How to Get Good Business Reviews

I Love This Place! How to Get Good Reviews

by: | September 17, 2012

Here’s how I imagine business owners think about reviews when they open their businesses: “I can’t wait for all the good reviews to flood in and make us an overnight success!” Then, crickets. Or worse, bad reviews about aspects the owners hadn’t thought of. Here’s a secret for those who seek good reviews: they don’t just happen.

In this day of Yelp, Google+, and others, customers trust online reviews to guide them to a good decision or prevent a bad decision. If you’re a smart marketer, you know this and use it to your advantage. In this article, I’m going to show you how to encourage these good reviews and help your business see more success.

First, Make Your Business Visible

There’s a really awkward feeling walking into a business and being the only one there. Maybe everyone is avoiding the business because they know something you don’t.

The same goes for online businesses. Your potential customers will always opt for the business with a long list of reviews, whether they’re good or bad, versus a business with zero reviews.

No one can leave you any kind of review if your business doesn’t show up in the right places. This is your first step. If you’re not already on Google+ and Angie’s List, or Yelp and Urbanspoon if you’re a restaurant, you need to take action. Make sure your business has a listing anywhere people can leave you reviews.

Now, Onto The Reviews

To begin, here’s the bad news: People are hardwired to spread bad news. Customers are more motivated to tell someone to avoid a bad experience than to spread word of a good experience. Unless you’ve blown their socks off, you can rest assured that 99 percent of your customers won’t post good reviews from the kindness of their hearts alone. Besides, no one is going to want to go out of the way to leave a review of a simply satisfactory experience.

So, how do companies get good reviews? Here’s a secret to online reviews—

they don’t just happen, they’re carefully cultivated and encouraged by business owners. In short, they ask for them. Really, it’s that simple.

Keep in mind, the further away your customers get from their experiences, the less likely they will be to leave a review, period, so strike while the iron is hot and get them at their most satisfied, Encourage them to leave a review on Yelp, for example, right when they pay their bills, either with signage in the store or a message printed on their receipts.

If yours is an online business, ask your customers to leave a good review on Yelp, TripdAdvisor, Angie’s list, etc., and add links on their confirmation pages or receipt emails to your business. Don’t forget to add the site’s logo instead of just a blind link. Ask them by saying something like, “Are you happy with your experience? Let us know!” or “We love to hear how you liked us! Leave feedback here.”

Go Ahead, Brag a Little

All our lives we’re told no one likes the braggart. In the world of business, though, bragging is called “marketing.” If you’ve got good reviews or good press, show it off! Customers in every industry want the best they can get, so show your customers that not only are you the best at what you do, but your customers think so, too.

Here are some ways to do that:

• Link to good articles and interviews on your blog.

• Put pictures or logos of rewards you’ve won right on your homepage.

• Highlight a few glowing reviews on your website or email marketing.

• Link to your review pages so people can read the good reviews

To sum up, asking for good reviews at the right time, when the experience is still fresh, is the secret to getting more of them. If this all seems deceptively easy, that’s because it is.

Remember, in the game of business, you’re never competing against the best, you’re competing against masses of average businesses with poor marketing skills. Employ some simple tactics like this one, and you’ll be performing better than significantly better than other businesses in your field.

Now that you’ve got a better idea how to attract good reviews, find out how to deal with the inevitable bad reviews by reading part two of this set: I Hate This Place! How to Handle Bad Reviews.

How have reviews affected your business? How do you encourage good reviews of your business? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted in: Campaign Development, E-Commerce, Engage!, Link Building, Optimization, Social Networks

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

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