The internet is full of reviews. Many people make most of their purchase choices based on reviews they find online.
Online reviews have recently been an area of scandal with allegations of businesses posting fake reviews. Some have posted bad reviews for their rivals, some good reviews for themselves and some hire dodgy companies who use 'farms' of review posters in faraway countries.
Despite these scandals, reviews are still an incredibly important consideration for your online business for the following reasons:
- Having a number of reviews for your business will make your business appear more credible than if it has none
- Reviews will increase your Google rankings, especially if they are Google reviews on your Google Plus page
So where can your customers post reviews for your business?
Personally I think reviews on your Google Plus are most important for a small business. When people search for your business your average rating and number of reviews will appear next to your listing which will immediately make you appear more credible. For example, if a potential customer is searching for window cleaners in Bournemouth and 9 out of 10 results have no reviews, the business with reviews will instantly look more appealing than those without. As previously mentioned, Google will also boost your rankings if you have a number of good reviews.
Other sites to consider include:
- yelp.co.uk- great for all businesses
- tripadvisor.co.uk- widely used for restuarants, hotels, bars and attractions
- uk.trustpilot.com- certainly worth being listed on, especially if your business is mostly online
You're probably wondering how to encourage your customers to leave reviews. Well first and foremost, if you give customers fantastic service then they may well feel obliged to leave a review on their own accord.
I would advise any business owner to jump start their online reviews by offering customers incentives for leaving reviews, good or bad. Maybe try offering your customers a 10% discount on their next purchase for leaving a review on Google Plus.
But, there are challenges. Some customers may not be as internet savvy as you and might struggle to leave a review. Furthermore, some might not have a Google account and might object to creating an account to leave a review for your business. Because of this, try not to be too pushy and if you ask a large enough number of customers, there will be some who are willing and capable of leaving a review of your business.