Online Reviews , when done well , create new customers . Done poorly, they repel potential customers.
How important are online reviews? More than 80% of Americans trust them, according to research by BrightLocal. A new study I completed yesterday for my upcoming book with Daniel Lemin has found that online reviews rank second — behind only friends and family recommendations — in number of important sources of information that drive a consumer’s potential purchase.
And among millennials? They trust online reviews MORE than they trust friends and family.
But they cannot be evaluated at any time. Like the new Harry Styles ballad, they have to be BRIGHT! In fact, 50% of consumers don’t trust reviews older than 90 days, said BrightLocal .
Additionally, Google now uses “review speed”—the speed at which your business accumulates new reviews—as a ranking factor for local search results.
We are at a point where receiving a consistent supply of positive reviews has a vital impact on successful business. However, A LOT of businesses completely screw up the solicitation process. By my calculations, there are four ways to request a review online:
Table of Contents
Playbook online review solicitation 1
Ignore online reviews altogether, just hope and assume that some percentage of customers will be motivated to create them. This is a bad idea, as about 1% of customers will do so themselves.
Solicitation Playbook 2 . Online Review
Use some kind of visual cue to encourage or motivate customers to create online reviews. This is where you find things like sticking to the “Rate us on Yelp” window, etc. This is better than doing nothing, but not terribly convincing.
Playbook online review of 3 lure
Take the full review online and go for a professional run (write us a review and you get a discount), or a guilt trip (what do I do today for you to give us a Review?). Not only does this violate basically every review platform’s terms of service, but new research has found that bribing people to get reviews actually generates LESS reviews, not more. .
Online review Playbook solicitation 4
Offering customers some sort of recognizable, tactile item to encourage them to write a review without feeling like they’re being sufficiently bribed to do so. If you can get it working, this is the option you want .
A great idea from Antigua
I was on vacation in the Caribbean last week. It’s amazing! On our last night in the archipelago, my family and I stayed at the Siboney Beach Club on Antigua: a fun, cozy boutique hotel that sits right on the sands of Dickensen Bay, Siboney. It is run by very kind locals that aim to please. We were only there for one day, but we had a great time.
Upon check-out, they gave me two small bottles of local rum and attached to each bottle a business card, encouraging TripAdvisor reviews. Online reviews are clearly important to owners — after all, even Antigua rum isn’t free — and quick checkout TripAdvisor found that they have 411 reviews, average 4.5 and are rated #4 out of all hotels in the St. John’s of the island.
THIS is how you solicit reviews. I would drink the rum first, then write a review.
Find a way to offer your customers something small enough not to feel like a bribe, but remarkable enough to make them remember you and want to write a review.
If you come up with some great ideas (and I know you will), let me know, right? I’m always looking for new case studies.