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Online reviews have a strong influence on your the success of your business or any business for that matter. Just consider the first steps you take when you’re considering trying out a new product or service. You most likely go online and start looking for client reviews to help ensure you’re spending your money wisely.

Customers and clients will want to do the same thing before they consider buying your products or working with you. According to Search Engine Land, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Yet and still, small business owners tend to overlook the importance of getting more reviews (especially if you’re a local business).

While you shouldn’t refrain from exercising the right marketing techniques to promote your business and your services, having some credible online reviews will certainly help increase your profits.

Social Media Today reports that review quantity gains the trust of 70 percent of consumers. An ideal number for online reviews rests between a 6 and 10 reviews minimum. Do you have that many reviews?

If not, here are some important things to keep in mind that will help you score more quality reviews for your business.

Ask for Client Reviews and Follow Up

The simplest way to get more customer and client reviews is to simply ask. If you don’t ask for feedback, many customers won’t remember to do it, since they have other things to do. Incorporate feedback requests at appropriate times, such as through a follow-up email survey or on an invoice.

Or, if you’re trying to heavily increase your amount of reviews, feel free to just email or call people. This could be people you work with. Request an honest review.

Show customers clearly where they can go to leave online reviews by providing them with website URLs. Or explain how to leave a review on social media sites unless you’re simply accepting reviews via email.

If someone responds initially and sounds like they’re interested in leaving a review but fail to follow through, don’t be afraid to send a follow-up reminder. Just make this easy and quick  to send a brief review.

Since I tend to work with more clients than customers, I usually ask people to send 1-3 sentences of their honest review of working with me and that seems to do the trick.

Express The Value To Your Customers/Clients

First, let your customers know how valuable feedback is for you. Explain how reviews help your business grow and how they only take a few seconds. Make the process easy for customers or clients to leave you a review. Consider you can even offer an incentive like a discount on a product or service if they leave an honest review.

You don’t want to bribe or pay people for reviews, but there’s nothing wrong with being encouraging. But, mostly be grateful since you are asking someone else to make time to do a favor for you.

After someone gives you a review, actually say thank you. You can address anything they mentioned in the review whether it’s positive or negative. If negative, fix it quickly.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Bad Reviews

You can’t always delight every customer every time. I figured this out pretty quick when I started pushing my company. Don’t let your fear of getting negative reviews turn you away from getting any reviews. Negative reviews can seem like the end of the world to small business owners. It’s understandable that you want to avoid them.

Depending on your niche, negative reviews aren’t actually all that bad and are often expected. A ton of positive reviews can look somewhat suspicious because everyone has weaknesses and drawbacks.

Just make sure you’re offering an exceptional product or service. Some things people point out may be out of your control and solely up to their personal preferences. The thought of getting a negative review can still scare you. Realize that you need to carefully take care of customers and target who you want to request a review from.

Ideally, you’ll want to reach out to people who you went above and beyond the service requirements for. Has anyone left you a positive response on social media? You don’t have to ask everyone for a review. Especially if you have a brick and mortar, stick to asking people who you know have had a positive experience.

If you do receive a negative review online, respond quickly and try to solve the issue. Also, utilize any constructive criticism you receive to improve your products or services. And, for heaven’s sake don’t go shooting your mouth off at them.

Focus On Connecting With Customers

It’s important to spend time engaging with your customers through social media channels. When you create an emotional connection with your customers, you set yourself apart from the nameless, faceless big-box stores and companies.

Your biggest fans and social media advocates are more than happy to shout their opinion of you from the rooftops, so encourage them to post online reviews during the conversation.

Social media engagement can be as simple as talking with customers in social media comments and addressing any problems or concerns mentioned on your profiles. Creating strong relationships with customers doesn’t have to take up your entire day or small business marketing budget.

Some customers want to review your business after engagement, but they don’t know how to go about it — so make it clear for them. If you’re a local business, keep in mind that Facebook will ask visitors to leave a review if they check in at your location.

Summary

Online reviews are an important part of getting customers through the door. You can have an amazing customer experiences. But if you’re a ghost online while your competitors have plenty of reviews, you’re at a disadvantage.

Use these tips to hit the magic review number to build trust with your potential customer base.

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Choncé Maddox is a professional writer who recently left her job in the web design industry to produce killer content and manage her own writing business full time. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs be more productive and create a life they love by doing fulfilling work. On the side, she runs a podcast and blogs about getting out of debt at MyDebtEpiphany.com.

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