Think what it would mean to have a large group of enthusiastic people giving your golden reviews who made it their mission to convince customers to do business with you. Furthermore, imagine them being so convincing that almost no one who crossed their path would say “no” to giving you their business. Plus, what if this group of people worked for you for free, 24/7? You actually have this available to you this very moment. Whether or not you’re using it to the fullest (or at all) is the question.
This is a marketing tactic that most businesses don’t exploit like they should. However, if you are using it like I’m suggesting then I congratulate you because you’re probably a business rock star. Interestingly, when I reveal to people what this tactic is I sometimes get an eye roll and a “Oh…that.” Yet, when I do a quick marketing audit of their business, I find they’re barely using it if at all. These are the business owners and managers who have gaping holes in their profit potential.
It’s Called Online Reviews
Just what is this mysterious tactic I’m suggesting you use? Online reviews. The most common place reviews are written is on Google. In fact, when Google started doing this, lots of business owners were furious because they now had another thing they had to worry about besides things going on in their business. What they didn’t understand is what a golden opportunity this actually is. If you really think about it, this is one of the most powerful referral services you could ever have. Business owners I’ve worked with have come to understand what a gift Google has given them. The best part is it’s free! Think about it. If you have ever used reviews to decide whether or not to buy from a business then you just let those reviews tell you to shop or not shop with that business. That’s how powerful it is. It’s your silent salesman with as much clout as your doctor has when he tells you to do something to keep you alive.
How Can You Benefit?
Now that I have your attention, let’s examine how you can reap the enormous benefits of your reviews and use them to get even more business. First, you have to know that you will get negative reviews on occasion. No business escapes it. They come from deceitful competitors, bad apple customers and good customers you inadvertently angered for whatever reason. The good news is that the competitor problem isn’t usually much of a problem although it happens. Plus, there are actual methods to fix bad reviews and turn them into golden opportunities. Heck, even if a customer was so mad that they wanted to give you negative stars (which they can’t), that is still fixable. How to do that is a rather lengthy discussion we won’t have here.
Going forward, it is critical your mindset is all about getting 5-star reviews for your business at all times. Be sure to check your reviews every day. Yes, everyday. There are several places people can leave reviews and you might consider signing up to a service that checks them for you and aggregates the information to save you time. If you find a review that’s less than 5-stars then it is time for you to feel a lot of discomfort. Why? Because you didn’t meet your customer’s expectation. Since you didn’t meet theirs, you certainly didn’t meet yours.
Set up a system in your business to collect reviews daily – this is key.
There are systems available to you where most of this is handled behind the scenes. All you have to do is ask for the review. Depending on the review rating the customer gives you, there is a way to divert not-so-good reviews so they don’t show up on the internet. However, Google has recently changed their terms where they don’t want you doing that. Thus, using a system to divert bad reviews is a decision you have to make. There is speculation on what Google would do if they discovered you doing this. They could remove those reviews or perhaps remove all your reviews. No one has said yet. The way around that is to have a conversation with customers before asking for their reviews. If they’re going to give you a good review, then ask for it. There’s no way Google can tell if you’re having conversations about reviews because you’re not doing it online. Thus you will be safe.
When your customer is in your place of business, you should have a computer set up specifically for them to leave a review. Customers can leave reviews from their phones too but that doesn’t mean they always will. So work hard to get them to leaving reviews before they leave. If they don’t, then it’s time to invoke the law of reciprocity. By that I mean put a gift of some sort in their hand so they feel obligated to give you something back. That something is a review. This is a clever sales trick door to door sales people discovered years ago. Give someone something and they now feel obligated to give back to you. Believe me, it’s worth the effort. After all, assuming they will leave a good review, it could be THAT review that triggers a lucrative customer for you.
Another tactic is to ask for reviews via email.
Again, there are systems you can use to make this easy to do. Be sure to drip out the requests because if you get too many at once, it will look fishy to Google and they may remove the reviews. I once had a client that offered their Facebook fans a $25 gift card for each good review (against my advice). Within 24 hours, they received over 100 reviews. It looked odd (and obvious) that they all came within 24 hours. Eventually, those reviews were removed. Worse, there were some who wrote reviews saying things like, “I can’t believe this company would actually pay for good reviews. That’s dishonest and so is this company. I will never use them!” Can you imagine having that said about your business for the whole world to see?
Another huge benefit of reviews is when you get them consistently and constantly then Google will show you more love. This means that you will become more visible online to those searching for what you offer. Thus, getting several reviews a week versus one here and there will give you a significant advantage all things equal. As long as the reviews are 4 and 5 stars on average, you have a very powerful marketing weapon employed.
Finally, take an honest look at your business.
Examine it closely and often to see what your customers are saying. If you are getting them and they’re not good enough you must find out why. It could be a certain employee causing it. Some business owners found out it was themselves causing it. No matter the cause, it’s crucial you get it fixed immediately because just as sure as tons of positive reviews will lure business to you, bad ones will repel business 24/7 and you certainly don’t want that.