Online reviews are integral to the customer’s journey—now more than ever. The majority of consumers use Google or Bing to do online research before making any major purchasing decision—and the online reviews they encounter can often determine whether they buy your product, or the product of your competitor.

The bottom line is that your business needs to get reviews, and it needs those reviews to be positive. That’s probably not going to happen by accident; rather, a proactive approach is necessary if you want to ensure a sterling online reputation for your business.

Where Should You Seek Online Reviews?

To start with, it’s important to know where you should be seeking those online reviews. There are countless online review platforms out there, but generally speaking, only a handful of them are truly central to your online reputation. These are the ones we recommend:

  • Google My Business (if you haven’t already signed up for a free account, do so now!)
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Any online review sites that are specific to your industry or niche

Make sure that you have accounts set up at each of these platforms, and that you optimize those accounts with up-to-date contact information, business hours, photos, keywords, a link to your home page, etc.

How Should You Seek Reviews?

Once you have your review platforms set up, the next step is to start encouraging your customers and clients to deliver their feedback. Some strategies we recommend include:

  • Make sure you have links to some of your review sites on your company website; for example, you might include a link to your Google My Business account, encouraging customers to submit their comments. Always make it easy for people to leave reviews!
  • There are other places you might add links to your review sites, including in your email signature line and at the bottom of online invoices and receipts.
  • If you have a brick and mortar store, consider signage encouraging people to look you up and leave reviews on Yelp, Google, etc.
  • Also think about sending a message to your email list—or maybe just to a select group of your best/most loyal customers—and simply ask them to do you a favor and leave some feedback.
  • Some businesses even encourage the review process, letting their email list know that there’s a $5 gift card in it for them if they take a minute to leave a review.

What Else Should You Know About Online Reviews?

Once you have the review sites set up, make a point to monitor them regularly; always be aware of what people are saying about your business.

When positive reviews come in, take a minute to say thank you, letting your customers know that you hear them and appreciate them.

Negative reviews, meanwhile, can be difficult to read without getting upset—so always take some time to cool down, then patiently ask how you can make the situation right. Take the opportunity to show some customer service, which can help undo much of the damage done by that bad review.

Get Help Managing Your Online Image

A final note: Managing online reviews is ultimately just one part of your broader marketing strategy. That’s where we come in. Driven2020 has proven strategies to help businesses enhance their image and establish credibility in the minds of consumers—helping generate foot traffic and bring in conversions.

We’d love to talk with you about the digital marketing opportunities in front of you. To start the dialogue, reach out to Driven2020 today!