By Carla Turchetti
Our highly connected world—and the proliferation of blogs, social media platforms, and review sites—makes it easy for customers to speak their minds about the businesses they frequent. But while negative reviews get all the buzz, there are happy customers who have great things to say. We've got several tips for small business success when it comes to leveraging positive reviews. We've previously talked about keeping an eye on customer comments on review sites and Facebook, and about responding to bad reviews in a productive way. Now, how can you turn positive online reviews into great publicity for your business?
Good Reviews = Good Value
It matters when a customer takes the time to go online and share a good experience. "Thanks to Yelp, I've carved out an entire niche business for curly hair because of two reviews initially posted by clients," reports Sarah Kelly, owner of P3 Hair Design in suburban Minneapolis. "Yelp has been a boon to the SEO of my website and now through its association with Apple, Siri directs clients to my shop because of the five-star reviews." Kelly says having the search engines find her positive reviews through review sites and Facebook has been a cost-effective method of bringing in new business. "More traditional methods have had a relatively low ROI," Kelly says. "Flyers, mailers, social coupons have not really been a value for my time."
How Do You Get Good Reviews?
Irate customers may be quick to tap out a review, but how do you get happy customers to do the same? "My website directs clients to 'like' us on Facebook for discounts," Kelly says. "In today's world you have to ask people to give reviews," says Bruce Wedding, founder of Thumbs Up or Down, a reputation management company.
Wedding says that doesn't mean offering a deal for customers who post a review, because that will be posted about as well (and is generally considered unethical). He suggests putting posters by the cash register of a brick-and-mortar business with a QR code that takes customers to a landing spot for their reviews. If you can bank good reviews, that will offset the occasional inevitable bad review."If you have a ratio of better than four to one, positive to negative," Wedding says, "it is going to be okay." Why not use some positive reviews in your email marketing campaign?