How to get online reviews in 4 easy steps

Online reputation is nowadays one of the most important aspect of online success for local businesses.

Learn how to build a positive reputation in 4 easy steps.

 

Video transcript

I am not sure what to say. This is a very emotional time for me. I just want to thank all my customers for writing positive reviews about my business which helped me stand out in Google and become the “best plumber in London.” I wouldn’t have done it without you, thank you.

Ok that’s enough.

There are  5 good reasons why you must get online reviews from your customers

  1. Reviews are believed to help your business rank higher in Google .
  2. Reviews really stand out in search engines due to their graphical representation
  3. Almost 8 in 10 costumers read online reviews before they choose a local business
  4. Positive online reviews  are by far the best way to influence new customers
  5. 88% Of customers say they trust online reviews from strangers as much as recommendations from their friends and family.

So If you’re business doesn’t have any golden stars yet then it’s time for you to collect some.

Hi everyone and welcome to another free digital marketing lesson brought to you by RankingAcademy.co.uk
My name is Luc Durand  and by the end of this episode you will know how to effectively implement an online strategy so you get online reviews from your customers and take your business to the next level. All in 5 easy steps.

Step 1) Start with the biggest online review providers

There are many online review providers but when it comes to local business reviews, there are only two major players users go to: Google and Yelp

Let’s have a quick look at them

Google

Open a browser window and head over to google.co.uk. In the search box type a local query, for example  “beauty salon in fulham”.

Since this is a very localised search, Google displays its “local pack” result which includes a map and 3 local businesses.

Whenever available Google will display for each business, the average rating, the number of stars and the number of reviews customers have posted.

In this example two  of the businesses have reviews with a star rating of 4.4 while one of them doesn’t have any.  Which one would you click on? Needless to say that the listings with star ratings really stick out.

Let’s do a more in depth search and type the name of one of these businesses directly into Google search. Let’s use “Svetlana beauty salon”.

As part of the results Google will display the Google business page results of “Svetlana beauty salon” which includes little snippets of some of the  reviews customers have posted.

Here you can see that one of the reviews is very negative. As a prospect customer I am not sure I would want to go there based on this.  Clicking on “View all Google reviews” brings a pop up where all reviews posted about this particular business have been listed .  I can quickly see that the negative review was posted 2 years ago and the more recent ones have 5 stars which may sway my decision.

Let’s use another example and type “plumber in Fulham” this time. Look at the number of reviews for the top results, 103 with an average star rating of 4.7. Would you hire these guys simply based on this? Hell yeah.

This type of behaviour has become extremely common when consumers are searching for local businesses.  Since Google is still, and will be, the main search engine for the foreseeable future, you cannot ignore it.

Having those coveted stars right below your listing will certainly fill prospective customers with confidence. First thing you’ll need to do is to create a Google my business profile. For more info on this topic just view my tutorial on how to add your business to Google map and how to optimise Google my business. Once done you will have  to encourage your customers to leave reviews about your business. We will cover this in step 4, ask for reviews.

Now let’s move to the second biggest online review provider, Yelp.

Yelp

Open a browser window and head over to http://www.yelp.co.uk.

Let’s do the same search that we did in Google a few minutes ago” beauty salon” in “Fulham.

The top result is “Svetlana Beauty salon”

Although Svetlana beauty salon has only two reviews , it averages 4 out of 5 stars. This puts the listing right at the top ahead of position 2 which has 4 reviews but only averages 3.5 out of 4 stars.

Having a listing on Yelp is very important for 3 reason

  1. With millions of visitors every month  It is the largest and most popular review site and focuses on local businesses.
  2. Google display results from yelp into its own local results in organic (show on screen)
  3. As for the third reason , Head over to bing.com https://www.bing.com/mapspreview and in the search box type “Svetlana beauty salon” Look at where the reviews are coming from…Yes, Yelp.

Although Google and Yelp are the most important online review sites  you mustn’t focus specifically on them. it is important to get reviews from a variety of sources.

When people search for  local services,  seeing reviews about your business on multiple sites will have a lot more influence. It will also look a lot more  natural to search engines.

Let’s see how it’s done.

Step 2)  Find industry specific review sites and other relevant review sites

Head over to Google.co.uk.  In the search box  type a query as follow:

“Your Industry type or trade”  +  the word  “reviews”

Let’s use the following combination  “plumber reviews”

And look at the results: Starting from the top

Checkatrade.com

This is a site dedicated to people in the building trade, obviously. Their business model seems to be entirely based on their review system. Let’s head over there and check them out. Searching for plumbers in Chelsea brings up a list of plumbers in that area and guess what? They are listed based on the number of reviews and the average rating they get. I bet you “Chelsea plumbing and heating get a lot of business through checkatrade.com.

Trustatrader.com

Here is another review based site. Very similar to checkatrade.com. Once again you can see the importance of reviews in the listings.

These sites  are very industry specific as they focus on the building trade with a business model that seems to rely very heavily on their review system. . I am not a plumber but if I was I would definitely consider being on these and start collecting some feedback alongside with new work opportunity.

Let’s try another one for good measure and search, “hairdresser reviews”

Notice  the presence of local business directories such as yell.com in position number 1 as well freeindex.co.uk in number 2. Getting a listing in these along with recommendations will be very useful as there results  generally rank high in Google search results.

And in position 4 there is a site called wahanda.com. This site, which relies heavily on reviews, is specific to the hair and beauty trade so if I was a hairdresser I would quickly try to get listed there and start gathering some reviews.

We’ve now identified the best sources where we would like, hopefully positive,  reviews to be posted about our business.

85% of consumers will trust a business once they have read around 10 reviews. This means that your target is to get at least 10 reviews to satisfy about 85% of consumers

According to research you’ll also need around one and a half time  your local competitors’ reviews to rank higher than them

The question is, how we get customers to post reviews.

Step 3) Get reviews from your customers

Let’s start with two golden rules if you want to get golden stars –

“PROVIDE EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE” . Sounds obvious? Not for everyone. People will be naturally inclined to post a review if you’re nice to them.

“DO NOT INCENTIVISE OR PAY  TO GET REVIEWS “.

Or you will get caught.  You will destroy your business reputation and in the worst case scenario might even get prosecuted.

OK the next thing you need to do  is to make it easy for your customers to leave reviews.

How?

Set up a page on your site that is dedicated to reviews with links to your chosen review sites. (Google and Yelp must be part of your list along with another couple of other sites).  Your link should look like mywebsite.com/reviews.

Let’s see a few examples:

Head over to

http://www.mikeandersonchevymerrillville.com/reviews/
This is a very good example as it makes it easy for customers to leave a review. Starting with the preferred choice, and most influential review site, Google, followed by the second most influential review site, Yelp, and finishing with some industry specific sites.

Does all of this ring a bell?

Here is another example, head over to http://certifiedrestorationinc.com/testimonials-customer-reviews/

This is a different option which puts forward existing reviews by the mean of video testimonials. It makes the message very powerful and very credible. There is also at the bottom of the page a selection of different review sites which should encourage customers to post reviews.

I think a combination of both examples would be the ultimate review page.

And now for your eyes only an example of what not to do.

Go to http://www.seetheclarity.com/about/reviews/ . This is the perfect example of incentivising reviews. Needless to say, don’t do it.

You can now start encouraging people to visit your newly created page. Add a “see what they say” or  “Customer feedback” link across your web pages pointing to  mywebsite.com/reviews where you can display a combo of testimonial and links to your chosen review sites.

  • Add the mywebsite.com/reviews link to all of your email communications as It will get picked up along the way.
  • Hand out a “thank you for your visit or thank you for your purchase” card to your customers where you can also feature the link.
  • Post your link on your stationery such as business cards.
  • Automatically generate  the link to your invoices or receipt.
  • If you send a monthly newsletter don’t forget to add your review link on it.

If you have some loyal customers simply ask them to post some feedback either via email or by phone. Be careful when you do as you cannot ask for Yelp Reviews since it is against their guidelines. (always check guidelines from the review sites you have chosen to use)

Let’s have a look at a great email example

Go to http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/09/24/asking-for-reviews-post-apocalypse/

It is very simple, not pushy and  gives several options where customers can leave feedback. Feel free to use it at will and customise for your own needs.

If you use these techniques you will definitely start seeing reviews being posted in no time and hopefully get those little stars in Google.

But don’t rub your hands so quickly as not everyone will give you a 5 star rating. You need to manage your reviews

Step 4) Manage your reviews

Ok let’s face it, you can’t please everyone and you will Get Some Bad Reviews…and that’s fine since only good reviews would look entrusting.

So what do you need to do?

  • Address and own the issue as quickly as possible, it will show you care and you are willing to fix the problem.
    Have a look at this one. Not only the owner was very obnoxious in his response but he almost blames the customer. Worst response ever, not owning the issue at all and unfortunately for him it’s right at the top of the review list.
  • Make sure your response is well written with no spelling or grammatical error and in a professional manner.
    in this instance although the manager quickly acknowledged the customer’s review I think he should have taken the time to get his response verified before it was posted. There are a lot of grammatical errors along with spelling mistakes. Not great at all.
  • Describe what you are doing to fix the problem so it will not happen to future customers
    Have a look at this restaurant located in London
    Quick response, and the owner has clearly made changes based on customer’s reviews to fix issues for future customers. She reacted almost immediately owning the problem and inviting the customer back for a free meal. Pretty spot on.
  • Do not use pre written answers, make it personal.Have a look at this one. No personalisation, just a copy and paste job that says I can’t be bothered. Make sure your replies are honest and genuine.

That’s pretty much all there is to it
Another couple of things around managing reviews.
You may sometimes come across some customers who just simply want to pick a battle no matter what. In this case, do the best you can, and if your best is not enough you may have to let it go.

Do take the time to respond to some positive reviews too and thank some customers for their feedback and their custom. It will help build rapport with your client base. Check this one out

And here we go. We are done.

Final words
Getting online reviews is not a one off marketing tactic but a continuous effort. As in real life, you would want permanent satisfied clients and not just for a few weeks. Allocate a regular slot in your schedule to see what your customers are saying about you and encourage them to post some positive reviews. You won’t regret it and it will certainly help put your business on the map.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and hope to see you soon for a new session at rankingacademy.co.uk

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