As a local business owner, you probably already know that having positive feedback from existing customers helps you attract new customers. When customers have a good experience they will often tell a friend or two about it.
This personal recommendation often causes those friends to give your business a try. This same principle holds true for attracting customers online. In fact, customer reviews are one of the most important aspects of local online marketing.
Why Are Online Customer Reviews So Popular?
A lot of people are quick to jump online to research local businesses that provide a product or service they want. When a person visits your site they may like the information but still be a bit hesitant to go the next step. This is solely because of a lack of trust. They don’t know if your business is the best option. A prospect’s perception quickly changes from hesitation to potential buyer after they read honest feedback from your customers.
How Reviews Impact Your Website Rankings
While many factors go into moving a local business site up in the search rankings, it is clear that customer reviews are an important factor in boosting site rankings. Research shows that businesses that have several customer reviews posted online rank higher than businesses with few to no reviews.
How Can You Get Customers to Leave Their Opinion?
Figuring out how to get customer’s to leave their feedback about a business is something that stumps many business owners. The simple truth is that most people don’t bother leaving feedback, even if they love the business. This means that if you want to get a business boost from reviews, you’ll need to be proactive in acquiring them.
Here are five ways to attract more customer reviews:
Interview Your Best Customers
Select a certain number of your best customers and contact them. Let them know that you truly appreciate them. Ask if they are willing to be interviewed by your company. Once they agree, you can get their interview on video or audio and post it to your website.
Follow Up Emails
Send a follow up email to your customers asking them to review your business or service. Try matching up the customer’s email address to the review site for better targeting (i.e. @gmail.com for a Google+ review). For other customers you can link to your top five review sites and provide them explicit instructions on how to leave a review on the site of their choice. You can rotate the list and spread out your reviews across several platforms that your potential customers may visit.
Have a Contest
Create some buzz by giving away a cool grand prize. People love entering contests and many will participate. Everyone that leaves a review is entered into a special drawing to win one or more prizes. Make people aware of the contest by posting an announcement on your site, or send a notice to email subscribers.
Each time your company ships a product to a customer include a colorful insert that encourages them to visit your site and leave a review.
Ask for Personal Stories
Ask people to tell their personal stories about how using your product or service affected their life in some way. Personal stories are very powerful and can give your business tons of credibility.
Do you need more information on how to increase your local online marketing efforts?
Guest Author: Jonathan Jenkins is an SEO professional and content writer in Cape Town, South Africa. He enjoys staying on top of the ever-shifting industry he works in, playing soccer, and evenings spent by the grill.