Do Customer Reviews Matter?

You bet they do. Not only do they matter from a customer conversion standpoint, but now Google has come out and said that they are factoring customer reviews into their ranking algorithm. Nothing’s worse than Googling your company name and having some scathing review about your business right there on page 1 for the whole world to see. Prospects will often times Google your company name before deciding to do business with your company…do you know what they’re finding?

Google aggregates review data from many different review sites and displays them on your Google Places listing. Many clients are amazed at what past customers are saying about their business online. One of our recent clients had no idea about a scathing review of their company that stood out on the first page of Google. They remembered the customer but had no idea about the online the review. See it here: http://TinyUrl.com/ouch-thats-gonna-leave-a-mark

One of the challenges is getting your happy customers to go online and write a positive review about your company. A positive review is about the nicest thing a customer can give your company next to a referral. The challenge is that posting an online review is a multi-stepped process. Your customer has to find the review site, register, confirm their email address, figure out how to post the review, etc. In some cases, it’s a 17 step process that most people don’t complete even if they are happy. Sometimes it’s the customer that’s hell bent on ruining your reputation that will go to any length to get their review posted (or your competitor!).

How to get your customers to review your business
Once you’ve created a profile for your business on these sites, you can send a link to your best customers asking them for a review.

First step – create an email template, so it is easy to send a nice follow up to your customers asking for a review. The template could look something like:

This is (your name) from (your business name.)

During our appointment I asked if you wouldn’t mind writing a review of our services.

Online reviews are becoming more and more valuable to businesses like ours. If you have nice things to say about us or your experience with our service, it would help us if you would take a few minutes and share your experiences on one of the online review sites listed below.

There are four different review sites where reviews can be posted for us. Here are direct links to our business in each of them:

Google Local: [hyperlink here]

Yahoo Local: [hyperlink here]

Citysearch: [hyperlink here]

Yelp: [hyperlink here]

Your review can be short and sweet – it should only take a few minutes. Thank you for your willingness to help us out!

Sincerely,

(your name)

The review sites you list should include direct links to your review page there. You can make the list into hyperlinks if you know how, or just include the link to your review page after the name of the review site. Sometimes these links are very long, so use a service like TinyURL to give you a shorter link like the examples above.

Ask your customers for their email address while you are at the job. A simple question at the end of the project like, “Do we have your email address? And would you be willing to write a short review for us?” is a good way to collect your customers email addresses if you don’t already have them.

Then follow up with your customers using your email template, and watch how a growing list of reviews helps your business attract new customers!

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