Online reviews are the bread and butter of a business’ online reputation.
All businesses — no matter what industry they are in or what size they are — need reviews. Why? Because people read them!
In the days of yesteryear, when someone needed to hire an electrician to help them deal with a flickering light, or, even when someone just wanted to find a great restaurant to eat at to celebrate a special occasion, the first thing they’d do is ask a friend, coworker, or family member for their recommendations. Barring that, the only options were the phone book (or possibly the Zagat guidebook if they were really fancy).
Personal recommendation is still the most powerful form of advertising, but, more and more, word of mouth is being replaced by online reviews. Why? These days, instead of asking for a referral, most people will start their search online.
Search engines provide people with a long list of results to sort through, and a business’ online reviews are what help to separate it from the rest of the pack. After all, how else would you distinguish between 20 plumbers who all claim to be the best at what they do?
When it comes to generating reviews, consistency pays off.
There’s a lot of anonymity online, and people want to know that they can trust a business before they take the leap to hire them. Reading reviews helps to set their minds at ease because it gives them some idea of what working with the business is like. If a business doesn’t have reviews, it may make them appear new or, to some people, possibly even fraudulent or illegitimate.
However, there’s no magic number of reviews that you can get to that makes it OK to stop generating them. Even if you have thousands of reviews, they won’t be as powerful if they were written years or even months ago. People not only want to see reviews — they want to see current reviews. They don’t care what it was like to work with your business six months ago; they want to know what it’s like to work with your business right now.
That’s why generating reviews can’t just be a one-time thing for your business. It needs to be ongoing, and it needs to be consistent. That consistency will pay off, though, as evidenced by the success of one of our clients.
An Online Reputation Management Success Story
This particular client was managing the online reputations of four different brands and 13 total locations, which is no small feat. It’s even more impressive when you know that, with the help of their Marketing Executive, Declan Clifford, and their Reputation Manager, Nolan Bauwens, they grew their review totals by more than 600 over the last year. With 600+ of them being positive and only 10 being negative, they’ve achieved a growth ratio of 60:1 positive versus negative reviews.
How did they accomplish such a feat? It’s all about consistency.
They didn’t have to bribe their patients or coerce them in some way to get reviews, and they didn’t have to resort to writing fake reviews on their own or hiring someone else to do so. They achieved great results the right way because of their unique email campaign, which directed their patients to their listings on review sites they wanted to focus on growing — specifically, Google, Facebook, and Top Rated Local®. They also set the expectation when patients were still in their office that they should expect to get a follow-up email after their visit, setting the stage for success.
What this online reputation management success story shows us is that there’s no magic solution to building an online reputation and earning reviews — it’s all about finding what works and being consistent. This client got incredible results over the long-term; it didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t for you either. But, if they had let the ball drop or even just eased off the pedal at any point, they might not be where they are today.
Another lesson we can learn from this success story is the power of simply asking for reviews. There are so many ways that you could go about generating reviews for your business, but, as you can see, it doesn’t have to be complicated — all you have to do is ask.
When you provide great service — or in this client’s case — great patient care, it’s a fantastic first step toward earning reviews, but here’s the thing, most people won’t write them on their own. It’s not because they don’t care; they just don’t understand what a difference a good review can make for a business. But, when you take the time to ask for feedback — and even better, when you let them know exactly where to leave that feedback — you’ll find that the vast majority of people will be more than willing to write a review for your business.
When it comes to your business’ online reputation, almost nothing is more important than reviews. If there’s anything you take away from this success story, remember that consistency pays off when it comes to generating reviews, so don’t give up on your efforts to get more reviews for your business! And, if you’re unsure about how to do so, we’ve got an incredible reputation management team on our side that can help.