What tools can local businesses use to effectively gather reviews from their customers? Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing Agency. My company specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Online Reviews. I have been in business for over a decade, and I fully understand that small to medium sized businesses often struggle when it comes to effectively gathering reviews from their customers. This post seeks to address that issue. Reviews can make or break a business, and they need to be taken seriously. In this article, I am going to cover the following areas;
Why Local Reviews Are Important
The importance of online reviews can never be overemphasized. It’s a subject that I have covered extensively on this blog. And it’s a subject that many business owners fully appreciate.
Evidence of that is that I have referred over 400 people to Shopper Approved, a company that handles online reviews, over the past couple of years. Reviews are important. And local reviews are even more important. But why is that the case?
46% of searches are local in nature
Did you know that 46% of all the searches that are made out there are local? That may seem like too high a figure. But it is true nevertheless. When people go to Google, they are mainly looking for businesses in their immediate vicinity.
A large number of searches are local
Examples are restaurants, bars, coffee shops, gyms, wedding venues, movie theaters, banquet halls and many other types of businesses. All these establishments have one thing in common; they draw customers only from so many miles around their physical locations.
Just to give an example, how many miles would you be willing to drive from your home or office to a restaurant? And how many miles would you be willing to drive to get to a gym? The answer in the latter instance is 4 miles. People generally restrict themselves to gyms that are no more than 4 miles from their homes.
Gathering and responding to reviews can help you rank higher on Google Maps
I have previously produced an article in which I talked about the importance of ranking high on Google Maps for local businesses. One of the things that we noted can help you achieve a higher ranking was to actively seek out reviews from your customers.
Getting local reviews can help rank higher on local searches
According to Google, you also need to actively response to customer feedback. Getting high quality reviews from your customers is a positive signal, not only for Google, but also for your prospective customers.
Up to 90% of people first consult online reviews before buying
Here is another reason why you should take online reviews seriously; up to 90% of people will first consult reviews before making a purchase. So, you need to make sure that your business is getting as much feedback as is possible.
And the majority of this feedback needs to be positive. However, negative reviews are a part of life, and there are some things that you can do to manage them. So, don’t pull your hair out by the roots in frustration just because a customer has left a scathing review of your business on Yelp.
People trust online reviews
Online reviews are an extension of the word-of-mouth phenomenon that has been around since time immemorial. The one major difference is that word-of-mouth was usually via a favorite parent, aunt, colleague or another associate.
People trust that online reviews will not lead them astray
Online reviews, on the other hand, are left across the internet by complete strangers. Yet people trust them! Yes, the majority of shoppers out there trust online reviews better than they trust your business!
They are willing to bet that people would not go through the trouble of leaving feedback about a business without what they are saying being true. So, you need to get as many local reviews as you can for your business because people trust this feedback. And they are likely to buy if you have reviews.
People are not naturally motivated to write reviews
Most of the time, people will buy from you and afterwards, they will go on their way. It’s up to you to make sure that they give you feedback. That’s the object of this article, to give you the tools that you need to get local reviews for your business.
Make it simple, and you are likely to have positive responses to your quest to get local reviews for your feedback. Nobody it going to go out of their way to review you. They need to be nudged towards the right course in a wide range of ways.
People who are motivated to review your business are mostly disgruntled customers
Here is the thing; satisfied customers will unlikely take the time to review your business. However, the same cannot be said of disgruntled customers. These have all the motivation in the world to write scathing reviews regarding their experiences with your business.
In fact, so motivated are they that they will hop from one platform to another attacking you. Even if you don’t have a presence on such platforms as Yelp, they will still take the time to create a Page for your business so they can attack you. But why does this all matter?
Well, the point is, you need all the tools at your disposal to gather local reviews for your business. You need to be proactive, otherwise your brand is going to be swamped by negative reviews. If only disgruntled customers are reviewing you, then your brand will be unfairly presented to potential customers. So, what tools can you use to get local reviews for your business?
Tools to Get Local Reviews for your Business
Gathering local reviews is important. It’s what stands between success and failure for your business. The following are some of the tools that you can use to gather local reviews for your business;
1. Shopper Approved
What’s the best way of managing local reviews for your business? Is it by manually going after each person in a bid to get them to give you feedback?
That can become something of a challenge, particularly if you have loads and loads of customers. So, what can you do? Well, the good news is that there are companies out there that simplify the process of managing online reviews for your business.
One of these companies is Shopper Approved. I have already noted that I have referred hundreds of people to this company over the past few years. Simply put, if you are looking for a hands-off, yet highly effective, approach to gathering local reviews, then you should opt for a company like Shopper Approved. But what does Shopper Approved do?
What does Shopper Approved do?
Shopper Approved is an online reviews management company. It does the followings;
- It helps you gather local reviews from your customers.
- When you sign up, Shopper Approved installs their software on your site. Your customers will be asked to give you feedback when they complete the checkout process.
- Shopper Approved also syndicates data from reviews to Google for use in Seller and Product ratings. In fact, Shopper Approved is one of only 30 companies across the world that are approved for this task. Seller Ratings are a good way of boosting your CTR in Google Ads. You can increase your conversion rate by as much as 17% through the use of Seller Ratings.
Shopper Approved and Local Reviews
Tools for gathering local reviews
In this article, we are mainly focused on local reviews and the tools that you can use to get them for your business. Shopper Approved is great for local reviews. In fact, they have an arm called Local Reviews that’s dedicating to growing local businesses using online reviews. They provide your all the tools that you need to gather feedback from your customers, both on and offline. You get the following;
- An app to help you gather reviews
- QR Codes
- Receipt URL
- Print Media
- Text Messaging
- Business cards
Email is another effective tool that you can use to get local reviews for your business. But how does it work? Why don’t you start by asking your customer for their email and other contact details upon checkout? This applies both for eCommerce establishments and for traditional brick and mortar businesses.
Let’s say you run a restaurant. You can ask your customers to write down their contact details before they leave your establishment. Do it politely, and you are likely to get a positive response. Entice people with discounts or other offers. That way, they are much more likely to want to become part of your mailing list.
Later, you can send them an email with a link to a page where they can leave a review of your business. Maybe the link will take them to your Facebook Page or to another platform where people can write a review.
Google vs Yelp positions regarding soliciting for reviews
I will digress a bit here to tell you about the different stances taken by Google and Yelp regarding soliciting for reviews. Google actively encourages businesses to ask for reviews from their customers. So, you won’t be breaking any rules by doing it via email.
Yelp, on the other hand, frowns upon the practice of soliciting for reviews. Yelp wants all reviews to be organic. So, it you actively ask your customers for feedback for your Yelp page, you will be breaking their rules and you could be penalized in one way or the other.
3. Verbally ask for reviews from local customers
Often the most obvious solution tends to be the last implemented. You are looking for local reviews for your business, right? Well, the biggest tool for you in this regard is your mouth. Why not simply ask a customer to review your business?
You probably have a number of loyal customers if you have been in business for any given amount of time. Maybe they are regulars to your restaurant or to your gym. Ask these people to give you feedback. You know that their reviews will be positive.
Make sure that everybody that works for you is aware of the effort that you are making to gatherfeedback from your customers. Your staff needs to be ultra friendly to pull this off. Nobody is going to respond positively to your business when asked by grumpy staff.
4. Offer great service
Businesses often try to move mountains while looking for tools to get local reviews from their customers. Yet the best tool lies right there in front of them. People do business with you, not because they like you, but because they have a need that needs to be fulfilled.
Great reviews begin with great service
Perhaps somebody is hungry and they are looking to fill up their stomach. So they come to your restaurant. Or maybe they are trying to whip themselves into shape and they have decided to join your gym. Those are their needs. So, what can you do to get them to review your local business on Yelp, Google, Facebook etc?
Well, why not start with giving them the service that they are paying for? It’s as simple as that. Satisfied customers are much more likely to respond positively to your solicitations for reviews. In fact, if your service is good enough, they may even review your business on their own without the need to f a prompt.
5. Ecommerce businesses can get people to leave reviews on checkout
If you own an eCommerce business, then one of the steps that you can do to gather reviews from your customers is to have a review form upon checkout. Give them the option to write a review before going.This is something that I have already mentioned in relation to Shopper Approved.
Once you have signed up, they automate the process of gathering reviews from your customers. This includes by having a popup appear when people complete a purchase. It’s a simple way of ensuring that people do not leave without detailing their experiences for the benefit of others.
Bonus tip: Gather reviews using Facebook and other Social Media platforms
Facebook is often underrated when it comes to online reviews. Yet, today, it has grown to become one of the largest platforms as far as reviews are concerned. I often say every business that’s out there needs to have a presence on Facebook. Check out an article on how to effectively manage your Facebook Business Page.
You can use your Facebook Page to get people to review your business. Your is a platform on which to engage current and prospective customers. Over time, you will have gathered a troop of followers. Why not leave a link on there that takes them to your Yelp or Google My Business Page where they can review your business?
Those are the five tools that you can use to get local reviews for your business. If you want to automate the process, go for a platform such as Shopper Approved. They are an all round online review management company. You can also use email to ask your local customers for reviews. Another tool that you can use is Social Media. Leave links to your review pages on social media, and many people will take the time to provide much needed local feedback.