Positive reviews can do wonders for your business. They show potential customers that you can be trusted, encouraging people who have never done business with you before to do so. They typically include SEO keywords that you want a good Google rank for and can therefore boost your standing in Google. Furthermore, reviews are positive advertisements for your business, making it easy for people in your local area to find out about you, your products and your services.

Unfortunately, most customers aren't likely to go out of their way to leave a review unless you make it easy for them to do so. Following are some ethical yet effective ways to garner positive reviews for your company, products and/or services.

Make it Easy to Leave Reviews

Set up a Business Profile on Online Directories

Make it as easy as possible for customers to leave a review by setting up an official business profile on well-known online directories. These directories not only make it easy for businesses to set up an official business profile but also offer free, handy marketing tools you can use to promote your business. Some of the most important ones to be listed on include:

  • Google My Business
  • Angie's List
  • Yelp
  • Trustlink
  • TripAdvisor
  • Foursquare

Use Links, Banners and Other Tools

Google makes it easy to create a customized link you can use in your promotional emails, newsletters and on your website. Customers simply have to click the link and then type in their comments to create a review that will show up in Google when people look up your business there. Angie's List offers the same service.

Yelp offers free banners that can be used for the same purpose. These banners do not link to a review page for people to leave reviews but it does take them to your official business profile on the website. From there, it's not hard to find the review section. Trip Advisor, on the other hand, offers various free tools to encourage reviews, including customizable cards and reminder flyers, the Review Express Tool and its own app for Facebook.

Ask for Reviews

Even happy customers often don't think to leave a review unless asked to do so. Ask for reviews as soon as you can after an item has been purchased; if the item is being shipped then wait until the customer gets it to request a review. Asking for reviews may seem like a simple step but it is known to be an effective one. You just need to make sure that your request comes across in a polite, friendly manner. Additionally, you should only ask once per purchase.

One important point to note is that Yelp specifically discourages businesses from asking for reviews. Avoid sending messages via Yelp asking for reviews or posting a request for reviews on your Yelp website. Any reviews that even appear to be generated as a result of a request are placed in the “Not Recommended” section of your business page and won't count toward your overall review rating. If you want reviews on Yelp, stick with using the Yelp banner mentioned above.

Give Incentives for Both Negative and Positive Reviews

The most important thing to remember when offering incentives for a review is that the incentive must be given for any review, even if it turns out to be a negative one. You cannot encourage only good reviews as doing so is unethical and can hurt your business reputation.

There are several types of incentives you can offer. Some good ideas include:

  • Have a monthly raffle where names are drawn from a list of every single person who has left a review. The person whose name is drawn gets a discount coupon.
  • Offer a small freebie in exchange for a review. A business magnet, pens, cups and other items aren't expensive and they are great advertising tools as well.
  • Offer a discount coupon or special deal off of next order. It could be a 5 – 10% discount off an order, a “buy one get on free” offer or a discount off of shipping costs for orders sent from an e-commerce website.

It may take time to generate numerous positive reviews but the results are well worth it. At the same time, business owners who have important matters to tend to may want to consider outsourcing this task to a reputable online marketing company. Brandgy has a great deal of experience managing offsite marketing and offers various business packages to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes and types. Get in touch with us to day to find out how we can help promote your company both now and in the future.