How To Get Customers To Leave Reviews

online reviewsLike most people, you've probably used online review sites like Yelp and Google+ to zero in on the right companies for various products and services. When it comes to promoting your own business, though, does it pay to encourage online reviews? While there are pluses and minuses to having reviews for your business posted for the whole world to see, it's far better to have reviews - even if some are negative - than to have none at all. In this day and age, a business without at least a handful of reviews isn't going to inspire a whole lot of trust. The question, though, is how can you encourage people to post reviews in the first place?

Pros and Cons of Online Reviews

Before delving into the best ways to encourage online reviews, let's consider the advantages of having them in the first place. First, online reviews inspire brand trust and can be highly influential; according to a survey by Dimensional Research, 90 percent of respondents stated that positive reviews influenced their buying decisions. Second, online reviews are great for SEO, and that's particularly true about reviews on Google+. Finally, people expect to be able to find online reviews. When they can't, they are left wondering what's wrong with a company.

As for the cons of online reviews, they are minimal. You can't please everyone, so there are sure to be a few negative reviews. Also, it's fairly easy for competitors to post fake negative reviews. Still, these downsides aside, online reviews are far more advantageous than problematic.

Top Ways to Encourage Online Reviews

So, how do you go about getting people to post online reviews about your business? A few great tips include:

  • Let Customers Choose Their Favorite Review Sites - Maintain presences on as many popular review sites as possible. Some folks love Yelp while others prefer Google+. Still others are happiest posting reviews on Facebook. Don't back your customers into corners; let them stay in the driver's seat.
  • Make it Easy - If people have to jump through hoops to post a review about your company, they're unlikely to at all. In follow-up emails and other correspondence, include direct links to your various online review site profiles. Alternatively, have the information printed onto receipts, or hand out flyers in your store with the information printed on them and put them in customers' bags at checkout.
  • Keep Demographics in Mind - Think about your typical customer. If he's young, he should be fairly savvy about using online review sites. Don't pester him too much about it, or you'll risk alienating him. On the other hand, if your typical customer is older, he may not be as well-versed in the world of online reviews. A little extra prompting may be in order, but you should still avoid laying it on too thick.
  • Be Transparent - Don't beat around the bush when soliciting online reviews. People will be able to see right through your ruse anyway, so be blunt, open and transparent. Tell them you'd appreciate an online review, and give them a few reasons for why you're asking. By helping people understand your motivations, you're more likely to get positive results.
  • Offer Incentives - Offering incentives for online reviews is effective, but there's a fine line. Never offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews, for instance, or no one will take positive reviews for your business seriously. At the very most, tell people they will receive a special offer for taking time out of their busy schedules to post an online review for your business.

Don't hold off on encouraging reviews because you're scared of receiving negative ones. When handled properly, negative reviews can be big opportunities. By making things right, you can show customers that you're willing to go the distance for them. That negative review could be followed up by a glowing one outlining the fairness of your business, so don't let those concerns hold you back!


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Advantages of Choosing a Local Internet Marketing Company

local internet marketingMany online companies offer Local Internet Marketing Services and promise big returns. However, none of them are familiar with the challenges presented by the unique location of your business. Hiring a local company to take care of marketing, SEO and advertising has many advantages over outsourcing halfway across the country or around the world.

Knowledge of Locale

The town or city where your business is located has its own history, culture and personality. An online Internet marketing company can't tap into this the same way a local one can. Doing business in the same area gives local companies the advantage of in-depth knowledge of what makes your location stand out, and they can use that knowledge to better serve your business.

Familiarity with Local Demographics

The people in your area are as unique as the area itself, and in order to successfully market to them, you need to work with a company that has its finger on the pulse of your target demographic. Knowing what people want and being able to give it to them is an essential piece of the marketing puzzle. The better your marketing company understands this, the better they're able to hone your marketing efforts to entice the people who will be most interested in your products and services.

Tailored Keywords

It's hard to read about SEO without encountering something about the importance of local optimization efforts. Keywords with a local focus are essential if you want to attract business from people in your area. Consumers who increasingly rely on their mobile devices often search using keywords targeted to the area they're in. An Internet marketing company that's located in the same city as your business has the knowledge necessary to choose and implement the right keywords to bring these mobile customers to your door.

Improved Local Reputation

Being the "go to" business in your area generates advertising through word of mouth, which is still one of the best ways to get customers. Working with a local marketing company can help you establish an online reputation that taps into the same powerful advertising potential and brings your business to a wider audience of local consumers.

Available and Accountable

When you entrust your website and marketing campaign to an online service, you can't be sure that you're always going to be able to talk to someone when you have a question. With a local company, you can call or stop in to speak with a real person about how your campaigns are going. They'll be able to address your questions right then and there so you can get on with running your business rather than having to check your email a hundred times a day as you wait for a response.

Comprehensive Documentation

Tracking every step of a marketing campaign is the only way to know how well the different components are performing. A local Internet marketing company can offer in-person meetings to discuss results on a regular basis, allowing you to keep a close eye on your marketing efforts. Even if you find an online company with comprehensive reporting, you won't get the same level of support when it comes to interpreting the results.

Consistent Experience

When you work with an online company for your Internet marketing, there's no guarantee that you'll always be put in touch with the same person when you have questions or concerns. Local companies are more streamlined and give you the consistency you need to run a successful campaign.

Relying on a locally based Internet marketing company to handle optimization efforts for your business brings better results by improving visibility within your unique community. When you choose a company that knows the area and the people in it, you get specialized expertise that online services can't offer. If you want to see real results in your local marketing efforts, working with a company in your area is the way to go.