Have you Googled your business recently?
Do it if you dare. (Actually, do it now. Get it over with. It’s important for what comes next.)
Your SERPs — the results that come up when you type your company or product name into the search bar — might not be everything you’d hoped. You might see your company website, maybe some social media profiles, hopefully an Amazon product listing or two (if you have them).
What about reviews? If your SERPs do turn up company or product reviews, it matters how they look.
Like, really matters. A single negative review can harm your company’s or product’s reputation and its sales. This probably isn’t news.
Unfortunately, the opposite isn’t quite true. You need a pattern of positive reviews, not just one, to create and sustain your brand’s image online.
So, how can you be sure to attract high-quality reviews both from customers and trusted industry experts? Use these strategies to start.
1. Offer Freebies to High-Authority Reviewers.
We’re not talking about cash under the table. You shouldn’t bribe regular customers or industry experts (or anyone else) for a positive review.
What you can and should do is make sure high-authority reviewers (those experts) have everything they need to write a comprehensive and hopefully positive review of your product, service, or business.
That often means providing a sample (or a trial subscription, if you’re a service business) free of charge. You may need to walk reviewers through your product or service too, and it’s not a bad idea to leave them with talking points that they can use (or not) in their review. Give them that nudge and chances are they’ll perform as you expect.
2. Cultivate Relationships With Product Experts in Your Field.
Industry experts get many requests for reviews and testimonials. Make sure yours rise to the top of the heap by cultivating relationships with them in advance. That’s one way to get your product featured on high-authority websites respected by your target audience — like this product review for Yieldstreet, an investment platform.
Note that these experts might not operate their own websites. They’re often representatives of consumer publications and product testing companies, like The Wirecutter or Consumer Reports.
3. Verbally Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews (But Don’t Bribe Them).
There’s that word again, bribe. When it comes to encouraging regular customers to review your products or services, you really can’t offer payment or freebies. That’s unethical and could be against the rules of review platforms that trade in 100% unbiased reviews.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enthusiastically and persistently encourage your customers to leave reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and other relevant review sites. Whenever someone walks into your store and walks out with a purchase, you should bid them adieu with a cheerful “Don’t forget to review!”
4. Include Written Requests for Reviews in Customer Communications and Product Packaging.
If you’re a regular Amazon customer, you’ve almost certainly seen this trick before. Adopt it now if you haven’t already — it’s the single best way to ensure that people who buy your products follow up with a glowing review. Just be sure to request a five-star review specifically; otherwise, be careful what you wish for.
5. Periodically Highlight Facebook’s Review Feature on Your Facebook Page.
Other than Google, Facebook is the most visible platform for verified user-generated reviews online. Not reminding your Facebook followers that they can review your products means leaving lots of potentially positive reviews on the table.
6. Show Your Customers How to Leave Reviews.
Leaving reviews online isn’t rocket science, but an instructional video or list never hurt anyone. Make sure your customers can’t use the “I didn’t know how” excuse.
7. Showcase Testimonials on Your Website.
Finally, showcase positive testimonials on your website. This provides social proof — a sort of permission structure — for customers who had a positive experience with your brand but never bothered to review it. Every like-minded review they read is a point in favor of getting it done now.
Give Your Prospects Permission.
When they’re pretty sure you’re the real thing but need that extra push, positive reviews give your prospects permission to buy from you. They say, “This is a good one. This is the one you want.”
Detailed positive reviews from industry experts help earlier on in the buyer’s journey. They educate, inform, and hopefully entertain, nudging prospects toward an inescapable conclusion: Your company or product is the best around.
Either way, the power of positive reviews can’t be ignored. It’s time to harness it.