6 Easy Ways to Get Online Reviews

The past few weeks we’ve been discussing why online reviews are a critical part of your online marketing and SEO. What we haven’t talked about is how to get them. Enter this week’s blog! When you’re focusing on your online reviews, it’s easy to get caught up in one or two bad reviews you may have. But the easiest way to combat negative feed back is by loading up on positive reviews. Below are 6 easy ways to get online reviews from happy customers, as outlined by Nellie Akalp in Forbes.

1. Set Up Profiles on Multiple Review Sites

Consider all the sites that are relevant to your business: Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Local, Yahoo Local, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, and CitySearch. Even if you don’t think you are in a review-driven industry like restaurants and hospitality, general review sites like TrustLink and Trustpilot are great (Trustpilot has the added benefit of showing up on Google).

2. Ask Your Customers

Want to know the best way to increase the number of reviews for your business? Just ask. Your customers understand how important reviews are to your business, and as long as you provide an excellent product or service, they won’t be annoyed if you ask for a review. Don’t wait too long: customers are more likely to give you feedback right away.

The next time a customer compliments you via email, phone, or in person, mention that you’d appreciate if they left the same feedback in an online review on Trustpilot, Yelp, or the review site of their choice.

3. Make It Easy to Leave Reviews

Unless someone has a negative experience to share, the average customer is not going to look for ways to leave your company a review. That’s why you need to ask them to post a review and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Put direct links to your review profiles in multiple places; for example, a follow-up email, newsletter, and your website. Yelp offers downloadable “Find us on Yelp” banners that you can use on your website or print out for your store.

4. Incent (but Don’t Buy) Reviews

Sometimes even your most satisfied customers need some extra incentive to take time out of their busy schedule to write a review. Offering a small incentive is a good way to show your appreciation. You just need to make sure your offer is for writing a review, and not for writing a good review. Monthly giveaways, where you choose one reviewer at random, are effective ways to encourage reviews, and there’s no semblance of a transaction where you are paying for a review.

5. Thank Your Reviewers

If the review site allows it, thank each person who reviews your product or service. In addition, you can even surprise a top reviewer by sending them a discount code or freebie after they’ve posted a review. This simple act will turn a satisfied customer into an incredibly loyal evangelist.

6. Make Reviews a Part of Your Work Processes

Make sure that all customer service and sales employees understand the importance of soliciting reviews from the customers they work with. At our company we saw the number of reviews rise after implementing an incentive program where employees receive a cash bonus for any reviews (for example, 3 reviews=$100; 15 reviews=$750).

Choose whatever kind of bonus and program makes sense for your business. It’s just an added incentive to help employees remember to ask for a review. Given the importance of reviews in the customer decision process, this is one of the most effective ways to spend your marketing dollars.

Do Online Reviews Affect SEO?

Customer reviews and ratings are essential items in the SEO’s tool belt, especially for optimizing local businesses. A Moz survey predicts that reviews make up almost 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank you. And it makes sense.

Like I said in last week’s blog, search engines love reviews because consumers love reviews.

Search engines are in the business of providing users with the most accurate information to help them predict and make decisions around their future purchases. The faster they can do that, the more consumers will turn to them time and time again.

But what do they take into consideration regarding reviews? Review signals. What’s a review signal? you’re asking. Good question. Entrepreneur describes review signals as different aspects of a company’s review profile online and include:

1. Review Quantity

The more reviews you have, the better. According to BrightLocal’s survey, you need seven to 10 reviews before most people trust you.

2. Review Velocity

How quickly reviews are posted for your business. Too fast, and you’ll get dinged.

3. Review Diversity

How many sites have reviews for your business

4. Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews

How many reviews your business has on sites not owned by Google

5. Authority of Third-Party Sites Where Reviews are Present

Some customer review sites have greater authority with Google than others.

6. Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native and Third Party)

How quickly your business is accruing reviews, both on Google properties (a.k.a. “native”) and other review sites.

7. Volume of Testimonials in Review

This refers to the reviews used in microdata, also called “rich snippets.” Here’s where to see that:

8. Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews with Text

Google’s reviews started out on Google Maps.

9. Diversity of Third-Party Sites that have Reviews

How many different customer review sites have reviews for your business?

10. Product or Service Keywords in Reviews.

It helps to have keywords in reviews, but don’t overdo them.

11. Quantity of Authority Reviewers

Some sites, like Yelp, give certain reviewers more influence than others. New reviewers on Yelp don’t even get their reviews published until they’ve submitted five reviews. Getting a review on any site from an “authority reviewer” could help your search rankings.

Ratings and reviews are a huge conversion factor, more influential for getting users to click through and make a purchase than business citations or most other elements of local SEO. If your search result has 4.5 stars and 14 reviews (compared to fewer for your competitors), that’s strong social proof that your product or service is trustworthy. But besides increasing users’ trust, recent search innovations have created new reasons that SEO-minded local businesses need reviews and ratings.

These three benefits: improved SEO, improved conversion, and increased brand trust, working together, clearly illustrate the value of attracting good reviews online. If, between two otherwise equal competitors, one business pursues better reviews while the other ignores them, the business that pursues better reviews will undoubtedly win out in terms of traffic and eventual purchases.

The One Factor That Will Improve Your SEO, Conversions, & Your Bottom Line

What is the one factor that will improve your SEO, conversion rate, AND your bottom line?

Online Reviews.

Think of how many times you’ve made a purchasing decision lately without consulting online reviews. Have you made a reservation to a new restaurant recently without turning to Yelp or OpenTable? How about making vacation plans without even glancing at TripAdvisor? Whether you realized it or not, online reviews have become a cornerstone of modern purchasing decisions.

Consumers love online reviews.

And Google and other search engines love online reviews for one primary reason, consumers love online reviews.

Online reviews have major implications. They affect:

  • Your local SEO rankings
  • Your click through rates on search results
  • Consumers purchasing decisions

In the coming blogs, we will discuss the many facets of your business that online reviews affect. Let’s first look at how important your online reviews are to consumers.

How Important Are Reviews to Consumers?

Just how many people are actually going online to read reviews?

In a study done by ZenDesk, 66% of all consumers reported reading online reviews. This may not seem like an overwhelming amount until you realize that 2 out of every 3 people that call or come into your business have probably consulted your online reviews before making that decision. And this study was done in 2013.

Looking at Yelp alone, in 2013 they had roughly 40 million reviews since their launch in 2004. By the end of 2015 they had over 90 million. The popularity of online reviews has exponentially grown in only the past few years.

While I must admit, some reviews are downright comical, most consumers do not look up online business reviews just for entertainment. You must understand that by the time someone has started looking at reviews, they are now in the process of selecting a business to fulfill a need or want they have already identified, and they have usually narrowed the down (whether by preference, location, or some other deciding factor) the businesses they will consider to fulfill that need or want.

The critical thing to note is that the mental gap between reading a review and making a decision to purchase from a business is ridiculously small, and typically results in a yes/no decision almost immediately. So as a small business, your online reputation can directly influence your bottom line.

So how do online reviews affect consumers?

According to the same ZenDesk study, a whopping 90% of consumers reported being influenced by positive online reviews and 86% reported being influenced by negative online reviews.

The majority of consumers read, on average, only 6 reviews before forming an opinion of a business, and over 70% of consumers report that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Consumers are placing as much weight on reviews as they would personal referrals. And they trust them just as much as if it was a recommendation from their friends or family members.

Hopefully this puts into perspective just how important online reviews are in helping steer consumer purchasing decisions for the better or worse.

In the coming blogs, we will be discussing why reviews are a major aspect of your local SEO and how they affect it, how to gather more reviews in a business- and SEO-friendly way, and how to manage your online reputation.

Listen To Your Patients

You focus a large part of your day on making sure that your patients are able to hear. What they choose to listen to is at their discretion. And just like your patients what your choose to listen to or to ignore is entirely up to you. But too often what we hear and how we respond are wrong.

Consider These 3 Statements

  • “Dr. Jones, I send everyone I know to you, I think you’re the best.”
  • “Dr. Jones, I had to wait a long time to see you today.”
  • “Dr. Jones, this is the third time I’ve been here for the same problem.”

These are 3 statements made by 3 separate individuals. How would you respond to each? If you’re responses look something like these,

  • “Thank you”
  • “I’m so sorry.”
  • “I’m so sorry.”

then you aren’t really listening to what your patient is saying or at the very least you are failing to dig little deeper to try to figure out what they’re thinking. You’re also not using the information they’re providing to your advantage.

Statement 1

This is a patient who is clearly happy with you and your services and is willing to tell the world about you. Are you helping him with this endeavor? Are you asking him to review you online? By sharing information about you online he can extend his reach dramatically. People are using reviews more and more every day. Not just when they’re hungry and looking for a new restaurant, but by patients looking for a new doctor.

Statement 2

There is a problem and he’s telling you exactly what it is. An apology is in order, but you should also (at the conclusion of the visit) find out why he waited so long. Is this an aberration? Is it a problem that can be quickly resolved? Does the staff even know he waited and that he was unhappy that he had to wait? The Internet allows an unhappy patient to not only spread your praise to hundreds of potential patients, but they’re also more than willing to complain about you to anyone who will listen.

Statement 3

Yes, I’m sorry is also in line, but this patient’s resentment is building. I’m sorry is only going to go so far with him. He has probably heard “I’m sorry” twice already and he’s not impressed. He wants the problem solved and if it isn’t he wants to know what you plan to do to compensate him for his pain and suffering. If it is truly the 3rd time he’s been in with the same problem perhaps you need to consider extending his warranty or make other amends to, well…make him happy.

 

In this day and age news travels at the speed of light and it travels far and wide. Do what you can to ensure that good news is traveling more often than bad news.