Your business operations may not be ‘business as usual’ right now due to the COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop promoting your products and services.
While there’s no denying that sales have declined in many industries, others are in a prime position to take advantage of pivots in customer behaviour, like increased content consumption, higher volume of online purchases and stronger desire to find businesses close to home.
So what do we suggest? Reaching out to customers to ask for online reviews is the #1 action we are recommending to all organizations – especially small businesses.
Rather than fade into the background because people may have slowed their buying, as a small business, you should stay visible and stay vocal.
Now is the right time to ask because it allows you to:
- Keep the channels of communication open with your customers
- Remind them that you’re still here and you offer great products and services
- Appeal to their genuine desire to support you as a small business
- Reach out when they’re less busy and have more time to write a thoughtful review
- Prepare these reviews for use once businesses open more widely, and you’re ready to go full steam ahead with your marketing
What’s next? Launch A Campaign to Gather Reviews
Online reviews matter. In fact, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would trust the opinion of a personal connection. They are increasingly significant in establishing brand trust and are a significant resource to leverage throughout your sales process. But don’t just take our word for it! Check out this infographic from reputation management tool, Broadly.
We’re guessing we’ve probably sold you on the importance of online reviews. But where do you start? How do you actually use them to help drive your business once you’ve gathered them?
Where to Focus Your Online Reviews:
Start with a few simple questions. Where are your customers? Where are your prospects? How will they find you?
Right now, customers are hyper-focused on solutions that meet two criteria – products and services that:
- They can purchase online
- Are close to where they physically are
And truthfully, these criteria were just as important prior to physically distancing, which makes it a no brainer to launch your review gathering campaign focused on a few key platforms.
Build Your Business by Leveraging Online Reviews on These Four Platforms
Each of these platforms bring a slightly different value, but they are all trusted and worthwhile.
1. Google My Business:
We know Google is the ultimate search resource to customers on the hunt – especially, when they’re looking for a local solution. And a big tip for small businesses: a focus on local SEO delivers a significant bang for your buck.
From our experience, by setting up a Google My Business account, you could be opening the floodgates for customers to find you. From there, Google allows you to send out a Google Review Link to recent and past customers.
These customer insights, coming from reputable sources, help build out layers to your brand and marketing messaging. You know what else? Checking in on your customers after they’ve completed a purchase is just good business. It shows you, as a small business, genuinely care about whether or not they’re satisfied.
Yelp is another great platform on which to request reviews. Not only is it well-recognized (and not just for restaurants!), but it’s also clearly categorized and location-based. This is helpful for the customer’s search, and also important for you, since you want to be exactly where your customers are, when they’re looking for a product or service you offer.
But what if a customer leaves a bad review? Well, this can actually be a good thing, since 68% of customers trust company reviews more when they see a mix of good and bad reviews.
3. Requesting Reviews for Your Facebook Business Page:
Another key platform to focus on building customer reviews is Facebook. Encouraging friends and recent customers to visit your business page and leave a review will help build authority on the platform and is especially important if you drive a lot of business through Facebook content and ads.
First, make sure that your Reviews Tab is showing on your business page. Then, begin building a step into your customer process where you request reviews on Facebook. This can be built into an email series following a recent purchase – or requested through page notifications or Messenger and sent to followers of your page.
Finally, consider embedding your best Facebook reviews on your website or promoting them across Facebook.
4. Leveraging LinkedIn to Share Reviews & Testimonials
Particularly for B2B and service-based business, company and employee-based reviews are powerful! Companies want to check up on the Account Director who’s about to be assigned to their business. Prospective employees want to see the profile of the staff member that perfectly embodies your company culture.
Taking the time to gather testimonials, client reviews and staff recommendations achieves the same company credibility and brand authority for prospective clients and future employees, as google reviews provides for local customer leads.
Ensure you’ve set up a LinkedIn Page for your business, and build out a strategy to tell your story there, promoting:
- Employee achievements
- Project case studies
In fact, these snack-sized statements and sound bites are compelling tools to pepper throughout ALL of your marketing materials to reinforce your value-proposition throughout the sales process. Incorporate them into your sales decks, your email signatures and your website to drive your key messages home.
Don’t overlook this prime time to reach out to current and past clients and request an honest review from them. They’ll be happy to help, and you’ll be able to leverage these reviews across your digital presence for months and months to come.