As most business owners know, having your customers or clients give you a referral is pure gold. When people research a company or product, they want to hear from a real, live person regarding their unbiased opinion of your company. While it would be nice if you could commit each customer to talking to 20 of their friends about you, chances are they are only going to refer you to a few of their friends at most. What you need is the power to harness that one person’s positive outlook and feed it to the masses.
While many people would not trust a stranger on their doorstep, they will trust a stranger in online reviews. The anonymity of the Internet leads many people to believe that the opinions and reviews shared are untainted and unbiased. In fact, according to a 2012 Forrester study, nearly one third of online consumers trust strangers over a brand. In a 2013 study by Bright Local, researchers discovered that nearly 85 percent of customer read online reviews before hiring a wedding planner, purchasing accounting practice management software, or trying out a new restaurant. Online reviews give power to strangers to sway public opinion in your favor. They also have other important online benefits to offer.
The Community Pecking Order
When a potential customer searches online for local products and services, the pecking order of sites that show up is established in large part due to the number of quality, positive reviews. Unless you want to risk your business site being buried in the online oblivion, reviews need to be a major goal for your business or practice management strategy. Linking your contact information and web site to review sites also offers increased traffic perks. The trick is in knowing how to garner these reviews for your company.
Ask Not, Want Not
There is a simple way to get positive reviews online ― ask for them. As part of your business or practice management plan, you need to establish a way to reach out to individual clients and ask them for positive reviews. If you own a gourmet drink stand, you could have a sign next to the check stand with recommended places for reviews. If you sell a product online, like practice management software or made-to-order flower arrangements, organize a way for a link to pop up at the end of the transaction that offers to take them to one of those sites for a review. Really savvy companies will draw in reviewers with discounts and deals as incentives for filling out positive reviews.
Make It Easy
There are two key factors that will determine if someone takes the time to give you a review ― convenience and desire. Whatever approach you decide to take, make it as easy as possible for your busy customers to give you online reviews. As you reach out to customers, let them know the important role they play in the future of your business. This will make them feel empowered and invested in your cause.
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