Business owners always want to know how they can get more reviews.  Usually this happens after they receive a bad review and go into panic mode.  I have a plan to help you handle a bad review on my LinkedIn profile that you can access by clicking here.  The best way to make sure a bad review does not sink your SEO and your reputation (or drive you insane) is to have a strategy to get good reviews on a regular basis.

To build a review strategy you need to know why they are important, where to collect them and how to ask customers and clients.  So let’s go through each of these issues.

Why are reviews important?
Your potential customers and clients read reviews – researchers claim 80-90% of individuals do not buy a product or sign-up for a service without first consulting reviews.  Also the search engine algorithms consider reviews when rating your website.  A business with a several great reviews will rank higher.  They are considered a signal or a measure of your business.  The more well writtend and positive information on the interent about your business the better.

You need a strategy.  
As you know, I am a planner.  You need a system to ensure you are asking for and receiving reviews on a regular basis.  So before you sit down and start asking make sure you know what you are going to ask your customers and clients to do.  Having a list of whom you are going to ask, how you are going to contact them and clear directions for them to follow is key.

Where to get more reviews?
Sites big and small allow reviews – but as you start out you will want to make sure you first take care of the major ones.  Here is the list of importance:

  1. Google:    We always play in the Google sandbox and reviews on your Google My Business page are critical.
  2. Linkedin:  Ask for recommendations on your personal LinkedIn profile.
  3. Yelp:  If you are a storefront or consumer service Yelp is important.  If your business is on Yelp and someone has already left you a review there, then it is important.
  4. Facebook:  Important for Facebook search.
  5. AVVO:  If you are an attorney a high ranking and well reviewed AVVO profile is important.  You can ask clients but also fellow attorneys.
  6. Your website – you can list reviews as a page on your website under reviews or testimonials.

How to ask for reviews?
This can be difficult and may even seem awkward for you.  But asking for a review from someone you know and have done great work for/with can actually be easy.

  1. How to contact them – if a client or customer is thrilled with your work then ask them when you see them.  You can also give them a call or send an email.
  2. What to ask – be clear that you are asking for a reviews to help you build your business.  Ask them to write their review on one site.  The review only needs to be 3-4 sentances.
  3. Directions – each site is different and they all require accounts.  Make sure your directions are clear and simple.
  4. Offer a promotion – some stores will give a discount for a good review.  Professional services can also offer a discount – although make sure to check in with the ethics of that in your field.

No duplicate content
Google dismisses any review that is copied.  So, do not ask one person to write the same review on LinkedIn and also have it listed on your website.  Likewise do not have a client write you a review on Google and then also on Yelp.  While it is tempting do not ask your clients to write the review on a computer in your office. Google takes note of the IP address used and if they are all the same it is assumed they are bogus.

Here is a trick – if you receive a glowing recommendation on LinkedIn you can take some of that text and put it into a jpg – I recommend using Canva for this.

When a review does not display
Sometimes a person must review several businesses before a site will start displaying the reviews they write.  Other times an individual writes one review and it is shown forever.  If a customer claims to have written a review but it is not yet displayed wait a week or two and then you can contact the site.

If you do not yet have a number of reviews that others can read you should start working on it slowly.  Having a plan and asking those you work closely with first are two great ways to get started.  It will get easier over time and even become routine.

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