How many times have you looked at a company’s reviews before giving them your business? If you’re anything like me, it’d be a lot. You want to make sure that what you’re buying is worthy of your time and your money. And reading reviews play a big part in the decision-making process.
But don’t take my word for it though. Here’s what the research tells us:
- When browsing for local businesses, 76% of consumers read online reviews.
- 49% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations.
- In 2022, 95% of consumers either left an online review or considered leaving one.
Reputation building, brand awareness, boosting SEO, and aiding in the buying decision — these are all reasons why gathering reviews are an important part of your marketing strategy. But how do you quickly and easily gather positive reviews for free?
Continue reading to learn how to implement a super simple strategy for gathering business reviews.
How to Gather More Reviews
A spreadsheet and your email are all you need. Here are 3 easy steps to get you on your way to gathering more reviews.
1. Determine Your Champions
Your champions are your current or previous clients who are on your side. They're the people who brag about you to others. The ones that send client referrals your way. The ones who are extremely happy with your work (and have most likely sent you a thank you email recently).
These are the people you want reviews from.
To generate a list of your champions, send a quick email out to the members of your team asking them to brainstorm people who would give you a good review. This includes asking representatives from your sales department, customer service department, marketing team, and c-suite members.
We recommend putting together a simple spreadsheet to house all of these names (as I’m sure you have a lot). Here’s what you’re spreadsheet should look like:
Type of Review Request
Did they submit a review?
Let’s go through a few of these columns.
First name, last name, company name:
You know, so you can keep track of who you need to ask. 😉
Type of Review Request:
There are multiple review platforms available — Google, Facebook, Yelp, Capterra, G2 Group — and a ton of industry specific sites that may be good for your business. Wherever your prospects are searching for you, that’s where you should be asking for a review.
At 1 Bold Step, we ask for both Google and HubSpot reviews. We ask for a Google review from our strategic marketing plan and fractional marketing clients. Because we’re a HubSpot partner, we also ask for HubSpot reviews after helping a client integrate with or migrate to HubSpot.Tip: If your customer base is limited, start with one or two sites to gather reviews on instead of trying to add them to too many platforms.
This is the person who will be requesting the review from your client. Typically, this will be the “contact owner” or someone who has a relationship with the person you are requesting a review from. We’ll talk more about this in the next session, “Craft a Message.”
This is the date you asked your contact for a review. You may be wondering why this is important to have.
For starters, you’ll want to make sure you don’t send too many review requests too close together (jump to the “Send it Out” section for the reason why).
Second, you might have to send a quick reminder email if the person you asked didn’t submit a review for your company. Having the date here allows you to determine when you should politely ask again to see if they’d be willing to give you a positive review.
Did they Submit a Review?:
This column is so you can keep track of who you’ve already asked for a review from and if they submitted it.
Creating this simple spreadsheet will help you stay organized and on track to getting more reviews for your business.
2. Craft a Message
Don’t overthink this. Just remember that your email should be personal (hence why you want to send it from the “contact owner”) and full of gratitude. After all, you’re asking your champions for a favor.
Here’s a template email to get you started:
Hi [First Name],
I wanted to take the time to thank you for being a customer and valued partner of [Insert your company’s name]. We are so grateful that you've entrusted us with [insert what you’ve helped them with].
I’m wondering if you would take a moment and give us a quick Google review. It would be a huge help to highlight the work we’ve done, or share a success story we’ve had.
You can go here to write a review: [Insert link to write a review]
I appreciate your feedback and help!
[Your signature line here]
Because the people you are asking for a review should already be your champions, most of the time a nice personalized email will do the trick.
3. Send it Out
Once you’ve crafted your message, the person who has the closest relationship with your champion will want to send out the request email. We recommend sending it directly from your work email.
When should you send your review request out?
According to the Harvard Business Journal, “Customers often need time to evaluate a product or think about their experience with it before they decide to post a review. If they’re asked to provide a review too early, they can feel pressured and rushed, and they might opt not to send in a review at all.”
But here’s the catch — you should only send a few review requests out at a time. Don’t ask every single person on your spreadsheet for a review on the same day.
Why? Review engines like Google are smart. They’ll think something fishy is going on if you get too many reviews at once and could potentially mark them as spam — causing them never to be posted.
Yes, it could be tedious to stagger your review requests but the pros far outweigh the cons (plus you can use that awesome review email template above to streamline your process).
What should I do after I get a review?
Don’t just let it sit there! That’s like someone complimenting you and you not responding (awkward 😬).
Try to always post a public comment on the review from your company’s account. In fact, research done by BrightLocal found that 55% of consumers felt positive after seeing a business owner respond to a review.
Be personable and thank them.
Here’s an example:
Hi [first name], thank you so much for writing this kind and thoughtful review! We greatly appreciate the feedback and are looking forward to continued success with the team at [insert company name].
Of course, you should customize this comment for each person who submitted a review (the goal here is to not sound like a robot). However, the example above should get you started.
After you’ve responded, consider whether the review given should be reused elsewhere in your marketing strategy. Can you turn it into a case study? Can you add it to your website? Can you post it on social media? Can you include it in your sales deck?
The possibilities are endless, but at the very least, make sure you say thank you.
But what if I get a bad review?
By creating your champion review spreadsheet, we’re hoping you can avoid asking not-good-fit customers for a review. But that’s not to say that bad reviews still won’t happen.
So, what do you do if you get a bad review?
- Take it seriously. The person who left the bad review took the time to call an issue to your attention. This should be something that is addressed with your team and even upper management to determine a resolution.
- Comment on it. This is your opportunity to make things right. Offer empathy and sincerity in your response.
- If the online conversation negatively continues, try encouraging the reviewer to get on a personal phone call with a company manager. This can help you get a clear understanding of the situation and provides an opportunity for both you and the reviewer to come up with a solution. It also allows for empathy and sincerity to shine through the conversation (sometimes better than a written response can do).
Keep in mind, these are just a few of the best practices. Not all reviews will fit into this response recommendation. Each review is unique and should be handled as such.
It’s time to aim for the (5) stars!
Now that you have a foundation for creating a list of your champions, crafting your review ask emails, and sending them out, you’re well on your way to generating those 5-star reviews — and lots of them.For more great marketing tips, click here to subscribe to our blog notifications.