Want to get more reviews but don’t know how? You’re not alone. In our recent survey of 100 local businesses, 74% recognized that reputation management is important to business success, but 50% said getting new reviews is still the biggest hurdle for them.
We hear you.
The following is a collection of our best tips (and some new ones) to get more reviews. With a multi-pronged approach and a little creativity, you can generate the reviews you need to enhance your online presence, convert more customers, and earn more sales for your local business.
1. Ask, ask, and ask again
Be upfront with your customers about review requests. If you sit back and wait for reviews to come in on their own, you could be waiting a while. But when you directly ask your customers, someone will be happy to do it. The more customers you request reviews from, the more reviews you’ll get over time.
And it really is a numbers game. For example, if you want to get 10 new reviews, typical email open and click rates suggest you need to send around 200 review requests to hit the 10 mark.
2. Be strategic about when and how you ask
Ask customers for a review shortly after they’ve had a positive interaction with your business, made a purchase, or had an appointment — so the experience is fresh in their mind. When you ask — whether it’s in person, through email, or some other means — provide a quick, easy way to leave a review. For example, Google lets you create a short URL that allows customers to leave a Google review with one click.
Anything that’s too convoluted or time-consuming means your customers will quickly abandon it. A link they can click with a simple process for writing and posting their feedback does the job. The key is to capitalize on the right moments with ease and convenience.
3. Use SMS to request and receive reviews
SMS — or texting — is a super fast and efficient way to interact with your customers, and it has better open rates than email, so using it for review requests makes perfect sense. You can text your customers a review link and text them again to follow up on the request.
Since nearly everyone walks around with their smartphone all day, they’ll notice your texts quickly. Even better, they can respond to your review request anytime and from anywhere. Just be sure to follow SMS best practices and only text customers who have opted in to get this type of communication from you.
GatherUp now provides SMS capabilities beyond reviews. Get double opt-in from customers who leave you positive reviews to grow a loyal customer base. Learn more here.
4. Make it obvious
In addition to requesting reviews from your customers, display your review link or even a QR code in prominent places around your store or online. You can put it on paper or digital receipts, menus, signs or brochures, the product or service pages on your website, or within your customer portal if you have a service-based business.
That way you can reach anyone who might not have thought about leaving a review before, but incidentally sees the link or code and chooses to take advantage of it. For good measure, have your in-store employees specifically point out the link or code to all customers before they leave.
5. Incentivize customers
Sometimes customers need a little nudge. Everyone’s busy, a review sounds like a nice idea, but at the end of the day, it’s easy to get distracted and drop the ball. Give your customers more of a reason to leave a review by offering a discount on their next purchase, extra points in a loyalty program, a free gift card, or free or discounted passes to a community event you’re sponsoring — whatever feels financially doable for your business.
The added bonus is that when your customers feel like they’re getting something special, they’re more than happy to create some buzz around your business and recommend it to others. And you know what that means: the potential for more reviews. Remember, though, that it’s a no-no to incentivize for positive reviews only.
6. Tap into social media
If you have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, or another social media network, ask your followers for their feedback about specific products and services you sell or your overall business performance. Then either give them a link where they can share their thoughts, or ask them to share right there in the comments.
This is a great way to engage with your followers and customers that feels more informal — and therefore more comfortable to some — while earning you some honest, clever, and even funny answers that effectively act as reviews. You can share those reviews over on your website for even wider reach and improved SEO to boot.
7. Respond to all reviews — yes, we said all
Here’s the deal: When potential customers who are searching on Google for a local business like yours read your reviews and can see that you responded to each and every one of them — even the not-so-great ones — that’s what builds trust in your business.
People have the proof they need that you’re listening to your customers and value their feedback. They see that you’re as willing to acknowledge and fix your mistakes as you are to high-five the high points. And they know that if they leave a review, they’ll get a response too. It’s that little human connection with a business that’s enormously important to building customer loyalty and — you guessed it — getting more reviews.
Need help with review responses? Learn more about GatherUp’s AI-powered SmartReply.
8. Don’t neglect your Google Business Profile
Make sure your Google Business Profile is as complete and accurate as it can be. Provide as much up-to-date information as possible — including location and contact info, photos, FAQs, and product and service categories — to help potential customers gain confidence that your business has what they need.
Also utilize any GBP features such as appointment bookings and Google Business Message — whatever pertains to your specific business — so people can interact with you on the spot and take immediate action. When you give potential customers the information and tools they need right there in your profile, you can boost conversions, which means you also boost your chances of getting more reviews.
9. Focus on the customer experience
Make it a goal to improve the customer experience. This could be increasing customer service staff, improving call response times, implementing a better online shopping experience, or adding other service-related touch points that help your business to be more welcoming, delightful, and responsive.
Simply understanding what customers experience when they walk in your store, make a purchase, or do anything on your website — and taking steps to make those experiences as good as possible — will inspire more customers to leave positive reviews.
10. Automate the process
Small local businesses are often short on time and resources. According to our survey, well over half (60%) of local businesses manage reviews in-house, but only 42% currently use a reputation or review management solution. Make it easier on yourself by adopting GatherUp’s comprehensive reputation management platform. The platform automates the process of proactively requesting, gathering, tracking, and responding to reviews from your customers — all in one place.
With a streamlined process, you can create an automatic feedback loop that enables you to get a consistent stream of reviews coming in and consistent replies going out, which in turn helps generate more reviews, more replies, and so on. Having that “machine” in place takes much of the burden of manual review management off your shoulders, so you can get more reviews without breaking your back.
To learn more about how GatherUp can help your local business get more reviews, schedule a demo.