We are asked many times about our methods in helping our clients garner reviews from their clients. The simple fact is, is that it takes a bit of work, however, it can be a game changer. Consider this, according to Cone, a staggering 89% of users trust online reviews, and 80% of them have changed their mind on which product or service to choose based on negative reviews. The simple fact, is that reviews are crucial to all businesses, especially local businesses. And, as we all know, if you do a great job, clients may tell 1-2 people about their experience, yet, if someone doesn’t like what you’ve done, they will tell everyone. They are also more likely to write a negative review that will be detrimental to your business. More-so, the review doesn’t have to be accurate. It comes down the their opinion. So how do we go about resolving this issue? Looking to get more positive reviews from legit and happy clients. While this process takes a bit of time and work, it is worth it in the long run. Let me show you how we approach this, and you choose for yourself it’s right for you.
The first step in garnering reviews, is to put in place a system that works and is easy not only for the end user writing them, but for the staff at the business looking to acquire these. If it’s difficult for any of the above to figure out where to go, what to do, etc., they are far less likely. So, what we have done, is put in place on all of our sites a /review-us/ page that links out all important directories we are targeting at the moment. See below for a screenshot.
This allows us, our client, and their clients know where to go to leave a review on them. We dont stop here however. Part of what people will want to see, is the reviews / testimonials themselves. So in addition to building a /review-us/ page, we implement a /testimonials/ page as seen here that is placed on their site (We dont want them to leave their site if possible, especially if there might be a negative review floating around.) ,
This /testimonials/ page also encourages users to leave their testimonial while they are there (and we get to final editorial approval),
In this page, we implement the hReview tag to promote on Google, and with that we get this on our SERP (Note, the above screenshot and below one are 2 separate clients),
So now at this point, we have the client’s site pretty dialed in and ready for reviews. The next step, is to get the client on board w/ promoting them themselves. The main issue we see, is that most clients will never even ask for a review. Either they dont know the importance, or it’s an out of sight out of mind issue. So for that, initially, we recommend that they setup a computer in the front office, and request reviews from their clients as they are leaving. This was okayed by Google a while back, and helps to debunk the theory that multiple reviews from a single IP would flag your account. We suggest that our clients bookmark their /review-us/ page, then we walk their staff through the process of not only how to get to whichever directory we are looking to garner additional reviews, but setting up a new account as many people don’t have one, or even know how to set one up.
What we have found, is that in many cases, our clients wont have the support in place, or their clients wont have the time to stick around to write the review. For that, we have implemented this extra step in the process.
What this is, is an editable .pdf that is a 2 sided postcard (only one side shown here). The client can then type in and check off their data, print it out, and either hand them out or mail them out to their clients as they are walking out the door. We also use this to reverse target long time clients of the business we are working with to help promote further online reviews for our newer clients. As we assess our client’s reviews across the web and help them manage their reputation, we will recommend to them the targeted directories to focus on.
We believe that online reviews on Google Places are beginning to play a bit of a role in the rankings of the listing itself. Maybe not as much directly, but for many factors indirectly through the engagement, use of KW’s, etc. Following the above methods has seemed to work very well for us, however, it’s still a bit of a difficult / uphill battle that us and our clients have to stay diligent on. To us, these are best practices, however, we would love to hear what others have found to work well.