We live in a culture that is dominated by online reviews. Every single social media platform out there offers a way to rank businesses.

Customers are able to post positive reviews of local businesses or publicly shame them, depending on their experiences. Online reviews have become the deciding factor on how we spend our money.

90% of customers say that they are influenced by online reviews before buying something. This means that your ability to get good reviews can make or break your business.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned vet in business owning or a small business hoping to increase your rankings. If you generate online reviews, you’ll increase your chances of success.

We’ll show you what you have to do to get online reviews and encourage customers to leave positive notes. And then we’ll help walk you through the process of handling the not so great ones too.

Be Available for Reviews

It goes without saying that if you want to get online reviews, you need a place for people to post them.

Yelp is quite possibly the most popular review sites out there. If you want Yelp reviews, set up a profile there.

If you want your business to show up in the search engine feature for sites like Yelp, you have to claim your business. This is true for most 3rd party sites.

In a lot of casts, you won’t need to have a profile to get these reviews. But you will still want to have one anyway because this allows you to respond to feedback.

Once you have a spot for people to leave you reviews, have a link for customers to use to take them there.

When you request a review, provide that link. This makes the customer’s job easier and makes it more likely that they’ll leave a review.

Ask For Reviews

The key to getting more reviews is actually pretty simple. Just ask for them.

This can be as simple as setting up an automated system that sends your customers an email after they make a purchase.

Hopefully, you already do this. Email marketing is a useful tool. But now, when you send them an email, include the link for your review site and ask for a review.

In most cases, it’s a good idea to wait 3 but no more than 5 days after your customer used your service. This gives them a chance to use your service and have an opinion about it.

If you want other people to trust your reviews, they need to come from an honest place. If you give your customer enough time to form an opinion, your reviews will reflect that.

Educate Your Customers

How is your customer base supposed to leave a review if they don’t know how?

It’s a good rule of thumb to have a printout available at your front desk. You could even create a blog post on your website on how to leave a Google review.

Personalize the Experience

When you send those follow-up emails, make them personal. It might take some time to create these emails, and goodness knows as a small business owner you have a lot on your plate, but it could mean the difference between brushing you off and actually providing you with the review you need.

Incentivize

Generally, it is against most review policies to solicit for reviews or set up review stations.