize your chances of clients leaving a review, follow these four simple rules.
Need advice on how to handle customer complaints about your business? Check out this article.
It is illegal to incentivize Google Reviews in the US and many other countries unless the review clearly states that it was paid for/collected as part of a promotion. But even if you follow the rules and make the appropriate declaration, be very wary of paying for reviews. For many consumers, seeing “collected as part of a promotion” on every review can often be perceived as a little suspicious!
If you’re going to the trouble of collecting client reviews on places like Facebook, Google, etc., it’s a good idea to pull them onto your website too.
Most CMS systems have plugins/scripts that allow you to aggregate reviews from other platforms (i.e., display Google reviews on your website). If yours doesn’t, you can add them manually or use third-party software like EmbedReviews.
Tip: If you’re adding reviews manually, always go for text over screenshots so Google can index them. Reviews are a gold mine for keywords that will help boost your SEO, but if you use pictures, Google won’t be able to detect them!
Add a review Schema to your website’s code to take things a step further. Schema App has an article with more information on how to do it. But, if you don’t fancy tackling the task yourself, you can hire a freelancer via sites like Upwork to take care of it.
There are many options for collecting client reviews, and it might take some trial and error to find out which works best for your customers. The good news is it’s free to ask. And as we discovered, sometimes asking is all it takes!
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