How to encourage reviews of your business

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With many of us now reading online reviews of products or services before purchasing, it stands to reason that those favoured with lots of good reviews are likely to stand out from the crowd. Google is even thought to use online reviews to help decide which websites deserve to appear higher up in the search results, so the benefits extend beyond the obvious. Reviews can feel like something you have no control over; after all, you clearly can’t review your own product or service. However, you can encourage your customers to leave reviews, and here’s how.

Make it clear that you’re open for reviews

Online reviews of your business can be left on external sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp, or via a review tool built into your website, such as Feefo. Either way, if your customers don’t know that they can review you online, the chances are they might not think to do so. Including a reviews section prominently on each of your product pages is a good start; not only does it inform potential customers about what others thought of the product, but it will let them know that they can leave a review of their own should they purchase.

Happy customers

Are you making the most of the great feedback you receive by email or phone? When you get an email or phone call from a happy customer, thank them – and when you do, ask them if they’d mind sharing their experiences in an online review. You can be confident that it will be a good one, so it’s a no-brainer.

Ask on social media

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get”, as the saying goes. If your business is active on social media, then it’s a great place to ask nicely for reviews every so often. Don’t forget to share the link to the page on your website where they can share their review – otherwise they may simply leave a Facebook comment or Twitter mention, which won’t help your website rankings.

Email follow-up

Each time someone orders online, you’ll have their email address – so why not put it to good use? You can send a follow-up email two or three weeks after they’ve purchased, asking them how they’ve been getting on with your product and encouraging them to leave a review.

Hand out a card with every purchase

If you don’t have an e-commerce function on your site, you can still encourage online reviews for your offline purchases. For example, each time someone buys from your shop or dines at your restaurant, hand them a card with the receipt, with a message along lines of, “If you’ve enjoyed this product, we’d love to hear about it!” Include a brief explanation of how to leave a review, along with a short web address.

Offer them an incentive

If you’re still not getting as many reviews as you’d like, there’s one more tactic you could try: provide an incentive, such as a discount, competition entry or access to exclusive content on your website. If you start to receive lots of reviews, this may not be a practical strategy, but it can help get things started if you’re trying to boost your number of reviews. Note, however, that there’s a fine line between encouraging reviews and bribery, so it’s best to avoid any suggestion that the reviews should be positive in return for the incentive.

Make it as easy as possible to leave a review

Keeping the review process nice and simple is important, because if it takes too much time, it’s likely that only the unhappiest customers will make the effort. Try to keep the number of questions down by sticking to the most important ones, and avoid complicated procedures or too many clicks.

Some companies keep reviews straightforward by simply emailing a set of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ buttons so that customers can leave a basic review in a single click; for example, answering a question such as “were you happy with this product?”. When the customer clicks one of these buttons, they open a website link with more questions or a comments box that they can complete if they feel so inclined.

Once you’ve started getting a few more reviews, you’ll probably find that they grow organically; customers will see others leaving reviews and may feel more inclined to leave one themselves. Finally, you may have reached the end of this post thinking, “but what happens if I get a bad review?” It’s a great question, and we’ll answer it in another post very soon.

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A collection of articles written collaboratively by members of the UK Domain Team.

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