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Are you looking to get real business reviews fast? Is your company struggling to make more sales? Do you wish to harness the power of business reviews to achieve growth? If yes, then this article is for you! My name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a digital marketing company. We specialize in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Remarketing. We also help our clients gather reviews fast. In this article, I am going to:
- Show you why getting business reviews is important
- Explain how to manually get business reviews
- Show you how to automate the process of getting reviews for your business
Why getting genuine business reviews is important
I have been doing digital marketing for more than a decade and can tell you that online reviews are important for businesses around the world. If you are a serious business, there is probably no way that you will be able to grow while ignoring them. One of the things you will notice while trying to quickly gather feedback for your company is that there are unscrupulous characters out there who will try to sell you reviews. Don’t fall into this trap! Read this article if you wish to find out more about fake business reviews. The following are some of the reasons why it’s important to get real reviews for your business:
- Up to 90% of consumers will first consult online reviews before doing business with you. This makes it important for all businesses to do everything in their power to harness the power of online reviews.
- Reviews help build trust: Reviews are an important tool for businesses largely because they act as a beacon of trust. They are, in essence, an extension of the word-of-mouth phenomenon that has long driven business around the globe. Put simply, a consumer is going to feel more comfortable doing business with a company that has received positive feedback from previous customers. In fact, up to 88% of consumers trust online reviews. That’s despite the fact that most of them are left online by complete strangers.
- Data from online reviews is used for seller and product ratings: If you advertise on Google Ads, then online reviews are something that you can use to further boost the CTR for your ads by as much as 17%. That’s because data from online reviews, when collected and syndicated by Google-approved companies, forms the basis of Seller and Product ratings. Go to Google today and you will notice that some ads have a five star based rating system. Seller and product ratings are great for giving your ads visibility and proving your trustworthiness to potential consumers.
- You need to be in control of your online reputation: Ignoring online reviews is not a option for the simple reason that people will still be able to rate your business whether or not you have signed up for review platforms such as Yelp and Google My Business. This form of unsolicited feedback tends to be damaging. A consumer that bothers writing something about a business without being asked to do so is usually angry about something. All businesses, therefore, need to start getting online reviews as a way of managing what people are saying about their brands.
- For new businesses, reviews are a good way of providing social proof. They show prospective customers that your business is the real deal and they can trust it to deliver on its promises.
- People will spend more if you have positive reviews: Reviews translate into real profit for most businesses. Just consider the fact that up to 31% of consumers will spend more on a company that has received positive reviews and you will understand what I am talking about here.
- Getting positive reviews is particularly important if you are a local business. That’s because up to 92% of consumers say they will hesitate to do business with a company that has a rating of less than 4 out of 5.
- They provide insights into your performance as a business. This is a side of online reviews that is often neglected. In the struggle to get more reviews, most people ignore the substance of the feedback that they are getting from their customers. Perhaps your customer service sucks, or your shipping could do with improvements. These are the things that you will get from reviews; particularly those that are negative. Having this information allows you to make changes that will turn your business into a better entity.
How to get real business reviews
If you are in a situation where you have just launched your company and are looking to prove credibility, then the points that I give below should be of interest to you. They will also work if you have received a lot of bad reviews and you feel they may be affecting your rankings for SEO, or hurting your conversion rates. I have used these tips many times to help my own clients get out of a jam.
Manually gather reviews
The online reviews arena is, quite frankly, overcrowded. There are seemingly hundreds of platforms that you can use for your business. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Far from it. Rather, it allows you to market your brand to as wide an audience as is possible. As such, you need to use as many of the available platforms as you can. Search engines, including Google, look at reviews holistically. They don’t just look at reviews only from one platform. They will also consider other platforms such as Facebook and the BBB. The following are some of the places that you can use to manually gather genuine reviews for your brand:
- Google Reviews: Google My Business
Google is the go-to place when it comes to online reviews. That’s because so many people use Google on a daily basis. Google Reviews are not to be confused with Google Customer Reviews. Google Reviews are what you see to the right in the above screenshot. At the time of writing this article, Planet Marketing had received 28 Google reviews. Google Customer Reviews, on the other hand, is a system used by Google to gather feedback from your customers on your website. They are exclusively for e-commerce websites, while Google Reviews is for everyone. Google Customer Reviews are used for Seller and Product ratings in Google Shopping and in Google PPC text ads. Read this article for more on the differences between the two. In this article, we are interested in Google Reviews. But how do you get them?
Sign up for Google My Business
This is your first step on the way to getting Google Reviews. Google My Business is free, so there is no reason why a business would stay away from claiming their listing on the platform. Signing up for Google My Business should be simple enough.
Verify your Google My Business profile
This is the second step that you need to take on the way to getting Google Reviews. Verification is done using a pin code that is sent to your given address via postal mail. The entire process can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on how far off the beaten track your business is located. Once you have verified your business, your customers will now be able to give you reviews through Google Maps.
Ask genuine (and happy) customers for reviews
After you have claimed your business via Google My Business, your next step on the way to getting real business reviews involves asking your customers to give you (hopefully positive) feedback. But how do you do this?
- Do a search for your company on Google: You can see what I am talking about in the screenshot at the top. For this example, I have used my own company, Planet Marketing.
- Click on the link highlighting your reviews (in front of the golden stars) and you will get the popup in the screenshot below.
- Click on “Write a review.”
- Copy the URL. Paste it into Notepad or Word.
- Email the URL to your past customers. Don’t send it to your pissed off customers because then they are going to give you a negative review. You want to definitely send the URL to anybody who has a Gmail or an Android phone, because if you have an Android phone you have to have a Gmail anyway.
- When people click on the URL, they will be taken to a page where they can review your business.
Yelp is the second platform that you can use to get reviews for your business. I know: a lot of business owners hate Yelp, including me. One of the reasons for this is that Yelp tends to hide a lot of reviews. As you can see in the above screenshot, Yelp is only showing one review for Planet Marketing. All the rest are hidden. Make sure when you get Yelp reviews that you are getting them from somebody local. Otherwise Yelp will just hide them. Ten of my reviews “are not currently recommended.” These hidden reviews are all real. I got them from genuine people who I actually worked with, so I don’t know why Yelp has decided not to show them.
Yelp is a must for all businesses
Having said that, the fact remains that Yelp is a must for businesses around the country. The process that you go through in order to start using Yelp is more or less similar to Google My Business. Yelp allows you to claim your business free of charge. So there’s really no excuse for any business not to be on the platform. One thing you need to note is that people can review your business on Yelp, whether or not you have claimed your business’ page. So, you need to be there in order to manage the flow. One reason why Yelp is a must is that Yelp reviews feature heavily on some local search queries. Essentially, Yelp provides businesses with free SEO.
How to get real business reviews via Yelp
Once you have claimed your Yelp page, simply do the following to start getting reviews from your business’ customers:
- Click on the “Write a Review” button.
- Copy the URL.
- Send it out to your customers. Again, you need to make sure that these are happy customers. Asking for a review from an angry customer is clearly asking for trouble.
- Once that is done, your customers will be able to click on the URL in order to give you a review on Yelp.
Note that Yelp frowns upon the practice of soliciting for reviews from customers. In fact, this is something that is actively discouraged. Yelp will penalize you if they catch on. So don’t say I didn’t warn you! Yelp sucks anyway, so who cares? They are probably going to hide your reviews anyway, whether they are organic or solicited. That is one of the major differences between Google Reviews and Yelp Reviews. Google actually encourages businesses to ask their customers for reviews.
Facebook is another platform that you can use to get real business reviews fast. Facebook recently renamed its reviews section to “Recommendations.” You can see in the above screenshot the Facebook page for a Starbucks near where I live. In order to get reviews for your business on Facebook, you need to do the following:
- Open a Facebook Page for your business: The process is free. Facebook pages allow your business to maintain dialogue with current and potential customers.
- Go to your Facebook Page.
- Click on “Reviews” in the tabs to the left of the Page.
- Copy the URL.
- Mail the URL to your customers. When they click on the URL, they will then be taken to your business’ Facebook Page, where they will be able to leave a recommendation.
Give people an incentive to review your business
The people who will bother giving you a review using the manual method will probably be your friends and family. Your past customers will probably not take the desired action, unless you give them an incentive. Remember, people are not naturally inclined to review businesses. Offering them something for their time and effort could, therefore, be a great motivator to get them on the right track. The incentive doesn’t have to be big. You can, as an example, give them a Starbucks gift card that’s worth $5.
How to automate the process of getting real business reviews
The method of getting reviews that we have just been highlighting using Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook, is not automated. It works; all that you need to do is put the links into your emails and you can blast it to all your past customers, alongside your mum, dad, your best friends, etc. You will then be able to get a review from these people. The process works, but it is not the best. It can be time consuming, and most likely you are going to get reviews from very few people. The good news is that there is a way through which you can automate the process of gathering reviews from your customers.
Use 3rd party review companies
If you wish to automate the process of gathering reviews from your customers, then this is what you should do. But what are 3rd party review companies and how do they operate? First, a bit about product ratings and seller ratings:
Product ratings are a favorite topic of mine on this blog. If you use Google Ads, and you need reviews on your product listings, you can use a 3rd party company that is licensed by Google to push your reviews into your Product Listing Ads. So, if you have an e-commerce site, you can get reviews for each one of your product pages.
Seller ratings are another topic that I cover extensively on this site. Now, if you are using Google Ads and are just using regular CPC text ads and you want Seller Ratings, then you should also consider using Google-approved 3rd party review aggregators. Seller ratings are not just for show. They are worth their weight in gold. I have already mentioned the fact that, according to Google, getting Seller ratings has the potential to increase your CTR by as much as 17%. So, how can you automate the process of getting genuine business reviews?
Use Shopper Approved to automate the process
Here I am just going to give a few examples of the companies that are approved by Google to syndicate data for Seller and Product Ratings. At the moment, there are 22 companies that are approved for Product Ratings. There are also 30 companies that are approved for Seller Ratings. A few of companies are approved for both. One of these is Shopper Approved. Shopper Approved is authorized by Google to syndicate reviews from your website into Shopping ads. This applies for both Google Product Listings and Google CPC text ads.
The Shopper Approved discount
Shopper Approved has recently joined the bandwagon of companies that do not display pricing on their websites. However, we have been using this company for many years, both for ourselves and for our clients. Therefore, we have a pretty good idea how much they cost. Before the decision to hide pricing, the cheapest plan that you could find on the Shopper Approved website was $199 per month. This plan is pretty much still available today.
The good news is that we, at Planet Marketing, have negotiated a Shopper Approved discount for you. Instead of paying $199 per month for product and seller ratings, you will only be paying $159 per month should you decide to sign up using our link.
Disclaimer: We are an affiliate and stand to benefit should you sign up using the PM link.
How do 3rd party review aggregators work?
Okay, I am going to give you a brief on how 3rd party review companies work. Where a company like Yelp hosts reviews on its own platform, third party review companies do not operate that way. Once you have signed up with a company such as Shopper Approved, they integrate their software onto your website. Let’s assume here that you are the owner of an e-commerce website. When people buy products from your site, they get the option to review your business. You do not actually need to do anything to ask your customers for feedback. Third party review companies automate the entire process. Your customers can be asked to leave a review in the following ways:
- At checkout: As soon as they have made their purchase.
- Via email: The email is sent to the customer after the purchase has been made. It’s all going to depend on the nature of the products that you sell, of course. If you go to platforms such as eBay or AliExpress, you will come across reviews from customers who confess that they haven’t even opened the products in question. If this happens to you, it’s probably an indication that you need to work on your timings for asking for reviews.
- Through SMS: Contrary to what many people think, SMS is a pretty effective way of getting reviews from a business’ customers. It is used extensively by many of the 3rd party review aggregators that are out there. Fact is, most of the emails that are sent to people are likely to be ignored and even trashed. The beauty about SMS is that almost every one of them is read. They are pretty hard to ignore. 3rd party review companies exploit this trait to get reviews from a business’ customers. They send out a link and the customer can then leave a review after clicking on the link in the SMS.
- Via an app: Most 3rd party review companies also provide an app that can be used to gather reviews from customers on the go. If you are a pizza company, as an example, your customers will be able to review you right when you make deliveries to their homes.
Other 3rd party review companies
However they are collected, reviews get displayed on your website. This helps increase sales by giving your customers an idea of what they are purchasing. Remember what I have already said about people buying more when businesses display reviews? Reviews really work! They build a lot of credibility for a business. Other third party review companies include eKomi, Trustpilot and Verified Reviews. If you are looking for the cheapest, that will probably be Shopper Approved and Verified Reviews.
Hope this article has helped you understand more about online reviews and how you can get them to help your business achieve growth. The method that I gave at the start involves manually gathering URLs and sending them out to your customers via email. I would recommend creating one email and doing an email blast to all your past customers. I mentioned at the top that you should try to avoid pissed off customers. This method would probably work great if you are a low-volume business. You can also put the link on your thank you page or on your e-commerce shopping cart page, asking your customers how their experiences have been so far. When they click on the link, they will be able to give you a review. You should also put the URLs in the confirmation or thank you email when someone makes a purchase. That way, they will be able to leave you a review after reading the email.
Reviews are for Real
Think about when you are buying stuff from Amazon or eBay. Do you ever purchase products that have no reviews? I don’t! I am actually kind of skeptical about it. So, your company is no different. Here is the thing though; having bad reviews, in my view, is worse than having no reviews. So, it’s up to you guys. I also mentioned that you can automate the process of gathering reviews from your customers. This is done using 3rd party review companies. If the company that you choose is authorized to syndicate reviews to Google, then your reviews can be used to provide your business with a rating when you advertise on Google Ads.
NB: Once you start getting reviews, then you could start charging higher prices. I have done that in the past. I have had a lot of experience on eBay and I have always been the highest priced seller there because of the reviews.