Five Ways to Generate Online Reviews

Welton Hong, Ring Ring Marketing
April 17, 2014
| Strategies & Practices, Sales & Marketing

Today’s Internet-savvy consumers make having great online reviews for your business an absolute necessity. Many people won’t even bother with a window and door business that doesn’t have several strong reviews on sites such as Angie’s List, Google or Yelp.

Obviously, it’s bad to have negative online reviews on your business; but it’s actually just as bad to have no reviews on your business. Search engines such as Google take into account how often your business has been reviewed when ranking your site against those of your local competitors. A business that’s been reviewed 50 times—even if a handful of those reviews are negative—will often rank higher than one with only a dozen reviews, even if they’re uniformly positive.
 
The reality is that you need reviews, and there are several good methods to generate them. However, it’s absolutely critical to understand one thing: Most review sites don’t want you taking a heavy hand in soliciting reviews.
 
It’s one thing—in fact, it’s the best thing—to subtly encourage happy clients to review your window and door business; it’s another to essentially bribe customers with freebies and discounts specifically tied to positive write-ups. The latter will get your business penalized or even terminated from some sites.
 
So how do you garner more reviews without running afoul of legitimate practices? Consider these suggestions:
 

1. Solicit Reviews on Your Website

 
Provide customers an easy way to review your business right there on your site. You can create a page specifically intended for reviews, with a simple form happy customers can fill out. The easier you make it for the customer, the more likely you are to get a review—particularly a positive one.
 

2. Add a Review Request to Invoices and Receipts

 
While putting the request on a printed form isn’t as user-friendly, it’s a good complementary option to soliciting reviews on your website. Also, if you use digital invoices or receipts, you can include a link that allows your customer to go straight online to fill out a review.
 

3. Put the Request in an Email

 
If you’re not already using an email list to keep in contact with customers and advise them of deals and promotions, you should be. Again, including a simple link to the review form on your website or to a popular platform such as your Google business page, Angie’s List, Yelp, etc., makes it easy for the customer. Just be sure not to spam your customers with emails, which will likely elicit negative reviews.
 

4. Increase Review Participation with Deals

 
You can run a contest that a customer can win by simply leaving a review. A coupon offer also works: Get a discount by providing a review. Once again, it’s essential that you don’t make a positive review a requirement for any incentive. Trying to “buy” positive feedback never turns out well. And it’s simply not necessary. Human nature is such that most people reviewing your business in this situation will provide positive feedback.
 

5. Simply Ask

 
When a customer tells you she loved your service, reply that you greatly appreciate the kind words, but it would also be a great help if she could provide a review of your business. If she says she’d be happy to, make the process easy by emailing a link to her—with your sincere thanks, of course.
 
 
 

Welton Hong is the founder and internet marketing director of Ring Ring Marketing, an Internet marketing firm that specializes in window and door businesses. Contact him at welton@ringringmarketing.com or 888/383-2848.