Online Reviews: Why They Matter And How To Get Them

15 April 2016
In the online world of cowboys, scams and untrustworthy businesses, online reviews for businesses are becoming more powerful by the day. In today’s article I’m going to show just how important online reviews are and how you can get them.

But who really reads online reviews?    

I do, and 88% of consumers have said to trust an online review just as much as a personal recommendation. A Bright Local study found that most consumers make up their mind about a business from reading their online reviews: online reviews So it’s quite evident that reviews are important to any business, but how do you get them?

Set up profiles on all the major review websites

To get positive reviews you need to have an online profile on a popular platform that allows businesses to create profiles and for customers to leave reviews. Sites include:
  • TripAdvisor
  • Google +
  • Yahoo! Local
  • Yelp
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
Join review sites most relevant to your business or the sites you use the most. I personally recommend everyone to join Yelp, Google + and Facebook as they are the most used and typically rank on the first page of Google for when someone searches your business on Google. You will only need to focus on 2-3 platforms – anything more and it may get hard to manage. Okay, so you’ve got yourself a platform(s) to get reviews, how do you get customers to leave them?

By asking them!

Really, it’s as simple as that. So many businesses offer a great service and have great relationships with customers but fail to ask them to leave an online review. There’s many ways you can ask, such as: In person – after you’ve concluded a deal or they’ve used your service, politely ask them to review you on any of your online profiles. Thank you card/invoice – After staying at a locally owned hotel, upon checkout I was given my final invoice and a special letter inside an envelope. The letter told me they enjoyed serving me as a customer and if I could leave an honest review on TripAdvisor with details on how to find them. I wouldn’t have left a review if it wasn’t for that card. Encourage employees to ask – you should train your sales and customer service team to understand the importance of positive reviews. After dealing with customers to a satisfactory ending, they should ask them to leave an online review when they get the chance. Email – Having links to your review platforms in thank you/order conformation emails can really increase the amount of reviews customers leave.

Make leaving reviews easy

People are busy and they while many are more than happy to leave local businesses a positive review, you have to make it easy for them. If you manage an email list, after you’ve done business with a customer send them links to all your online profiles where they can leave a review after clicking a single button. If you’re using print material, then clearly write out the URL so they can find you right away. Have a website? Then place one-click buttons for customers to leave reviews.

Should you buy positive reviews?

Buying 10 fake 5 star reviews is a lot easier and faster than receiving genuine reviews, and there’s no guarantee that these organic reviews will all be positive. But you still shouldn’t pay for fake reviews and here’s why. First of all, you’re fooling potential customers and it is not a sustainable way to win customers by lying. Secondly, websites like Amazon and Google (see here and here) have amazing spam detection tools and will find out if your reviews are legitimate or not. These fake reviews can see your company being removed from each site and even harm your organic SEO efforts.


Getting positive online reviews is easy. You simply have to:
  1. Offer a great product or service
  2. Create profiles on websites that allow reviews
  3. Encourage customers to leave reviews
  4. Make it easy for them to do so.
And that’s it. Having a few more positive reviews over your competitor is sometimes all the convincing a new prospect needs to pick your business over theirs.

Vicky Etherington

Vicky Etherington has been running her own online marketing agency since 2003, and in 2015 transitioned to working with coaches and therapists to teach them how to create their own client-attracting websites. 

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