Online reviews are opportunities to learn from your customers — but they’re more than just pieces of feedback for your business. Not only do reviews provide you with actionable insights into what’s working (and, just as crucially, what isn’t), they also:
- Boost your visibility by helping you rank in local searches
- Build trust that helps boost conversion rates
- Help you stand out on review platforms like Google Business Profiles (GBP), formerly Google My Business (GMB)
- Influence consumer opinions about your brand
- Potentially increase your revenue
The question is, how do you help ensure your business gets enough of them? Our review response team answers that question and more in this week’s post, covering topics like how likely consumers are to review businesses, how businesses typically ask for reviews, and tips on how to request reviews more successfully from your customers.
How Does Getting More Reviews Benefit Your Business?
In 2022, being active online isn’t optional — it’s mandatory. Consumers expect businesses to have a strong digital presence, which means having a well-designed, easy-to-use website; being active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and, as we’ll focus on in this blog post, having an adequate number of online reviews.
What do we mean by “adequate” in this context? As of 2022, Google no longer enforces its previous five-review requirement, long recommended as the minimum number of reviews by many expert sources. However, that doesn’t mean you can afford to be content with just three or four comments. On the contrary, there are at least four important reasons to try and maximize the number of reviews you receive:
- Responding to reviews makes it more likely for consumers to shop at your business — but obviously, you’ll need to receive reviews before your business (or our 24-hour response scribes) can reply to them. Learn more about how to improve your review reply strategy, or ask about our review response service built for agencies and franchises.
- Positive reviews have a powerful impact on shoppers’ decisions and help encourage other consumers to trust your business.
- Data shows that not only are consumers more likely to shop at a business with reviews — they’re also likely to spend more when they do.
- Glowing reviews make great additions to your social media pages, providing you with an effective (and easy) way to market your brand.
Data shows that, compared to previous years, consumers have relaxed their expectations around the recency of reviews — for example, whether a review was posted last week or last month. However, it’s still beneficial to try and keep an influx of fresh reviews flowing in for your business — and not only so that customers can see your business is active. As GMB Crush explains, “Although Google reviews are not sorted by date, generally, the more recent the online reviews are, the more Google will consider them as relevant and eligible to be displayed on top.”
How Common is it for Businesses to Request (and Receive) Reviews?
Here’s another way of framing this question: What percentage of your competitors are proactively gathering reviews from their customers?
Data from a BrightLocal report about online reviews, which was published in January and surveyed a total of more than 1,100 participants, provides some insight. Participants in the survey were asked the question, “In the last 12 months, have you been prompted to leave a review for a business by the business itself?” Survey participants responded with one of five possible answers:
- 30% of survey respondents said they were prompted, but only “left a review less than half the time.”
- 23% said that they were also prompted for reviews, and “left a review more than half the time.”
- 18% confirmed that they had been prompted, yet had “never left a review.”
- 17% said they had simply “never been prompted” to leave a review for a business.
- 12% of those surveyed said that they had been prompted and had “always left a review.”
In other words, the data indicates that more than one in 10 consumers always leaves a review if asked to do so by the business, while nearly a quarter of consumers are more likely than not to leave a review if asked to do so.
Is your agency, brand, or franchise taking advantage of these trends? If the answer is no, now may be the perfect time to revisit and revitalize your strategy for requesting and gathering online reviews.
What Are the Most (and Least) Popular Methods of Asking for Customer Reviews in 2022?
There are numerous strategies your business can employ when requesting reviews from your customers, from low-tech methods like asking in person to utilizing emails or text messages. So which of these approaches is most commonly used, and what are some other ways of collecting reviews of your business? According to the same survey, here’s what other businesses are doing:
- 41% of consumers say they’ve been prompted to leave a review via email.
- 35% say they were prompted “on a receipt or invoice” from the business.
- The same percentage — 35% — report being asked in person (specifically, “during the sale/experience”).
- 27% were asked in an SMS text message.
- 18% received prompts for reviews via social media.
- 13% were asked over the phone, an especially steep drop from the previous year’s data (24%).
- 10% were asked “on a device inside the business location.”
- 10% also reported being asked inside of the business “on signage” — a more low-tech approach, with equal prevalence.
- Only 8% recalled being prompted by a chatbot on a website.
- The same amount (8%) were prompted to share a review via a business card.
- 13% of survey respondents said that “none of the above” were applicable to them.
How to Ask for Reviews More Successfully
We’ve discussed some of the most (and least) commonplace methods of prompting customers for online reviews. But does popular necessarily mean successful?
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen throughout this post, significant percentages of consumers decline to write reviews — even when explicitly prompted. Recall, for instance, the statistic that 18% of consumers have “never left a review” despite being asked during the past year.
The question is, how can your business overcome this challenge and ensure that your requests for reviews are as effective and productive as possible? Here are four tips to help you get more mileage out of each request.
- Decide on the method (or methods) you’ll use to request reviews from your customers. For instance, will you opt for a manual or automated approach? Through our review generation service designed specifically for digital marketing agencies and franchises, Shout About Us provides the option to choose a manual, hands-on strategy or an automated, hands-off approach, making review collection simple and intuitive for your team.
- Experiment with different phrasing and language to see what gets the most responses. For example, you can carry out A/B testing in order to measure how various prompts (such as “How could we improve your future experiences?” or, “Were you completely satisfied with your experience shopping with us / visiting our business today?”) perform against one another.
- Make the process of leaving a review as fast and easy as possible for the customer. Don’t overwhelm your customers with complex or time-consuming instructions. The simpler it is for them to review your business, the more likely they’ll be to follow through. Keep your review requests brief, don’t impose conditions (like requiring a 5-star rating), and be sure to include a helpful link where appropriate (such as in text messages or emails).
- Personalize your message with a name and other details. Learn more about the power of personalization when responding to (or requesting) reviews.
When applying the above tips and techniques, it’s critically important to keep in mind that certain tactics, such as posting fake 5-star reviews on your own behalf, may actually constitute fraud — and could cause financial or even legal trouble for your business, not to mention getting you flagged on or banned from certain review platforms. Before you launch a review collection campaign, learn more about the basic do’s and dont’s of incentivizing your customers to leave reviews for your business.
Want to Get More Reviews? Ask About Our Review Generation Service for Franchises and Digital Agencies
Getting more reviews doesn’t have to be time (or budget) consuming. With our streamlined review generation service, which enables you to choose from a variety of manual and automated request options to guarantee the best results, it’s easier than ever before to increase the quantity and quality of your reviews. We also offer a suite of additional reputation management solutions, including our custom review response service, to provide you with a one-stop-shop for all of your review management needs.
Learn about our review reply service, review collection service, or the other services and features that Shout About Us offers agencies, franchises, and brands. Book your demo today.
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with more than seven years of writing experience. She joined the Shout About Us team as a content strategist in 2020.