Local U Advanced: Recap of Mike Blumenthal's Optimizing Your Review Process
At Local U Advanced in March 2013, Mike Blumenthal gave a very interesting presentation on the importance of reviews. When shoppers are looking for information about your business they may be turning to sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc., and reading the reviews that others have posted about you. Sometimes people get too caught up in getting good reviews that they start over thinking the process and try to manipulate the results. Don’t do that. Ever! Instead break it back down to the most basic level and ensure your company is providing the best possible customer experience.
During his presentation, he gave an example of a jewelry store client he was working with. If you have tried to get reviews before, you know how difficult it can be to get them. I will address this later in the article. However, since Mike consistently pushed her to implement ways to get reviews from her customers, she started seeing a solid increase in sales. In this case the business owner even wrote him an email that said
“Just got a $7,700 sale. They came in after shopping at Andrews, as they read all the reviews prior and liked what they read. Thank you again Mike for the nagging………………!”.
The power of reviews are unmistakeable as a conversion factor and a ranking factor in Local SEO. How are you doing on collecting reviews for your business?
It’s a Hard Game, but Don’t Cheat
Yes it’s very difficult to get reviews and yes there are a lot of people out there manipulating this information. Don’t be one of those people. I always like to say that they may have not been caught yet, but if you cheat it will happen. This is in addition to the fact that Google and other review sites have implemented review filters and disable accounts they find are fraudulent. In fact, some of the ways Google filters reviews are:
- Duplicate Content
- URL’s in Reviews
- Semantic Filtering
- IP Address Filtering
- Industry Specificity
- Newbie Filtering
- and others!
With all of these filters, it’s important to see why you need to focus on getting REAL customer reviews. Not to mention getting reviews from active reviewers or top reviewers can carry a lot of weight.
Practical Tips for Getting Customer Reviews
Due to policy guidelines in place, you cannot motivate customers to leave reviews based on incentives. The best way to get your actual customers to leave actual reviews are to follow these tips:
- Follow up with clients immediately following a sale
- Make complaining easy for clients on your website. Customers who can easily complain are more likely to take the conversation to you rather than online review sites.
- Follow up quickly and try to resolve any of the customer’s problems
- Respond to negative reviews online publicly. I recommend trying to take the conversation offline after that.
- NEVER fake reviews
- Integrate the reviews into your sales process
How Can Customers Find These Review Sites?
Think about creating a handout for reviews. One method Mike Blumenthal suggested was to create a handout with an easy to navigate page on your website like http://www.yourwebsite.com/reviews. Add links to your business profiles on review sites here. This will make it easy for the customer to click through. Another option might be to create a customer survey. Customers who complete the survey are then redirected to one of the review pages where they can leave a public review.
Once you’re in contact with the customer, you can own up to the issue and offer a quick result. This information is also useful to management because it will allow you to fix actual problems in your business. Don’t be bitter, learn from mistakes and move forward.
Where Should You Get Reviews?
Getting reviews from multiple sources isn’t just smart, it’s necessary and also a Google Plus Local ranking factor. You should focus on getting reviews on your Google Plus Page, but also on industry related niche sites. If you’re a lawyer that could be Avvo or Lawyers.com. Also take a look at your referral traffic. Which sites are bringing the most traffic? Get reviews from there too!
All in all, getting customer reviews is not an easy process, and you should not try to manipulate it. Getting valuable customer feedback might not be the easiest thing to do, but the information provided will help you run a better business and convert more customers.