Every successful business relies on reviews.
In the past, it was word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or family.
If you wanted to go to the movies on the weekend, you’d pick up the local newspaper and read what film critics had to say.
In today’s digital world, it’s online reviews that people turn to when needing advice on purchasing decisions. By focusing your marketing efforts on acquiring more of the right reviews, you can grow your business without funneling more money toward expenses like paid ads.
The big question is, how do you improve your online reviews or even get people to leave reviews that lead to more sales in the first place?
Below, you’ll find everything you need to whip your online reputation into shape, from which review platforms to focus on to how to ask for reviews that’ll actually make a difference to your bottom line.
Why Are Good Online Reviews Important?
Online reviews play a crucial part in the success of your business. Eighty seven percent of consumers read online reviews to decide what to buy, where to stay, and which restaurant to visit.
If you’re neglecting your reviews, you’re operating with a major hindrance.
Reviews influence search engine rankings: According to a Moz study, review signals make up around 15 percent of ranking factors. The more good reviews you have, the higher up your business will appear on local search results.
Social proof influences purchases and fosters trust: If someone else has had a good experience with a brand, we feel more confident in giving them our money. So much so that 78 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more.
Reviews help with decision making: If you’re unsure which product to buy from two different brands, online reviews can help take the anxiety out of making the wrong decision.
4 Top Sites for Online Reviews
You need to aim for reviews on the review sites that are going to convert. These sites should be well-known and make it easy to leave reviews.
So, where do the most influential reviews occur?
In most cases, the big four are Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Yelp.
As you can see, these sites have a combined average of just shy of 370 million visitors each month.
They’re also suitable for any business (except for Amazon), which makes them one of the digital lifelines of many local businesses.
1. Google My Business
If you’ve ever searched something like:
“Accommodation in Melbourne” or “cafe near me,” you’ve seen this pop up in the results.
In other words, getting your business’s website optimized for local search is one of the best ways to get more customers without any aggressive marketing campaigns.
How do you get onto Google My Business?
You need to create and verify your Business profile. Once it’s set up, you can control how your business shows up in search, including contact details, opening hours, etc. You’ll start appearing in Google’s listings for your business category.
Next, you want to work on getting reviews. The more 5-star reviews you have, the higher your business will appear on the Google My Business search results.
Bonus: I have an in-depth guide on How to Get High Quality 5 Star Online Reviews to increase your sales (including how to deal with negative reviews).
Amazon was one of the first online retailers to allow reviews. Starting in 1995, it’s become one of the most important places for consumers to validate a purchasing decision.
Imagine you wanted to buy a smartphone tripod, and there are two brands on Amazon. One has multiple one-star ratings, while the other has an average of 4-stars.
Which one would you pick?
You’d most likely pick the latter because you feel more secure in the value of the product.
You’re not alone.
A study from Bazaarvoice found 39 percent of shoppers relied on reviews the most when online shopping to make an informed decision faster.
If you sell products on Amazon, you need to focus on getting reviews. Not only will it help consumers trust your brand, but it will boost your search results rankings with Amazon’s A9 algorithm. The higher you appear on search, the more visibility you have, and the more sales you’ll make.
Failing to be on Yelp means you won’t be successful, especially if you’re a locally-based business.
If you want proof of Yelp’s success with local businesses, look no further than the laundry list of Case Studies on their website.
Yelp does require a little more of a hands-on approach than Facebook, though.
That’s because it weighs some reviews above others. Yelp is unique as it always tries to display the reviews that it deems “most helpful.”
While you may disagree that a one or two-star review could be helpful, Yelp has a fair process in place.
The overall history of the reviewer.
The feedback left on each review (e.g., a like on a review)
The quality of the reviews you already have to determine how to incorporate each new review.
How does this work for you?
The simple answer is you need to get as many high-quality reviews as possible. Doing so will bring all of those well-reviewed benefits we discussed earlier.
While you can’t directly ask for reviews on Yelp, as that breaks their terms of service agreement, you can ask people to “check you out on Yelp.” Any format of that works just so long as you don’t ask for a review.
Your best bet for positioning on Yelp is actually just personal pushing.
Set up your Yelp profile, claim your business, and display the sticker they send you in a prominent location.
Then, when you’re interacting with customers and receive positive feedback, direct them toward Yelp.
You can even include the Yelp badge on your website or email signature. It will encourage new visitors to check out your reviews and possibly even remind them to review you themselves.
Facebook is another platform that works for almost every type of business.
Whether you’re offering a service or a physical product, you can leverage the power of Facebook Reviews.
To get more reviews, all you need to do is set up a Review Tab on your business page, make sure it’s easy to find, and you’re good to go.
Here’s how to do it:
Go to your Page’s Settings tab, scroll down to the Edit Page section to where it says “Reviews,” and turn them on.
Not all Facebook’s Pages display reviews, so you’ll need to look at your Template options.
Just above where you turned on your reviews, you’ll see an option to select your Template.
Look through the options to find one that suits the type of business you have. Or, just opt to go with the default “Business” version.
When you’ve picked a template, scroll down to make sure reviews are supported.
You’re now set up to receive and display reviews on Facebook.
How to Get High Quality Online Reviews
Now that you’re everywhere you need to be to get reviews, let’s look at a few techniques you can start implementing to win high-quality social proof quickly.
Go to my How to Get High Quality 5 Star Online Reviews to find out more, plus how to deal with negative comments.