Word of mouth marketing is, by far, one of the best ways to market your small business. Why? People trust other people more than they trust any other form of marketing or advertisement. When it comes to digital marketing, the same is true. Online reviews (sites such as Yelp, Google My Business, and Yellow Pages) are the most powerful form of word of mouth marketing there is.
According to BrightLocal, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. However, people rarely schedule time out of their day to review a business online. That's why I'm revealing the top four ways you can persuade satisfied customers to leave glowing reviews about your business.
1) Let them know it'll only take a minute to review your business.
These days, people have extremely limited time. Any free time that they do have, they probably aren't spending writing a review online. That's why the first key to getting them to write the review in the first place is to convince them that it will only take them a minute to complete. Chances are, if they were satisfied with your service, they'll be more than happy to give you a minute of their time.
One of the best ways to lessen the time it takes them to complete the review is to shorten the link using a custom link shortener. For example, if you want customers to leave more reviews on your Google My Business page, you could use Bitly to create "http://bit.ly/your-business-name-google-review". You can use this link everywhere from marketing materials to social media posts. This way it's not only easier for your customers to remember but you can also track clicks by adding a "+" to the end of the Bitly URL.
2) Remind them via email.
Even customers who tell you they're going to leave a review are apt to forget. That's why you should use email marketing software to trigger emails to be sent to customers after they have visited your business. This helps to remind them to leave a review.
Also, in order to maximize the chances that the customer will read the email and complete their review, don't send more than one link to a review site. Asking for more than one review means more of a time commitment and less of a chance that they'll complete it.
3) Ask them while they're waiting.
One of the easiest ways to get people to review your business is when they have downtime (i.e. they aren't occupied at the current moment). When better to ask them then when they are in your waiting room or reception area? Do this by creating a small sign that politely asks them to review your business while they wait and be sure to include the shortened Bitly link.
4) Create "review" business cards.
If you don't have a waiting area, the next best thing is to hand out business cards that specifically ask for a review. Unlike regular business cards, which are handed out before someone becomes a customer, these are handed out after you've completed your service. Sites like Moo.com make creating these custom cards very easy.