The Importance of Online Reviews

The Importance of Online Reviews

We are social creatures. We talk, compare, measure and seek value and worth in our everyday lives. It’s of no surprise then, that over the course of millions of years of evolution our social interactions have come to influence our purchase decisions.

We’ve needed help with these decisions from the first time “Gluk Gluk” was praised by his Cro-Magnon cohorts for his aerodynamics spears, right up to our fast paced business world today. It’s more evident than ever that positive word of mouth is one of the most important factors between the success and failure of any business.

So think about that today, whether you’re looking to grab a bite at a restaurant or investing in your family's next vehicle, it’s important to know other’s opinions of any product or service. As we all know, the past 5 or so years have shifted, delivering that information in lightning quick fashion is now the standard. Word of mouth referrals have transcended beyond just ear to ear interactions and can be seen most prevalently on websites like Facebook, Google+ Local, HomeStars, Yelp and others.

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How to Get Google Reviews Without a Google+ Account

Addressing Negative Reviews & Reputation Management

These are now our public forums with information being streamlined and personalized to each user. Simply being online is not enough, you need to garner positive relationships and get the word out, we figured we’d you help you out by sharing this one magic word. Ask!

Ask and You Shall Receive:

The number one factor keeping your business from positive reviews, is you! Although it seems elementary, the majority of businesses simply don’t ask their clients/customers online word of mouth referrals. Welcome to the jungle of online reviews, you must pursue online reviews the same way you forwardly ask for personal referrals. Remember, if your service is invaluable and beneficial, you’re not going to have a hard time finding anyone to help you.

Creating a Review Station:

One tip we like to give businesses that operate out of a brick & mortar location is investing in a small netbook or laptop to set up in your reception area. Creating a “Review Station” is an easy way to have your patrons give positive reviews in a timely fashion. Reviews are all about timing and asking customers/clients to write a quick blurb at the time of satisfaction is key. Just leave your netbook/laptop open to your Google Local, Facebook etc.. page and ask for some recognition! (If they don’t Follow/Like your social media pages, remember to ask for this too!!!)

If you’re a company that services customers at their home or place of business, investing in an iPad or tablet can be an alternative. Although this may not be feasible for your company initially, it’s something to think about long term. The potential market share you can gain may pay for the investment itself.

Pointing to Your Review Pages:

Another tip we like to suggest is using your existing contacts. When cultivating online reviews, it’s an advantage you can’t afford to squander. Whether it be through your monthly client newsletter, prospect news mailer or even your email signature, provide a link somewhere to your review pages with a call to action.

This way, the reader is just a click away from reviewing your business. You’d be surprised how many reviews you can cultivate with this method, especially after going the extra mile for a client/customer and directing them towards the link.

Furthermore, potential leads can click through to view your reputation. Although it may sound potentially disastrous to some, putting your review links right in your signature shouldn’t be viewed with hesitation if your company is providing a valuable service. This is of course up to your discretion, if you feel your company is prone to negative reviews or slow turnaround times due to bandwidth, this may not be an option as you could bear the brunt of frustration.

Should You Offer Incentives?:

Incentives are a direct call to action to have your clients/customers review your business, but they aren’t always advisable. The reason being is that you can be penalized by many review platforms because they view it as unethical.

Instead, leverage your pre-existing offers or online deals and simply ask your customers/clients after the point of sale. If they are happy with product and have received a great deal for your service, they will be more than happy to write a review for you on the spot at your review station. If not, you can always send a follow up email or social media message pointing them to your review page and asking for a review.

Ease of Use:

In order to get a number of reviews you have to be efficient and not inconvenience people. That’s why you should always be thinking... “How easy is this for my customer/client?” For example, if you’re trying to bolster your Google Local reviews, before you ask make sure the reviewer has a Google+ account.

If not, it may be easier for them to give you a quick review on Facebook or another platform they belong to. You can also post a Facebook status update to your fans like “Happy with your experience? Please take a second to review our service.” You can provide links to your review pages or have them review directly through Facebook. Just remember, If the process seems too difficult to your customers/clients will be sure to avoid it. MAKE IT EASY!

Negative Reviews:

Negative reviews are bound to come for any business, but positive, exemplary work will always outweigh them online. In addition (although a bit off topic) you can use these negative reviews as a chance to reach out and satisfy a customer with a poor previous experience. If your company is committed to providing excellent customer service you should not shy away from asking for reviews by providing a link or asking face-face at your review station.

Your Competitors Are Doing It!

Increasing your online presence through social reviews is essential to your business. Think about that space being taken up by your competitors and remember the importance of word of mouth and the fact that positive reviews help Google rank information in terms of relevance. Get out there today and start asking for your reviews!

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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Post a Comment


  • avatar

    Some really great ideas. As an e-book author it really is all about the reviews. I leave the few bad ones I get, but use them to improve my books. Sometimes of course you will run into someone who just doesn’t like your work and that is OK. I find that as long as the positive reviews out number the bad, most people will give a book a chance. It don’t give incentive for reviews because it does backfire and takes quit a lot of time to recover from.

  • avatar

    Interesting commentary coming from Rob – I had never thought of offering a “review station” in a brick and mortar location, but it sounds like this has been gamed by retailers before and Yelp is up to speed on it.
    As far as incentivized review, I definitely think it is not a good idea. While it is not easy to always get your happy customers to post positive reviews, unless someone is a great writer it will be evident to all outside readers that you are simply paying for reviews and it may backfire on you.

  • avatar

    Great job! We will continue to work on this!

  • avatar

    Everyone likes to receive and give feedback. Just like a blogger likes their comments, businesses like reviews.
    As a consumer, I look for ratings, comments, and reviews, before I decide on a business.

  • avatar

    For sure DGM, it’s amazing how much cross over we are seeing from having good standing G+ Local accounts. There seems to be a much higher correlation these days between them and organic results.

  • avatar

    Thanks Rob,
    We really appreciate the input, it really is about engaging everyone. I agree with you on the Facebook review functionality. Hopefully that’s something the look at. It’s definitely an exciting time right now and will be interesting to see where things go in the near future.

  • avatar

    Online Reviews are essential, especially with the advantage G is Giving to G+ and G Places.
    Big selling point for all of my clients & MUCH needed.

  • avatar

    Can definitely agree with you on asking customers. No question about it. I’ve seen even Elite Yelper reviews get filtered so, though Yelp considers user standing, other factors come in to play. As for Google+ and Facebook, I can agree with you on that front. I hope Facebook implements the ability for owners to respond now that they’re pushing the review functionality. It’s a huge customer service point and a missed opportunity for business owners on Facebook. Now that you can leave reviews on every platform via mobile, hopefully it will further encourage people to provide feedback.
    Great article and recommendations, nonetheless.

  • avatar

    I agree with you Rob regarding Yelp, but as we mention it’s all about ease of use. We never recommend setting up accounts on the fly to acquire strong Yelp reviews. I think this is where the red flag would come into play. Yelp takes their customer standing into great consideration.
    If multiple reviews came from the same IP, but were from good standing, fully developed accounts it may not be such an issue. Additionally in that case those individuals would be more likely to access Yelp via their smartphone or at home. The important thing here is just to ASK, ASK, ASK!
    Nonetheless it is a great point to take into consideration. We were mostly referring to Google+ and Facebook reviews at our review stations, but thanks for contributing to the conversation!

  • avatar

    I actually would strongly recommend not setting up a reviews station in a physical brick and mortar business. Yelp uses IP address information to help filter out what they think might be fake reviews. If a bunch of reviews come from the same IP address, that throws up a huge red flag to them. That, and the fact that the customers most likely to use the review station in plain sight are likely positive reviewers, could make it seem like your business is paying for or incentivizing positive reviews, and could thus have the opposite effect for your business. Jason Fell mentions this on Entrepreneur last year as something that Yelp takes into account:

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