Online customer reviews are my go-to for everything.
Whether I’m exploring a new city and searching for a good restaurant, looking for reliable home services, or a new ecommerce store to shop from — I browse online reviews before making a decision.
And I’m certainly not the only person who does this. Asking for reviews from customers is key to building your online reputation.
I trust online customer reviews as much as I trust a recommendation made by a friend or family member.
Recently, I had to hire a plumbing service for my home. I Googled ‘Plumbing services near me’ and, rest assured, a long list of results showed up. I chose one which had a four-star rating with customers raving about the excellent service. What was even more impressive was that the plumbing service had responded to each review, whether it was good or bad.
It does make a difference when I see others reviewing a business, and the business taking the time to thank their customers for a good review, and acknowledging and responding to a bad one.
In this article, we’ll show you why asking for reviews is important, how to get more reviews through email marketing, and some examples of asking customers for reveiws.
How important is asking for reviews from customers?
A Local Consumer Review Survey shows that while 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses, 89 percent of consumers read business’s responses to reviews.
Online reviews help you get more visibility, and in turn, more business. However, many small business owners struggle with either getting more reviews or dealing with negative ones.
Yes, reviews come in all forms — good, bad, and ugly. But one cannot deny the fact that reviews are important. Sometimes negative reviews can be as useful as positive ones.
How to go about asking for reviews
If you want to get more reviews, you simply need to start asking for them. Different platforms have different rules on asking customers for reviews, but generally, you can’t ask specifically for a positive review. You must ask for a genuine review from your customers.
But of course, you want to get more positive reviews. To put it simply, the best way to get great reviews is by providing an excellent product or service, and a consistently great experience.
Customers today want to review businesses that offer them an unmatched experience. Whether you are an ecommerce store, a physical store or provide services — customers recognize good service and want to tell others about it.
Using the right way to get more reviews will, in turn, influence the buying and hiring decisions of your customers.
Determine which platform to ask for reviews on
There are multiple platforms where customers can leave reviews. These include social media pages, business listings, directories, and even your website.
Be aware of each reviews platform’s rules around asking for reviews
Before you start drawing up a plan to get more reviews, it’s important to know and understand the policies of each platform and what their position is regarding soliciting reviews. For example, Yelp advises businesses not to ask for reviews, while Google My Business encourages businesses to grow positive Google reviews.
Make sure you know the policies that apply to your business and adhere to them.
Choose just one reviews platform when you’re getting started
To actually start asking for reviews, you need to know exactly where you want the reviews. The top platforms you should consider when you’re first building up your customer reviews are:
- Google My Business
When you’re asking for a customer review, you’re asking that customer to take time out of their day to support your business, so honor that time by only asking them to go to one platform.
To choose the best platform to ask for reviews on, look around at some similar businesses in your area and see which platform is the most popular and active. That’s likely where it will make the most impact to get more reviews.
If you aren’t sure where to start, building up positive reviews on your Google is always a good bet. Google is a giant when it comes to your online presence, and your reviews there will come directly under your Google My Business listing, which can have an additional impact on SEO for marketing your business.
Once you have a solid amount of customer reviews on Google, you can pivot and start asking for reviews on other platforms like Facebook or Yelp.
Use email marketing to get more reviews
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to ask your customers for reviews. Sending an email when customers are most engaged — right after a purchase, a visit to your store, or completion of a service — is the best way to get more reviews.
Using email automation you can ensure that customers immediately receive an email asking for a review right after an interaction.
Examples of asking customers for reviews through email
When you’re asking for reviews from customers, your email should be simple and straightforward. Focus on including just these key things:
- Thank the customer for doing business with you
- Explain the impact that honest reviews can have on your business and how much you’d appreciate them taking time to leave an honest review
- A call-to-action button to leave a review, with a link to your preferred review site.
Check out these examples of how you can ask customers for reviews using an email marketing tool like Constant Contact.
More ways to get more reviews from customers
One of the simplest ways to encourage people to leave a review is to demonstrate your presence on different platforms. Online, we’ve already talking about using email to ask for reviews, but you can also do so on your website and social media pages.
Offline tactics to get more reviews
Offline, you can put up window clings, award certificates, or other printed material to show customers which reviews platforms you are featured on. You can use icon buttons of review pages, snippets of reviews from other customers, and even add links for people to go review or read the existing reviews.
How not to ask for get reviews
When building out your emails to ask for reviews, here are some things you should never do:
- Pay someone to write a review for you
- Force someone to write a review for you
- Give incentives in exchange for a review, like a discount or bonus
- Send a blanket email to your entire email list asking for reviews
Is the fear of negative reviews holding you back?
A lot of small business owners admit that, while they know reviews are important and get them more visibility, it’s the negative reviews that they are afraid of. Not knowing how to deal with bad online reviews stops them from asking customers to review them.
Negative reviews can be overwhelming, but they’re not necessarily damaging.
Think of them as feedback that helps you improve. Negative reviews only become damaging when you ignore them, don’t acknowledge them, or let them bring you down.
A negative review is an opportunity to engage and communicate with your customers. Let them know that their opinions matter and you’re willing to work harder to improve their experience. Your customers will appreciate it and be able to filter through aggressive reviews because they understand what you really offer.
Take a look at this restaurant’s response to a negative review on Yelp, showcasing that every customer’s opinion matters:
Get noticed and grow with online reviews
Customers turn to online reviews to make decisions. The more reviews you have, the more visibility and business you will generate.
Remember — Delivering excellent customer service is the best way to ensure good reviews. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews, instead use them as an opportunity to engage with your customers and let them know you value their opinions.
Using emails to ask for reviews, when customers are most engaged with you, will help you garner more reviews that are effective.
Ready to get more reviews? Start by reading all your existing reviews, across platforms, and responding to them.
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