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We all know that online reviews are extremely important in the modern marketing age. While there are other ways to improve your SEO more dramatically, reviews have a lot of sway when customers are deciding where to eat or what to buy. A review is basically a word-of-mouth recommendation, and studies have shown that online reviews have a lot of power. It's worthwhile to invest some time and effort into acquiring a solid base of positive reviews for your company.
However, you may be at a loss when deciding just where to start. We have some great tips to help you get more reviews for your company so when people search for your business and read about it, they choose you.
Ask with an email. With the major exception of Yelp!, there's nothing wrong with outright asking for a review. If you have any way to get your customer's email address at time of service, go ahead and send out a response email asking them for a review. You might be surprised at the positive reception you get for doing this.
Link your profiles on the website. So long as you don't say, "review us here!" you can certainly link to your Yelp! profile on your website, among others. You might notice that many stores have the "People Love Us On Yelp!" sticker prominently displayed. This is a mega hint to get people to visit the site and review. You can hint on your website, too.
Create simple printouts to hand to customers with their receipts. When service is over, hand them a piece of paper that has a list of sites to review you at. It's basically the non-tech version of sending an email, but if you're a non-tech type, this is a quick and easy way to ensure that you get your review sites in the eyes of your customer. You can also add links to your review profiles at the end of receipts, but considering how many people never actually look at the receipt it may not be noticed.
Ask with your voice. Again, this is not very technical, but quite effective. Feel free to physically ask your customers to review you after you render a product or service. No harm done. Train your staff to ask for reviews at the end of service as well. If you place follow-up phone calls with your clients, ask them when you call.
Respond to your customers' reviews if possible. If you get a bad review, this helps you appear caring and committed to customer service. If you get a good review, it shows that you're actively engaged with your customers and grateful for their feedback. Either way, this encourages other customers to interact with you through reviews.
However, remember to be careful about getting an avalanche of reviews, since if you get too many at once it can trip off a filter and they may not appear. If you're using the above advice to generate online reviews the the honest way, however, this shouldn't be a problem.