Many business owners are skeptical of online reviews.

After all, what happens when someone leaves a poor review? Could it tank your business?

The reality is that you can’t please everyone. However, if you have a solid product or service, you don’t need to fear online reviews. In fact, making sure you have a process can actually help you grow your business.

Even local brick and mortar stores can benefit from online marketing and reviews.

Customers Trust Online Reviews

You might be surprised to discover that customers trust online reviews. A LOT.

I know that I read reviews before I make a purchase. Before I buy something on Amazon or anywhere else, I read what others have to say about it — the good AND the bad.

There are even times that I decide not to buy something, just because there aren’t any reviews on the product and I’m not willing to take the chance. Customers want to know what others think and read about other experiences before they commit their resources.

I’ve bought items without perfect ratings as well. When I read one- and two-star reviews, I weigh that information against the four- and five-star reviews. In some cases, it makes sense to disregard a few poor reviews when there are so many more good reviews.

If you want to attract more customers, it makes sense to embrace online reviews.

Getting More Online Reviews

So, you know you need more reviews. How do you go about getting those customer reviews?

The good news is that you might only have to ask for those reviews. Here are some things you can do to increase the number of reviews you receive from customers:

  • Ask your fans to provide reviews that you can then use as testimonials. If you have a few really loyal customers, ask them if they are willing to help by providing a review you can highlight.
  • Set up a pop-up that asks customers to review their experience after completing the purchase.
  • If you collect email addresses (and you should), send an email a week after the purchase to ask how the customer likes it.
  • Hold a contest. A review results in an entry into a drawing. You can have one prize or offer multiple prizes. This is a good way to ramp up the number of online reviews you have quickly.
  • Share good reviews on social media. Make sure you incorporate reviews in your social media marketing. You can also add this to a contest by providing extra entries when someone shares their review on social media.

You can also make sure to monitor Yelp and other places that collect reviews.

It’s important to avoid getting emotional when you receive a negative review, however. If you go on the offensive and attack the review, it can turn into a disaster. It’s best to either work to make it right by privately messaging the reviewer (keep it professional and polite), or just to ignore it if it’s clearly a troll.

For the most part, online reviews are worth the few trolls that crop up. You can raise your visibility and even see better search engine results as a result of reviews.

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I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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