No matter what your line of business is, positive customer reviews are critical for your success. Studies show that 86% of consumers read customer reviews, 63% of them contact businesses after reading a positive review, and 68% are more likely to actually become customers of a business after reading a good review. Making sure you’ve got a growing digital footprint of good reviews is one of the best ways to boost your revenue and improve your conversion rates.
The trouble is that getting reviews is easier said than done. Although the vast majority of consumers read them, fewer than 60% has ever written one. Writing fake reviews or paying customers to write positive reviews is out – that approach is often less convincing than the fakers think it is, and it could also lead to steep fines from the FTC, plus a total loss of your brand credibility in the eyes of the general public.
Fortunately, marketing master Neil Patel steps up to the plate to help you out. He shares his own top tips and advice for getting more great reviews and dealing with the poor ones. Here are some key takeaways takeaways from Patel’s comprehensive guide, to help you imitate his marketing success.
1. Choose the best platform
There are so many places where you can gather reviews, including on your own website, but not every review platform has equal weight. You want all your best reviews to be found on the platform that gets the most consumer visits and is the most influential.
Patel asserts that the top three review platforms are Google, Facebook and Yelp. These media destinations draw in close to 300 million visitors every month, which means that a positive review here will reach far more eyes than one hidden away on a smaller review site. There are obviously exceptions. For example, software companies might be better off focusing on Capterra than Yelp. And don’t forget – just because your reviews live on a third-party platform doesn’t mean you can’t leverage them for social proof on your website. Badges can go a long way.
But the principle Patel teaches is universally true. You can’t expect customers to rave about you on every channel, and the best primary home for your review gathering efforts is the one that’ll give you the most exposure.
2. Make it easy
If your customers have to register as a user on your review gathering tool, or click through multiple pages before they can leave a review, they’ll probably get frustrated over the imposition and just give up. Remember, your customers don’t have to write you a review, so make it as easy as possible. Ideally, it should take just one click for them to open up the review writing prompt and post their thoughts.
To ease the process, make sure that the Review tab is enabled and prominently displayed on your business Facebook page. If you can’t find it, you might need to change your Facebook Page to a business template that permits reviews.
Once you register your business with Yelp, place the Yelp badge prominently on your site to direct customers to visit your profile there. Remember, Yelp doesn’t allow you to ask for reviews, but hopefully once your happiest customers land on your Yelp profile, they’ll know what to do next.
3. Reach out for reviews
As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. The high volume and positive nature of Neil Patel’s own reviews from his consulting agency clients are largely thanks to his direct marketing efforts. But you don’t need the brand clout and marketing muscle of Neil Patel Digital to do this yourself.
Patel recommends asking customers one on one, politely but clearly, through a text message or email. You can use any email marketing platform to set up a drip campaign that sends automated emails asking for a review, along with a link to your chosen review platform.
You can even ask customers in person to leave you a review. If you’re interacting with customers anyway, like on a support call or because of a customer query, that’s the best time to ask for a review. You’ve presumably just delivered excellent service, so why wouldn’t they agree? But remember that asking customers for a review is only effective if you’ve made it easy for them to do so, so refer back to point #2.
4. Handle bad reviews with care
Chances are that every business will get a bad review at some point. Doesn’t matter how hard you try to go above and beyond – there will always be lapses in your ability to deliver, there will always be customers who just aren’t good fits for what you do, and yes, some people are just haters. The real test is how you deal with it.
Studies show that 53% of consumers expect businesses to respond to their reviews, so resist the temptation to either push back at the customer or to ignore the review. Instead, seize the opportunity to apologize, explain your side of the incident, and demonstrate excellent customer service by sharing your company policy for correcting mistakes.
The customer might agree to raise their awful review to a not-very-good one as a result – or they might become your greatest cheerleader, impressed with your attentiveness. Even if they don’t, your response can go a long way towards mitigating the damage that a negative review can have on your online reputation. It’s important to remember that no one’s reviews can ever be 100% perfect. When they are, it’s suspicious.
5. Amplify the impact of great reviews
When you get a great review, you want to shout it from the rooftops. But it’s much more effective to share it on your website.
Approximately 83% of consumers consider a business with customer reviews to be more trustworthy. Take your best customer reviews and place them around your business website in the form of testimonials. This way you can increase the number of eyes that see your positive reviews and make even a small number of reviews go a long way.
As mentioned above, with third-party review platforms, you can often create badges or widgets that display your average star ratings, and even aggregate individual review posts to your website. This is powerful for social proof, and you can display it on your homepage, internal page footers and product page content.
6. Enlist your employees
Your employees are probably the ones who interact with your customers the most, which gives them excellent opportunities to ask for reviews.
Your customers are much more likely to respond positively to a direct request from a trusted contact than to a general call-to-action on your website. You can even incentivize your employees to gather more reviews for you, by using gamification or offering bonuses.
Again, timing is a major factor when converting a happy customer into an advocate for your brand. In this sense, there’s arguably no one in better position to have a feel for perfect timing of this ask than the person who’s in direct contact with your customer.
Get more great reviews using Neil Patel’s strategy
Now that you have some great tips from one of the world’s most prominent marketing experts, it’s time to put them into practice. Make sure that your business is set up to gather reviews on one of the top review platforms, and start reaching out for more.