Sunday, December 7, 2014

Why Reviews Matter to Your Local Business

Absolutely no amount of advertising, tweeting or direct mailing will influence customers the way an unbiased peer review can. That's due to the fact that in the era of social media and on-line reviews, it's not what you share about your business that matters; it's what others express about you.

According to a survey performed by Dimensional Research and backed by Zendesk, 90% of respondents stated that positive online reviews influenced their purchasing decisions, and 86% claimed their buying decisions were influenced by unfavorable reviews.

Although online reviews are a valuable asset for any business, obtaining reviews from customers could be a delicate courtship. In many cases, the biggest barrier that small businesses have with online reviews isn't receiving negative ones-- it's obtaining them at all. Many small business operators can be skittish about requesting customers for reviews, worrying that they'll irritate and turn off a once happy customer.

However, if the success of your business genuinely hinges on online reviews, encouraging reviews is a talent you'll need to master. Here are seven tips to help you conquer the awkwardness and motivate clients to leave reviews.

1. Make composing a review as easy as possible.
The average customer is not going to search for ways to leave your business a review (except if they have a bad experience to share). That's why you should make it as simple as feasible for customers to offer a review. Put direct links to your review accounts in several places, for example, a thank you or follow-up e-mail.

2. Be present on multiple review websites.
Everyone has his or her own preferred review website-- maybe it's where your customers analyzed your company to begin with. Having a presence on every review website (or every review site that makes sense for your business) can make the procedure more seamless and pleasant for your patrons. For example, there's Yelp, Angie's List, Google Local, Yahoo Local, LinkedIn, TrustLink and many more.

Ask customers to leave a review on their favorite site-- never force them to write reviews on multiple websites. And be careful regarding pressing patrons to write a review on a brand new site. For example, if a non-Yelper really feels persuaded to create a Yelp account to provide you a review, Yelp's spam filtering system will probably flag their testimonial and all that effort will disappear into thin air.

3. Be genuine.
If you feel bashful about asking for a review outright, don't. It's a part of doing business these days. You can help your case and also foster goodwill by being as candid and open as possible with your customers.

You can say something as simple as, "Your viewpoint matters to our company and to other customers, so we 'd be truly appreciative if you take a couple of minutes to review your encounter," or "Do you read internet reviews? We do, and so do other clients. That's why we 'd appreciate it if you take a few moments to review your experience.".

4. Tread the enticements line very carefully.
Many say that supplying any kind of enticement for reviews harms the process and should be avoided at all costs. Nonetheless, I appreciate the fact that any individual writing a review is taking time out of their busy schedule to benefit the overall community. Supplying a small incentive (such as TWENTY % off discount) can be a nice way to show your gratitude and encourage customers to make the effort to compose a few words. You simply need to make sure your offer is for penning a review, not just for composing an excellent review.

You might also delight reviewers by sending them a rebate coupon code or other offer right after they've posted a review. By doing this, you know your incentive really did not affect their choice to write a review, however you still get to offer a modest token of gratitude for their time and efforts.

5. Consider your demographics.
If your patrons are Millennials, they're already accustomed to discussing every single experience on the internet and will most likely share their thought and feelings without much urging. Battering patrons under the age of 30 with appeals to post a review will most likely turn them off.

However, if you have more mature or much less social media savvy patrons, they could require a bit more urging or hand-holding.

6. Transform reviewers into brand ambassadors.
While a favorable review is fantastic for your enterprise, the real value lies in the reviewer. Think about it. That person took the time to describe and share the great experience they had when it comes to your enterprise.

Think of how you can further leverage this particular relationship. For example, you could create video reviews from your top clients to post on your website. Nothing tells a story better than well-produced, genuine video clips from actual people.

7. Do not ignore the unfavorable reviews.
Even though your objective is to get excellent reviews, you'll most likely encounter a negative review or two. Bad reviews aren't often a business-killer, but how you manage an unfavorable situation might be. Listen to and attend to the bad reviews; you could have a prospect to transform an unhappy patron into a brand advocate.

At the end of the day, the most effective path to possessing great reviews is to deliver a fantastic product and customer experience. If you're doing all you can to create an extraordinary experience for your patrons, there's no reason not to advise them about the importance of sharing reviews.

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