By Donna Duncan
No matter how you look at it, reviews play a key role in brand discovery, and should be a key consideration for all digital marketers.
For example, search engines use online reviews when deciding which businesses to rank where in local search results. It’s not the only factor they consider, but it’s in the top 3, and that’s important if you want to gain visibility with 89% of the population that use web search engines to make purchase decisions.
Once you’ve earned visibility, nearly all consumers (97%) use online media to research and compare products and services in their local area. 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions.
And then there's social media. Some social media platforms enable users to automatically share any reviews and recommendations they write. If one person writes a rave review about you, then shares it with their social media friends, that could be a significant driver of new business to your site. On the flip side, if a negative review is shared, it could dissuade many people from even considering you.
Clearly, online reviews are important - but it's one thing to know you need reviews and another to actually get them.
So how does a small business go about getting more reviews for their products and services?
While there's no magic formula, the three best ways in which a small business can get more reviews is to be proactive, systematic, and thorough in your approach to acquiring them.
Here are some tips:
1. Be Proactive
People are going to read and write reviews about your business, whether you want them to or not.
Expect some reviews to be negative. Even if you have the best product or service in the world, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
But while you can’t control the feedback that gets left on review sites, you can be proactive about addressing such, and diluting the impact of negative reviews by making a sustained and ongoing push to build up a majority of positive ones.
Start With Review Site Guidelines
Before we get into how to acquire reviews, it's important to understand that there are rules governing review submission and publication.
Review sites have an obligation to protect their clients from being misled by dishonest, biased, or malicious reviews, and as such, most have published guidelines which are aimed at ensuring just that.