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For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce.

Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

Relevance is critical in a digital world to attract customers.

Online reviews provide you with a fertile source of unique and frequently updated content with relevant keywords.

They’re a source of valuable market research for understanding consumers.

This paves the way to allow you to provide enhanced service to your customers, which leads to higher sales as consumers develop trust in your company.

Even negative reviews are an opportunity for growth.

They help you to monitor your word-of-mouth for customer satisfaction, and to deal with any problems.

In effect, reviews are also tools for search engine optimization (SEO).

Effective SEO means you benefit from a fertile source of keywords for improved rankings, and research for better customer service.

Obtaining reviews

To get positive reviews you must be creative and assertive to ask for them.

Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

Here are 14 tips:

1. Lay the groundwork for positive reviews. Focus on exemplary customer service.

2. If a customer seems pleased by a purchase, ask the person to write a review when they get a moment. Avoid offering discounts or other incentives.

3. E-commerce companies can request comments via e-mail.

4. In some cases, businesspeople can provide written tips on how and where to write reviews.

5. Depending on your sector, get reviews planted in the same environment as your competitors. Do your research. For instance, consider HomeStars, RateMDs, Urbanspoon or TripAdvisor.

6. Invite reviews on generic review sites: Angie’s List, Citysearch, Consumer Search, Insider Pages, Google Reviews/Local/Places/+, Yahoo! Local Listings, and Yelp.

7. Encourage reviews on Web sites that carry extra business clout, such as the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports. Note: If you decide to act on this strategy, first develop a relationship with the sites.

8. Encourage consumers to share on their social networks. There are about 300 social-sharing sites. The most prominent are Facebook and Twitter. (LinkedIn discontinued its “Products and Services” service in April, 2014.)

9. Leverage the power of sites you control. Invite customers to share on your Facebook and Twitter pages. You might even add a section for testimonials on your own Web site. While you’re at it, insert your social-media buttons, and an “AddThis” toolbar for your customers’ use.

10. Send a personal e-mail to your frequent customers inviting them to leave a review.

11. If you are in frequent contact with customers via e-mail, include links to your online review profiles in your e-mail signature.

12. If you have a monthly newsletter, include a link to your social networks, especially Google+. If you want to start a newsletter, scroll down to the “Coach’s Corner” for a link to tips.

13. Install a review station in your business with a computer or tablet to make it possible for customer to sign-in to your online profiles to leave a review. Include a feature, “Review of the month.” Extroverted consumers will be likely to leave a review.

14. If you do get a bad review, respond right away with a soft, positive tone to show the world you care about providing excellent customer service.

Finally, a caution about Google reviews — don’t focus entirely on soliciting reviews via Google. Too many Google reviews are a red flag to Google’s crawlers.

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

Marketing – Have You Considered the Potential of e-Newsletters? — There are several benefits if you include e-Newsletters in your marketing mix. The most salient is that they’re a great way to achieve top-of-mind awareness with your customers. Further, as a form of content marketing, they’re a favorite of B2B marketers.

Energize Your Customer-Loyalty Program with 6 Steps — The quickest way for established businesses to optimize revenue is to have a stellar customer-loyalty program — there are six steps you can take for repeat sales and referrals. If you’re not a great steward of your current book of business, it’s futile to look for new customers.

Make Your Blogging, Social Media and PR Work to Attract Fans — Businesspeople have discovered social media is a work in progress. It takes huge amounts of time, not only to implement innovations, but to succeed.

Want More Business? Build Trust with Consumers…Here’s How — With consumers trying to cope with information overload – you will increase sales with long-term customer loyalty – if you build trust by using best practices.

“Too many brands treat social media as a one way, broadcast channel, rather than a two-way dialogue through which emotional storytelling can be transferred.”

-Simon Mainwaring 


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.