Do online reviews matter? To put it bluntly, f yes. About 95% of people read reviews before making a purchase. As a customer, don’t you do the same? Whether it’s to check out a new restaurant or buy a new outfit? We all need some persuasion to say yes. Here’s why your business needs to ask customers for reviews—and how to do it—so you can attract more business and improve customer loyalty.

Why Online Reviews Matter for Businesses

1. Social Proof

Monkey see, monkey do. Or in our modern digital world, monkey reads a bunch of glowing reviews about your business, monkey buys your stuff, and monkey shares your business with friends. That’s the ultimate business hat trick.

Reviews give prospective clients, customers, and patients a look into how your business does, well, business! These testaments up your credibility and trustworthiness. Plus, then you can use these reviews as trust signals on your small business website.

2. Even Bad Reviews Are Good 

But what about bad reviews? Any publicity is good publicity, right? Well, as long as you know how to handle it.

“Consumers spend five times as long on a site when they interact with negative reviews, with a 85% increase in conversion rate.” But how you respond to a review has just as much of an impact as the review itself. You need to respond promptly to a negative review. You need to be diplomatic and kind. Whether it’s a comment on a social media thread or a Google review, people will read your replies—and they expect to be impressed by your response.

3. More Reviews = More Money

Your reviews translate into dollar signs—plain and simple. Research for Yelp, for instance, shows that every star increase bumps up revenue by 5-9%. Plus, customers don’t tend to believe your star rating until you have a few dozen reviews. So start asking customers for reviews ASAP so you can build trust with your ideal audience.

4. Opportunity for User-generated Content

Reviews are great fodder for social media posts. Plus, they’re user-generated content, and customers love to feel special to businesses. Use testimonials for social media posts, repost reviews directly from users (always crediting their post, of course), and see what that does for your brand’s likability.

5. Improve Local SEO Rankings

Having positive online reviews can boost your ranking on Google. This especially comes in handy for local search traffic. So, if someone searches for a keyword that pertains to your business, positive reviews will help the algorithm rank your content highly in results.

6. Insights

We assume as a business owner, you want to provide the highest quality products, services, and experiences to your customers. Reviews will help you do this!

Reviews are a type of social listening that will tell you exactly what customers love—so you can offer more of it—and pain points in which your business needs to improve. Customer testimonials are such powerful surveys of your business’s strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you implement change in response to your reviews. That’s how you’ll continue to grow successfully as a business.

7. Customer Loyalty

Customers want to feel seen and heard. Online reviews will demonstrate that your business does both—strengthening their love and loyalty for your brand. According to Forbes, “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.” A little goes a long way!

How to Ask Customers for Reviews

1. Personalize Your Ask

How do you like to be asked to do something? Probably not with some cold open. You want to feel respected and important. That’s how you should treat your customers when asking for reviews. If you can’t ask individually because of the size of your business, at least segment your audience by demographic and use first names in your emails and subject lines. A little personalization goes a long way in review generation.

2. Incentivize Customers

Give to get: it’s a tactic that always does well with customers. Offer a discount on their next product or service for a review. Enter them to win a raffle. You decide what’s the best incentive, and attach that to your request for reviews.

3. Run an Email, SMS, and Social Media Campaign for Reviews

To gather your online reviews, reach out to customers in a setting of their choice. If they follow you on social media, create a post asking for reviews so they’ll see it while scrolling their feeds. You can also be more direct with SMS or email campaigns. Include links to your Facebook Business and Google Business profiles to make it super quick and simple for customers to leave a review. If there are too many steps and it takes too long, you’ll lose reviews.

You can also create an email drip campaign that automatically sends out a request for reviews after a customers does business with you. Asking for a review while the transaction is fresh in your customer’s mind will help increase your odds of getting one. Although, a negative experience is more likely to still be bothering them, so get ready to respond to those bad reviews ASAP!

4. Add a Pop-up to Your Website

Install a plugin that’s connected to your Google reviews, so customers can quickly. When they visit your website, the request for a review will pop up right away. You’ll want to enable tracking so you know which customers to target with this pop-up. For instance, it won’t make sense to ask new visitors for a review, so you will need to customize your pop-up.  Here are our favorite pop-up plugins to try on your website.

5. Respond to Reviews Promptly

Always, always, always respond to reviews. Whether they’re negative or positive. Doing so validates your customers, shows them you care, and shows other people reading reviews that your business is responsive.

We hope this post will help you gather testimonials that attest to how wonderful your business is. If you need help, you can always reach us by email.