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Discover how to collect client reviews for your small business, why customer reviews are important, and how to display review

How to collect client reviews for your small business & why you need to

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. 

Why collecting client reviews is important for your small business

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. 

How to ask for Google reviews 

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: 

  1. Via Text — If you send a follow-up text after an appointment, this is an excellent opportunity to include a prompt to review and a link to your Google Business Profile
  2. A review button/testimonials page on your website — A prominent review button reminds clients to leave a review the next time they visit your website. For maximum effectiveness, this method should be used in conjunction with at least one other review collection method on the list. 
  3. Via email — Again, if you send a follow-up email post-purchase, including a prompt to leave a review can be incredibly effective. Alternatively, you could send out dedicated review request emails or include a link in the footer of your newsletter. Whichever you choose, make sure to include a reference to the product or service so clients know what you’re asking for a review of. 
  4. Custom hashtags on social media — Encouraging users to share their experiences/photos with a custom hashtag makes it easy for you and anyone researching your business to find real-life customer reviews. Include reference to the hashtag in emails/texts you send out about an order, and repost content to promote it (making sure to tag your customers). 
  5. CTA’s on receipts, invoices, thank you cards, etc. — Include review requests (and a link) on any “paperwork” you send out about a purchase. If you sell a physical product, you could also design a small thank you card to go in each order. Canva has some great templates if you’re stuck for ideas. 

Tips for getting client reviews 

To maximize your chances of collecting reviews, follow these four simple rules. 

  1. Personalize the request wherever possible. Include the client’s name and the product/service they purchased. 
  2. Make it as easy for customers to review your business as possible. Always include a link to your chosen review site in your requests (whether that’s your Google Business Profile, a product page on your website, industry-specific review sites, or your social media profiles). 
  3. Explain (briefly) why reviews are important for your small business.
  4. Respond to every client review, good or bad. It shows anyone looking at your business that you value your customers and is a good place to inject some personality. Just make sure to avoid the same “Hey X, thanks for the review” response for every review — that’s worse than not responding at all. 

Need advice on how to handle customer complaints about your business? Check out this article

Things to remember when asking for reviews 

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! 

How to display reviews on your website

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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