Put Online Reviews to Work for Your BusinessRieva Lesonsky
Attracting a steady stream of new customers is an ongoing challenge for any local business owner. After all, in order to grow your sales, you need to grow your customer base. One of the best ways to attract new customers to your local business is by using online reviews to enhance and promote your business’s reputation.
Here are five tips you should always remember in order to maximize your online reviews' results and help your business generate new leads:
- Always pay attention to your reviews. Whether they’re positive or negative, customer reviews offer insights into what your business is doing well and what you need to improve. You could pay a lot of money for a focus group to tell you these things — or you could just read your reviews.
- Never stop trying to get more reviews. If your business has 50 online reviews, but they're all from 2015 or earlier, and your biggest competitor has 25 online reviews from this year, who are customers more likely to buy from? In addition to the quantity of your reviews, prospects also consider whether they’re outdated. Don’t rest on your laurels and decide you have "enough" reviews. Lead Stream has a Reviews feature that makes it easy to solicit reviews from your customers from within the Lead Stream dashboard, so you can keep a steady stream of new reviews coming in without a lot of time and effort.
- Always be willing to engage with your reviewers. Of course, you'll want to reply to negative reviews so you can try to change the reviewer's mind. But you should also engage with some of your positive reviewers. You don't have to reply to every positive review—that will quickly start to seem phony. Instead, pick out a few particularly well-written reviews and comment on them. In addition to thanking the customer, you can also mention additional products or services they might not be aware of. (Just don't make your comments sound too "salesy.")
- Never ignore a negative review and hope it will just go away. Respond to negative reviews immediately so you can get out in front of them before they have a chance to attract attention online. Immediately reach out to offer a public apology and then take the customer off-line to discuss how to resolve the issue. When you use Lead Stream, your Google My Business listing can sync with the Lead Stream platform so you can view, manage and reply to your GMB listings directly from the Lead Stream dashboard. That means you never miss a review.
- Always repurpose your reviews. Your online reviews will get more attention if you share them in places besides the online review site. For example, you can link to your reviews from your social media pages or from your business website. With Lead Stream, your reviews can even be featured right on your website to increase your business’s credibility to visiting prospects.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship.