We’re all reviewers. Every time we buy a product, see a movie, watch a show, play a game or go to a restaurant, we review it. Much of the time we aren’t reviewing deliberately. It’s a thought in our head or an offhand comment to a friend like, “That movie was lame.”
Sometimes if an experience really affects us, however, we want to share our opinion with the world. If we LOVED the seafood buffet at [insert relevant restaurant here] or a product solved a problem we had all our lives, we’re more likely to go out of our way to share our review. See all the five paragraph Amazon and Yelp reviews.
People like sharing their opinion — especially when they’re asked for it. This makes them feel that their opinion is valued and gives them permission to share how they felt. For businesses, this presents a big opportunity.
There are many advantages to having positives reviews of your business floating around the internet. For starters, you’ll be more likely to turn all those website users who check out your website into customers. But how do you get people to review your business? And how do you ensure those reviews are positive?
Why Generate Reviews
First, you might be thinking that your business can do just fine without reviews. But think about how many users come to your website and reach out to your business. Could your conversion rate be better? To understand why reviews help generate conversions, we should take a look back at the buyer’s journey.
As we’ve written about many times before, the buyer’s journey is “the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate and purchase a new product or service. The journey is a three-step process.”
The three steps in the buyer’s journey are:
Awareness: The buyer realizes they have a problem.
Consideration: The buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it.
Decision: The buyer chooses a solution.
The buyer’s journey is helpful when developing content because it helps you better tailor your information to speak to your target’s current education and engagement level in their journey.
Reviews fall under the decision stage, which, as the name suggests, is when the consumer is ready to make that final purchasing decision. In this stage, the purchaser is typically deciding between a few options they uncovered in the earlier stages of the buyer’s journey.
Reviews can give you the edge over the competition during the decision stage.
If your business has 100 four- and five-star Google reviews, your business is more likely to win business over a competitor that only has a few reviews — or a company that has a lot of reviews, but their average rating is three stars.
In this final stage, consumers are looking for a good reason to choose where to take their business. They are looking for that assurance that they are making the right decision. Reviews do an excellent job of lessening buyer anxiety, especially if it’s a more expensive purchase.
Google Reviews are King
Many websites house business reviews, but not all are right for your business. For example, Clutch.Co only reviews IT and marketing consulting firms, so it doesn’t make sense for a restaurant to be reviewed on Clutch. For restaurants, Yelp makes more sense to house reviews.
For most businesses, the best, most universally used platform for reviews is on Google. To have reviews shared on Google, you need a Google My Business page. Google My Business is easy to set up if you have a standard office address. From there you’ll see your business pop up on the side of Google search results like so:
Not only does Google My Business take up more visible space in results, but it also lets people leave reviews and shares the average star rating below your company’s name. When users search your business, the company overview and average review stars will be the first thing they see. If you have four stars or more, it’ll boost your company’s credibility and add to decision stage content.
According to the Online Reviews Report conducted by ReviewTrackers, Google is most users review site of choice as more than 6 in 10 consumers look to Google for reviews making it the top review spot your business needs to focus on to start.
How to Generate Positive Reviews Using Email and Workflows
Ideally, your Google My Business page will have a listing of 4-5-star reviews and zero to only a few poor reviews. But you can’t please everyone, and bad experiences are inevitable; if you’re asking people to share their opinions, those adverse experiences may come to light.
According to the same ReviewTrackers report, negative reviews have convinced 94% of consumers to avoid a company, and 80% of consumers say the star ratings they trust the most are 4.0, 4.5 and 5 stars.
So how can you increase the odds that only the positive ones make it onto your Google page? Follow this email strategy:
For past customers:
Create an email that asks past customers to review your business
Make the call to action something like, “Click which star best defines your experience with our business,” and provide five stars that can be clicked in the email
Link the fourth and fifth star to your Google reviews submission
Link the stars one through three to a landing page where users can submit feedback to you
By linking the fourth or fifth star to the Google review submission, you’ll get people who have had positive experiences with your company sharing them publicly.
When people are not as enthused about the brand, you aren’t writing off their experience, as the landing page they arrive on will still provide users the chance to review your business. The negative feedback provided can be used to improve your customer experience, which will lead to more positive reviews moving forward.
For new customers
Generating reviews doesn’t need to rely on email campaigns you manually send out. The process can be automated with email workflows.
Using the same email structure outlined above, build an email workflow like this:
Each time a contact is marked customer they are enrolled in the workflow
The customer is sent a “Thank you” email
The thank you email will thank the customer for doing business with your company and ask if they are willing to provide any feedback on their experience with the hyperlinked stars.
Each time a customer is added to your CRM, they will be thanked and asked for feedback. If all goes according to plan, your business will have a steady source of positive Google reviews for the foreseeable future.