5 Ways to Generate More Online Customer Reviews

Nov 5, 2011

As customers more and more rely on the Internet to find and research the brick-and-mortar shops they want to do business with, making sure your current customers are writing online reviews of your shop is key to bringing in new business.

How can you make sure your best customers are telling their online community about you?

The upcoming holiday season is a great time to encourage your customers to do just that, according to a recent Small Business Trends article by Lisa Barone. In the article, Barone, co-founder and chief branding officer at Outspoken Media, Inc. an SEO consulting firm, shared five tips for encouraging customers to write those online reviews.

1. Create Holiday Incentives.

“If you’re not already in the habit of providing incentives to customers who offer you site testimonials or reviews, start now,” Barone wrote. “No, you can’t promise someone a discount if they leave you a positive review on Yelp, but you can throw a comment card in with their purchase and offer a discount or promotional item for filling it out and bringing it back completed.”

2. Conquer Mobile.

“[Y]ou want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to make a mobile commerce purchase [and] you want to be encouraging customers to leave FourSquare tips, to check in on their devices, to leave reviews on Yelp while they’re still in your store, etc.,” Barone wrote. “Not only do you want to capture the people who are already making mobile purchases at your business, but you want to convert the ones still on the fence, as well.”

3. Hold a Holiday Event.

“You can promote the event as a holiday thank-you to your loyal customers and let them know they may also be featured in promotional materials for your website,” Barone wrote. “Once they’re there, ask for their feedback, take photos, get video interviews and ask for permission to use it on your website or in promotional materials.”

4. Hold a “Why Do You Love Us?” Contest.

“Again, you can’t give customers free stuff in exchange for good reviews, but you can take advantage of the season’s playfulness by asking customers to participate in some kind of brand-related challenge,” Barone wrote. “Maybe it’s a video contest where you ask customers to explain what they love most about your brand or to submit the best photo of your product in use. Not only are you allowing people to share their love for your brand, but you also get some great content to put on your site and add to your testimonials.”

5. Ask.

“As business owners, we’re sometimes leery of asking customers to leave reviews because it feels like solicitation,” Barone wrote. “We must remind ourselves that leaving reviews isn’t yet a natural act for most people. And until it is, we need to remind people to do it.”

To read the complete Small Business Trends article, click here.