It’s no secret you need online review management for your business. However, you’ve got to get reviews the right way. Ask your online marketing company and they’ll tell you about the pitfalls of asking for reviews. Good reviews show potential customers that you do good work. On the other hand, Google wants to make sure your reviews are legitimate. So, how do you navigate the minefield of getting reviews?
You shouldn’t offer incentives for positive reviews. This is the first and most damning pitfall of review management. If Google finds out you’re offering people rewards for leaving good reviews, they’ll penalize your site. That’s a good way to turn your reviews from a good thing to a terrible thing. Most websites (except for Yelp) encourage you to ask for reviews, but nothing more. Yelp asks that you don’t even mention reviews (although this is a tough guideline to follow).
The other way you can tank your reviews is by setting up a review kiosk. Review kiosks are computers or tablets you set up for customers to write reviews before they leave. Both Google and Yelp have banned review kiosks. When your IP address sends them a bunch of reviews, they will begin filtering those reviews out.
You should remember, you can’t force your customers to use the review platforms you’re chasing reviews on. With that in mind, you want to decide on three or four different platforms that are the most important to your review management. Once you’ve chosen the platforms you want, make it easy for your customers to leave reviews the way they want to. Your customers won’t do it if it feels like a chore. We recommend that most businesses focus on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and perhaps one other site if there's one that's specific to your industry and more relevant to your business.
Remember, you’re in this all the way. Much like football is a game of inches, review management for your Google and Yelp listings is a game of ones and twos. You don’t need or even want to get a flood of reviews. If you suddenly start getting reviews by the 10-fold, that might look suspicious to the algorithms and get those reviews flagged. If you just get 1 or 2 reviews a month, by the end of 3 years you’ll have more than 30 reviews. That looks good.
If you ask your customers for reviews right after they’ve bought from you, or you performed your service, they’re probably going to be annoyed, and not write the review (or write a negative one). But if you wait for three months, they’re not going to remember the experience, and they’re not going to want to write the review either. Make sure you ask for a review at the right time for effective review management.
There aren’t a lot of people willing to write a review if they don’t think it’s going to matter. Just responding to reviews is a good start, but it’s not the end. Make sure you respond to the negative reviews, and whenever you can, make it right. Responding to positive reviews shows that you appreciate your customers and want to stay engaged with them, even when there's nothing that needs to be "fixed".
If you’ve already got reviews out there, print them up and display them around your store. Put them in places customers will spend time. If you’re a restaurant, you could put them on your placemats, or even bathrooms. This has two huge effects. The first is showing how seriously you take reviews. Additionally, you can appeal to your customer’s ego. They might be able to get highlighted if they write a review.
Have you used any of these strategies? Have you found any strategies that work well? Drop us a line on our Facebook page and let us know! If you’re looking for a full service online marketing company that’s out there to get you up there, call us at (310) 486-1154, shoot us an email, or visit our contact page to request a conversation.
Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.