Spread the word: generating positive reviews for your small business

If you want to attract more customers and generate increased interest in your products, customer reviews can be extremely beneficial for small businesses. Reviews help engage and entice potential customers who use them to determine which businesses to interact with. Indeed, 87 per cent of consumers regularly read online business reviews, while 94 per cent said positive reviews make them more likely to visit a business. Reviews can provide relatable evidence to a consumer that their peers have been impressed with the quality of the experience, products, or services. Here are a few tips to help you effectively encourage customers to leave reviews for your small business.

Highlight current reviews

Customers won’t know that you want them to review your business if they don’t come across existing reviews on your website. If you make these reviews more visible, they can increase the likelihood of generating more. You could have a general reviews page for your business as a whole, or if you sell a selection of different products or services you could feature reviews and even a star-rating system on each product page. This can both encourage others to follow suit and can help shoppers as they make purchasing decisions.

To encourage reviews beyond those on your website, create business profiles on third-party sites that feature reviews, like Google, Tripadvisor or Facebook. And when you get a review that you’re proud of, shout about it on social media. By tagging the reviewer in the post, you can demonstrate their value to your business, and you might even increase the likelihood that they reshare the post to their social networks.

Make it easy to leave reviews

The Spiegel Research Centre found that displaying reviews can increase conversions by 270%. It’s key, therefore, to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave reviews. Don’t make them search too hard to find the right place; create a page on your website that clearly explains how and where to provide feedback. Include links to the pages and platforms where you’d like to generate reviews, whether that’s to your product pages or to third-party sites.

To encourage customers to leave reviews, consider an incentive or call to action that rewards them once they leave their feedback. If, for example, you offer a customer loyalty program, you could offer rewards points or discounts to those who do so.

Engage with reviews – positive or negative

Over half of customers expect a business to respond to their online reviews within a week. Negative reviews can escalate, so it’s important to check your review pages frequently and provide solutions when necessary. Plus, responding to negative reviews demonstrates that your small business actually reads and considers the feedback, and values those who leave it. Mistakes can happen, and poor reviews are inevitable from time-to-time, but most can be quickly and easily resolved.

Engaging with all types of reviews shows customers that you’re not only interested in dealing with negative feedback, but that you genuinely care about your community and appreciate their thoughts about your business. By simply saying thanks, ‘liking’ a post when it includes feedback or sharing a positive review on your website or social media, you can actively encourage more customers to leave feedback on their experience. This type of word of mouth can be crucial for a small business.

Growing your business doesn’t always require a big idea or more investment. The time and energy invested in encouraging customers to leave reviews about your business can be well worth it. When effective, positive reviews can provide greater visibility, incentivise loyalty and give your small business recognition from new and existing customers.