5 Ways to Gain More Online Reviews

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You need more online reviews to encourage customers to make a purchase. Reviews are the digital handshake that determines whether or not customers want to do business with you, and there is plenty of research to prove it:

  • 90% of consumers read online reviews before moving on to visit a business's website
  • 72% of people won’t take a next step with a business until they’ve read its reviews
  • It takes 10 reviews for a consumer to form an opinion about a business

Consumers will only see you as trustworthy enough to buy from or work with when you have enough reviews.

Does that make you worried about how many reviews you have (or how good they are)? I'll set your mind at ease!

70% of the time a customer will leave you a review if you just ask directly. Which is why I’m going to show you a few tricks to help you reach out for them. Here are five ways you can gain more online reviews!

1. Use the right review platform.

Review platforms are great for two main reasons:

1. They do all the heavy lifting for you as far as hosting a space for your reviews

2. They serve as a marketplace where consumers are already searching for businesses to work with

Platforms essentially create engagement for you, but only if you pick the right review platform for your business.

For example, a software company shouldn't be on Yelp (a review platform for businesses in the service industry), and a restaurant shouldn’t be on Capterra (a review platform for software companies).

You need to pick the platform where your customers already go to search for products and services like yours—which is why I’ve laid out each major review platform below, plus the types of consumers who use it.

Amazon: Online shoppers looking for a specific kind of product

Angies List: Home or property owners looking for maintenance services

Better Business Bureau: Consumers looking for a trustable small business or nonprofit to work with

Capterra: Consumers looking for software to help manage their daily lives

G2: Businesses looking for software to help manage their company

Home Advisor: Homeowners in need of maintenance and remodeling services

Manta: Small businesses looking to connect with other small businesses

Tripadvisor: Consumers looking for options within the hospitality industry

Yellow Pages: Locals looking for everything from attorney to plumbing services

Yelp: Locals looking for restaurants, dentists, hotels, and other brick-n-mortar located services

In addition to these specific markets, Google and Facebook are two review platforms you’ll want your business to be on—regardless of what your specialty is—because every and any kind of consumer uses them.

PC: Vendasta

2. Optimize your email outreach.

Email is not dead and works great for gathering reviews when you already have a relationship with the person.

The average person sends and receives about 300 emails a day, but less than 15% of them are actually opened. So here are some tips to make sure your email’s copy and a format grab the customer's attention:

1. Keep it brief: The shorter, the better. Avoid unnecessary jargon, or industry slang, and keep your sentences simple and sweet.

2. Be polite: Don’t forget to say please! Afterall, the customer is taking time out of their day to help you.

3. Reinforce your brand: Make your review request pop by staying true to your brand’s guidelines. Use your typical logos, font colors, and any banners.

4. Use a killer subject line: Your email’s subject line is the first thing the customer will see. You can make sure it stands out by using emojis, no caps, and informal, friendly copy.

The average email marketing ROI is $40 back for every dollar you spend. These tips above will just help ensure your review request campaign is even more profitable!

Related: How to Craft Emails People Actually Want to Read

PC: Public Rec

3. Ask them in person.

This is an absolute must if you provide any kind of service where you and your staff are face-to-face with customers, like:

  • Healthcare
  • Homeservice
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Salon

A face-to-face ask will make customers feel as if they are leaving you a review, instead of just a business. Plus the customer may even leave the review on the spot if you show them where to go, or if you offer a discount on that day's purchase!

You can ask customers for reviews at the register as they’re checking out, or at the door as you’re leaving their home. In either case, it’s always best to ask for a review after the service has been provided, because it gives the person something to base their review off of.

It also helps to have a recited ask among your staff, so no one feels unsure of what to say when they make their review request.

The best part is you can actually gauge whether or not the customer enjoyed their service when you’re face-to-face. So use this to your advantage to get reviews from the happy customers who you’re certain will leave you 5-star reviews!

When you ask in person, you still need to follow up with an email or text reminder, because the customer will likely forget or not be able to in the moment.

4. Provide an incentive.

Sometimes customers need an extra push to leave a review, like:

  • Swag (stickers, pens, magnets, ext.)
  • Discounts on a next purchase
  • Shoutouts on social media
  • Raffle entry for larger prizes

PC: Audible

Just make sure these perks are available for every customer who leaves a review and that the reward doesn’t require them to only leave a 5-star rating. Otherwise you’ll end up alienating your customers.

Anytime you give a reward for a review, you’ll need to disclose that reward on your website and review platform to comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations.

Always follow through on the rewards you offer, and pick ones that are affordable for you.

5. Text them directly.

A consumer will usually only leave you a review if it’s convenient for them. They won’t go out of their way to Google your business and find the place you want to be reviewed—which is why you need to provide the review link for them.

Texting is one of the fastest ways you can get a link in front of a customer, because:

  • 99% of text are read
  • 95% of texts are read in three minutes
  • Texts have a 45% click-through-rate

All you need is a friendly message, like:

“Thanks for your purchase! If you have a moment to leave a review, you can do so at: www.review.com”

This simple and quick process has helped some businesses get up to 300% more reviews!

We’ve increased our amount of reviews by 58% using Text Request to text customers review links, and we’ve noticed more people are looking us up through Google Maps and Direction Request. The average local business has 39 Google reviews, but with Text Request’s help STOR-N-LOCK’s average number of reviews has reached 170 per store! - Matt, STOR-N-LOCK

Engage with the customers who leave you reviews!

The more reviews you gather, the more opportunities you have to engage with them and show you care about what they have to say. Even if they’re bad, 45% of people say they’re more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews, and 70% of customers will give you a second chance if their issue is resolved.

You just need to stay active on your review platform, and our Online Reviews Playbook will give the best tips on how to do so!