The reviews are in: Gaining online reviews to boost business

By Hannah Wakeman

5 February 2016

As a local business with an online presence, it’s likely that you’re always on the hunt for the next way to gain more or better suited customers. You probably already know that one of the best ways to do this in the modern world is by taking control of your online presence. But, aside from showing in the top of the search results, how else can you show potential customers that you’ve got the best goods around?

Over the years, many different studies have highlighted the power of customer voices, and a 2015 study by Bright Local further proves the power of feedback. In a survey where they asked a group of consumers based in North America, they discovered that a staggering 92% of consumers read online reviews!

Of all the statistics that the survey provides, the fact that there has been a 4% increase (from 88% in 2014 to 92% in 2015) in consumers that read online reviews is a clear indicator that obtaining reviews should become an integral part of your marketing strategy.

So, how can you get those golden reviews, what platforms should you get them on, and are there any rules to follow when obtaining them?

Written in the stars

ai1tdc8palm-blair-fraserThe study didn’t just reveal that a large number of consumers are reading online reviews, it also discovered that star rating is the most important factor when it comes to consumers judging a business or brand.

Where to be reviewed?

Star ratings can be obtained on a number of different platforms throughout the web and it is essential that you choose a popular review platform, but also one that is relevant for your business. Those in the holiday and hospitality industry should obtain reviews on TripAdvisor, whereas those offering household services, may want to head to Yelp or another industry specific platform.


One review platform that all businesses should be encouraging their customers to flock to is Google Reviews. Incorporated into map listings and search results, potential customers can easily see the average number of stars your business has and read reviews. Google reviews even get drawn into any AdWords campaigns you have running, so you can truly maximise their use!

Make it the real deal

DeathtoStock_Wired9If you’ve been inspired by statistics to start getting online reviews, you need to make sure they are the real deal. Consumers are sceptical about fake reviews and are becoming savvier about working out which are real and which are fake.

Who should review?

Avoid negative PR by ensuring that everyone who reviews your business knows and uses your services. You can request that your existing customers leave reviews simply by asking them over the phone or by email. Creating a custom email template that can be sent out to customers that details a step by step guide can make the review process easier.

Reviews have a sell by date

It appears that the more recent your review, the more power it has. 44% of those asked said that a review is only relevant if it was written within the last month. While this is handy if you previously had some negative reviews, it does mean that you have to be consistent with your focus on obtaining reviews.
Get reviews frequently, rather than a bunch at once, so that consumers know that your brand is consistent in the service they deliver.

Get Chatty

Death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work (4 of 10)Don’t just let the reviews run in and leave it at that. It’s always good to respond to reviewers, thanking them for their feedback. Doing so highlights the fact that you are still in business, appreciate your customers, and can help if those stars are less than stellar.

Respond to negativity

It’s unlikely that you are going to please everyone, which means that you could end up with some negative feedback. Don’t shy away and ignore the bad press though, be sure to respond in an appropriate manner. If someone didn’t think they received good service, apologise and offer them a discount or a freebee. Providing an olive branch can not only turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, but also shows that you run a business that cares about their customers.

Positive reviews are just one of the ways you can maximise your business’s online presence. If your business is struggling to show in search results and needs a bit of help, then why not get in touch with our digital marketing team today. Call us on +44 (0)117 933 0570 to discuss your digital marketing strategy today.

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