I think we can all agree that reviews make a difference to how people make decisions online. The 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey found that while 28% of people choose a local business by price or location, 52% look for positive customer reviews first. And that was so long ago now – social proof has stepped it up a bunch of notches since then. People give online reviews the same consideration as personal ones. Social proof, or whatever you wish to call it, has become such a part of selling online that there are hundreds of apps and services to help. While some of these might work great, I highly recommend that you start out using simple, organic methods like I’ve outlined below.
#1: Choose your review sites
When asking for reviews you want to focus on the key places people are checking and using to help make decisions. Try searching “my area my service reviews” to find any specific to your region. For the tourism industry, Tripadvisor is the main one, and you might want to check out our guide to how to improve your Tripadvisor ranking.
I also recommend you give a link to your Facebook Business Page or your Google My Business – focus on the latter if you are working to get a ranking in the Google local pack (if you are not sure if this matters please get in touch and ask for a SEO Audit). We also offer Tourism SEO services where (along with a range of activities) we build authority links and citations – this combined with a lot of good reviews is what will get you to the top.
#2: Don’t be shy to ask directly
If someone gives you a compliment about your company or services, don’t be shy to hit them up. They obviously like you, and if you let them know that sharing their thoughts about the positive experience online will help your business a lot of them will happily do so. It’s in situations like this that a cool business card with a quick review URL somewhere on it comes in super-handy. You can make a shortened URL with Bitly, or you could setup a redirect in your WordPress backend from a simple URL like mywebsite.com/reviews/ to go to your reivew link.
#3: Make it easy
Tell people exactly where to go – provide the link if at all possible. Do not just say, “please leave a review”. Every request can be a clickable link or have a button, anything that makes it clear what action people need to take, and that makes it easy for them to do so.
#4: Use email and time it well
Ever had a great experience, thought about leaving a review, and then forgotten all about it? If you don’t do it soon the desire to take action disappears quickly. The best time to ask people is while they are still on a high. For example, when asking for reviews from clients for this business, I wait until their website has gone live and everything is looking and working great. Only then do I send an email openly letting them know that reviews help my business and would be appreciated, and asking if they are happy to take the time to write a review. In 100% of cases they reply with a yes, and I then follow up with a link that will open the review section of our Google My Business account.
If you send your guests a “Welcome Home” or “Thanks for choosing XXXX” email a couple of days after they check out, thanking them for choosing you and providing a link for a review, you catch them while you are still in their mind, and greatly increase the chances of someone following through.
#5: Monitor and respond to reviews
Make sure you take the time to respond to client reviews online. Thank the happy clients for their business and for making time to leave a review. It can be hard, bon’t ignore negative feedback. Remember other people can see this, and how you respond really showcases your attitude. Be professional and polite – not defensive or argumentative. Thank unhappy clients for their feedback, apologise briefly but sincerely if needed, and invite them to call or email you to resolve the situation. You want others to see that your goal is the best service possible.
#6: Share your positive reviews
If you share the odd great review on Social Media, thanking guests and letting others know how much you appreciate getting them, it can help the in-flow of new ones as well.
#7: Don’t try and game the system
I know it seems a great idea to have an i-Pad or something in a kiosk or at reception. However, companies like TripAdvisor frown on reviews that are generated from the same computer IP address. It is much, much better to have your clients submit reviews from their mobile phones or laptops from different locations.
I hope this has given you some actionable steps to help generate more reviews. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments, otherwise checkout our free email training, “Booked Solid” for more strategies and tactics to improve your business online. Enter your name and email here.