How to Encourage Online Reviews and Reasons Why You Should
One proven way to draw clients and boost revenue, beyond the typical methods of internet marketing, is to encourage online reviews. Research has shown that positive customer reviews are an overwhelming influence in people's decision to buy: It has been reported that 88 percent to 90 percent cite reviews as having had a major impact on their buying decision.
So, why wait? Now is the time to encourage online reviews by developing an online reputation management strategy. Here are some techniques to create a positive online reputation:
First and foremost, ask your customers to post a review. It works! Typically, it is the most satisfied or the least satisfied customers who jump onto a social media platform and post a review. But many delighted customers never express their opinion, and this is where your prompts are important. Use a pop-up message after the transaction to prompt a review, send an email, or provide a link to a place where they can post.
That brings us to the second step. Make sure your business has up-to-date information on such sites as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google My Business, or other sites customers turn to when they are deciding on where to spend their money on a wide range of services. Facebook is another popular option and perhaps the place where many people feel the most comfortable about posting their opinion.
Don’t be put off if someone leaves a less than sterling review. Instead, use that as an opportunity to respond with a respectful and reasonable explanation or solution to whatever the person posted. Acknowledge any mistake you may have made and invite the customer to try and resolve the matter in private (via email, for example) to avoid having an extended conversation on a public platform.
Other ways to reach out to customers in your drive for online reputation management is to send them “push” notices after purchases. These kinds of small encouragements can be sent to a customer’s smartphone, for instance, asking them to post a review and perhaps offering a small incentive, such as extra stamps on their “get 10 stamps and turn in the card for a free coffee,” etc.
Now that rewards have been mentioned, however, when it comes to online reputation management, be very careful about incentives. Authorities are discouraging major incentives, such as significant discounts or even money for people who leave positive reviews. Obviously, potential customers want to turn to reviews that are not “bought and paid for,” but are honest evaluations by satisfied customers. Follow the lead of major review sites, but with a keen eye, as there are a plethora of reviews online these days and anyone with a smartphone can post almost anywhere. While there are fake reviews, there are also ways to monitor and detect such “reviews” and protect your online reputation.
With these online reputation management tips, your business can gain a head start in garnering customer reviews, which in turn should help attract more customers. Online reviews are the new “word of mouth” recommendations, so take some time to develop your online reputation management strategy.
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