When it comes to improving search visibility and drawing in more customers or clients, online reviews on platforms such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook remain vitally important. Here, we will discuss why online reviews are more valuable than ever before and also provide tips on how to most effectively conduct review outreach.
Customers Care About Online Reviews, As Do Search Engines
A majority of searchers looking to find a product or service will seek out at least some online reviews, whether from Google or Yelp, or on a business’ website. Before spending money on a purchase or hiring a company as a service provider, many customers aim to ensure that they’re making a good decision by seeking out feedback from those that had direct experiences with the item or business in question. Positive online reviews therefore serve as trust signals, indicating to the customer that the company they’re looking to purchase from or contract services from is legitimate and dependable.
Search engines also pay close attention to customer reviews, incorporating them as part of their overall ranking formulas. As these search platforms look to connect users with businesses that are reputable and likely to provide excellent experiences, they too look to online reviews as trust signals. This is particularly evident with local search, as Google and Bing will display “map pack” results that include review quantity and average rating for each entity featured.
Review Outreach Made Easy
With both customers and search engines taking online reviews into account, you will want to work on getting as much positive customer feedback for your business over time as possible. Getting too many reviews in a short period of time can be a red flag for Google, particularly if every single one of them is 5-Star. Best practices would be to acquire reviews in an “organic” fashion, with requests sent out and corresponding feedback coming in steadily rather than all at once.
One way to accomplish this is by using an online review acquisition and management system, a variety of which are readily available. What’s great about these particular platforms is that they offer streamlined processes and do not require you to invest a lot of time and effort. With many of them, you simply input the customer email addresses and/or phone numbers, and the system will send out email messages or SMS texts with links to the desired review sites (Google, Yelp, etc.) included. Some even have features like a “Kiosk Mode” that enable you to load the review request page on a phone or tablet and capture customer feedback directly at the point of sale. Almost all of these review outreach services also allow you to add “review badges” or review feeds to your website to entice and incentivize those that visit there.
If you do not wish to use a review acquisition system, you could also take a more hands-on approach by manually emailing customers. Such messages would include links to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or any other review site that could be valuable for your business. Another option would be to include the review links as standard on any digital invoices or other correspondence that is routinely sent out as part of your business operations.
The Power of Responding to Online Reviews
While reaching out to customers or clients for new online reviews is important, so too is appropriately responding to them when they come in. Unfortunately for businesses, dissatisfied customers are far more likely to leave public reviews on the web than happy customers are. While you may rightfully be upset with negative feedback, particularly if you feel it is unjustified, you nevertheless need to respond in a measured manner without being aggressive or otherwise attacking the individual. Even if the reviewer doesn’t follow up on your response or change their rating, responding is still necessary because it allows you to get your side of the story out there for other prospective customers to see.
Many businesses fall short by not responding to positive reviews along with the negative ones. This may not seem as important as replying to criticism, but it’s another way to let those viewing your company online see that you truly care about the customer experience. As these individuals took the time to praise your company publicly for others to see, even a brief thank you message can go a long way. Ultimately, you want your desired audience to know that your business is always striving to improve and provide a higher level of service.
Let Fivespot Masterfully Manage Your Online Reviews in 2022
Fivespot’s comprehensive Review Outreach & Management service will help you acquire the positive reviews you need to impress potential customers and search engines alike. We also carefully monitor all review platforms to let you know when particular feedback has been posted that requires swift attention. Our team will respond to online reviews on your behalf, or otherwise guide you through crafting responses if you wish to reply yourself. To learn more about how we have helped countless clients get the most out of online reviews, please call us at (818) 964-0617 or reach out online.