How to get online reviews for your small business in 2023? Here are the 10 simplest and most effective ways to get online reviews for your small business.
Did you know that 93% U.S consumers read online reviews before making a purchase? That’s a number that just can’t be ignored.
In this piece, I’ll be covering:
- Where to collect online reviews.
- And how to collect online reviews.
If those are things you’d wish to learn, let’s get started.
Keep “Honesty” your #1 priority
Before we start, you need to pay special attention here.
Most of the tips here involve “asking” for reviews. At times, rewards and payments are involved as well.
Paying for reviews obviously doesn’t sound good. Well, we’ve go to make it not sound bad.
So, whenever you ask for a review, using any of the modes mentioned below, make sure you mention “honest review” so you do not hurt your products’ integrity.
You’ve got to outline that you only seek a “review” and not a “positive review”. It can be negative if the user/buyer isn’t satisfied with the product.
This has additional benefits. Those who get your review request will now trust your reviews more as they’ll know that the reviews, despite being incentivized, are still honest.
Moreover, posting or asking for “fake” reviews is a crime. So by sticking to “honest” reviews, you also avoid legal hassles.
Signup at business review sites
Before you use the tactics I’ve shared, you need a place where users can review you, right?
It’s important to get reviews, but, it’s more important to get these reviews at places where people “see” them.
I mean sure the most logical place to get these online reviews seems like your website. But, not everyone interested in your product will go to your website to check the reviews, will they?
So, which are the places people check for product reviews?
The most obvious choice is Google, for multiple reasons. First, it’s for “any and all products/services”. You can be a multi-million dollar company, or an individual offering plumbing services, Google lets you list your business and get reviewed.
Then, it’s free. It’s also extremely easy to setup. Finally, those who wish to leave you reviews can do so with ease as well.
It’s also the most “feature-rich” free online review platform.
Meaning, you can respond to user reviews directly. You can also list your menu, timings, pricing and even contact information. If you list a number, Google will let users call you directly. This may help boost sales.
You can even add your logo and photos so customers get a better idea of the product, without even going to your Website.
Then, there’s detailed insights. You get to learn what keywords lead people to your listing. This can even be used to improve your SEO.
It also shows you insights for your call button, bookings and lot more.
And then, Google has its own reward system. Users get ranked higher and get other rewards when they review a business on Google. This is like Google working for you, for free. Worth it, isn’t it?
Yelp is arguably one of the biggest, most-used online review platforms on the planet. With over 200million hits/month, it’s one of the biggest exposures your small business can get.
(That screenshot is from Semrush. You simply enter your competitors’ URL, it gives you their traffic, primary traffic sources, ads, ad-spend, best-selling products and everything else).
It too, alike Google Business is for any and all business. Regardless of your product industry or service type, you can get listed and be reviewed on Yelp.
Some other places to get your small business listed:
- TripAdvisor: This isn’t for all business types but more for the “travel” industry. If you own a hotel, restaurant, or provide vacation pages TripAdvisor is worth your time.
- YellowPages: This is another massive review directory. It has global presence and is suitable for any and all business types. Hospitality, travel, finance, medical and basically every other type of small business can be found listed here.
- Amazon/Facebook: Obviously, if you sell your product on Amazon or Facebook, try to redirect all the above steps to those platforms.
Let’s work on “getting” those reviews in then?
Include a review card (gift cards) + rewards
Your small business must be selling something. A very effective way to get reviews is “incentivise” them. This also is one of the simplest ways to get reviews.
You can include a small “review card” with your products when you ship them (or deliver them online).
The card/ or graphic (for online deliveries) can tell your buyers to post a review. Here’s an example (no actual rewards involved).
(You can use a graphic design tool to create something like the card above in seconds. Then, either print & ship it or just attach it to your e-mails).
For every review, you can offer a small cashback/bonus or just direct money.
Ask users to share a screenshot and link of the online review they’ve posted over e-mail/social media or any other medium.
Once you get the screenshot, you can pay your users depending on what you’ve promised.
This actually can help you rake up your sales as well. If you choose to reward users with “X% discount on next order”, they’re more likely to make a second purchase.
Because only “buyers” get a review card, all your reviews will be legit and from people who’ve used the product. This also improves the quality of the reviews instead of people just saying “cool product”.
I’m sure this is something you’re already aware of. In fact, I’ve got dozens of friends who Youtube for a living.
Companies very frequently ship out “review units”. These Youtubers get the devices/products for free.
The device/product may or may not be returned depending on whatever your policy is.
Now, the reviews may or may not be positive but you’ll definitely increase the number of reviews you have.
More importantly, Youtube is a “visual” platform. The viewers of the review get a much better idea of your product than reading a text-review somewhere.
Basically, almost every tip on this piece was in some way a “sponsored review”. You’re paying/incentivising your users/customers to write you a review.
Something else you can do is:
- Go to Google and search for “Best [your product] in [your country]”. E.g. “Best plant pesticide in Australia.
- Pick the top 20 results.
- Send them an e-mail asking them to include your brand on the list.
- You’ll probably have to pay them depending on the position you want on the list.
You can also request “individual reviews”. As in, “[Your Product review] to be published on their website. This would give you exposure to the website’s established user-base.
Another benefit is when a user searches for [Your product reviews] on Google, they’ll see these individual reviews which, if positive, may boost your sales.
Send out e-mails [that work]
This is the most basic but one of the most effective answers to the question- how to get online reviews for your small business.
Whatever small business you own, you’ve probably had a few sales already. Chances are, you also have an e-mail list from all the previous buyers.
You can just use Engagebay or Hubspot for automation, or send out e-mails manually. Ask your previous buyers to leave you a review and maybeinclude a discount code?
You can also use special days to do this. If you’ve a database of the user’s birthdays, those work the best.
Send them a birthday wish, and a discount code. Then, ask them to leave a review “if they want to”. In this case, the discount code shouldn’t be tied to the review, they should get it regardless of them leaving or not leaving you a review.
If you don’t have a birthday database, use special religious/social occasions. Christmas, 4th of July are some days that can work in your favour.
Make the process “easy” for them
Getting people to leave you a review is only part of the equation. The other part of the equation is to make the process easy for them, so they don’t quit the process mid-way.
There are a couple ways you can do that.
- On your review cards, outline the steps to review your product/service.
- Shorten your review URL. It can be your Google review URL, Yelp URL or any other link. Just go to bit.ly, and create a user-friendly URL. Something like bit.ly/[yourbrandreview]
- You can also create QR codes directly to your review site/page/URL.
Provide good product/services
Yes, I know, this is basic. Probably too basic. But the core of any business is its products and services.
Strive to provide the best possible product or service you can. If you blow your buyer’s mind, they’ll leave reviews without you even asking for it.
If the product/service isn’t good, you’ll still earn reviews, just not the kind you’d like.
Monetize your after-support moments
For whatever product/service you’re offering, I hope you’ve got a support team available? It can be a pre-sale team, technical team or any other kind of support you provide.
This is your one direct mode of communication with your customers.
Start by providing the best support possible .This helps you increase your brand value by default.
However, when the support session ends, that’s your opportunity. Considering you did good with the support, send your review request.
It can be as simple –
“Hey [user name], we immensely value your business. If you’re satisfied with our product/service, would you please spare 10 seconds to leave us a review? Simply click here (your review page link) and write away. Please be honest, we welcome both positive as well negative reviews.
Obviously this wouldn’t work 100% of the times, but, even if only 10% of users leave reviews, that’s 10% more than you would normally get, right?
Share reviews you’ve received on your social media
I hope you already have social media pages for your business, don’t you?
When you receive a review, share it on your social media. Even the negative ones and ask your followers to share their reviews.
This serves two purposes. First, users feel validated. Whoever left the comment, probably follows you on your social. Even if they don’t, those who see you sharing the review will know their reviews matter.
You can also ask users to share your posts (containing their reviews) on their social media. If they do, that’s another potential lead pipeline that you can bend in your favour, isn’t it?
How “not” to get online reviews for your small business
I’ll keep it simple, never do these, period:
- Force reviews: Never spam your client-base asking for reviews. No direct calls or unsolicited e-mails without “context”. (This is why we used “birthdays” and special days as context to mail your users above).
- Never offer direct money or benefits for “good reviews”: You may think “Hey, I’ll give you $5 for a 5-star review” is a good idea. It’s not. It negates any and all other legit reviews you may have on your website + it’s not even legal.
- No “inexperienced” reviews: Whenever you get a review, always send a test sample, free trial or review unit. Asking for reviews from users who haven’t actually used your product will kill your brand on multiple fronts.
Feature your clients on your ads/promotions
People generally like to contribute only if their contributions get enough traction, right? If you can give them the traction, you’ll generate online reviews, period.
Now, how exactly can you give your clients the spotlight they want and probably deserve?
- Run ads. Send out emails/ posts on your social media asking users to review your product. Asking them for “video” reviews may work as well. Let them know you’ll use these in your ads. Their reviews suddenly matter more than a review on a third-party site, and this just may get them interested.
- Ads aren’t the only way to do this. You can ask your clients to send a photo/video review which you’ll use on your normal promotions. These can be on your website, as a graphic on third-party websites or somewhere else.
Host a contest
Contests have been one of the biggest conversion-tools since the medieval ages, right? Everyone wants to be the “winner”.
You can host a very simple contest where users are asked to leave “honest” online reviews for you.
You can then “randomly” (so as to not reward only positive reviews) pick 3-5 reviewers and reward them.
Another contest can be a “race”. Let’s say you announce $5 reward (Amazon voucher/ cashback on next order or something else) to the first X people who leave you a review.
This creates a sense of urgency + the will to “win”. Works well as your users wouldn’t know if the “X” number of reviews has been met or there’s still space left!
What contests do for you is you only pay 3-5 people, while generating hundreds of reviews for your brand/product!
You can use something as simple as free Google Forms to receive entries. Users can leave a URL of their review here, along with their e-mails. Simply create the form and share the link on your social media.
Or, you can use something ultra-advanced, such as Gleam. The app lets you host contests and monitor entries, rewards users, verify the users’ contributions and a lot more.
Take action and then get it validated
This is more like a business strategy than an answer to “how to get online reviews for your small business”. Doing this ultimately gets you more sales, respect and returning customers.
When you receive reviews, a number of them would be negative. Filter out those negative reviews which have a problem that can be “solved”. E.g. better packaging, faster shipping and so on.
Then, fix that issue.
Once the issue is fixed, share the review, your solution and proof of what you did on your social media + e-mail lists.
You can even create an entire blog post about it. You can then promote the blog post using a number of tactics.
Point is, when users notice how their reviews are actually shaping your company, they’re more likely to leave you a review.
In fact, some may try your product solely so they can suggest how to make it better!
Install popup widgets on your website
This is a simple but pretty effective technique to get free reviews.
I hope you have a website for your small business? If you do, you can create an attractive popup widget for your website. You can use an advanced small business CRM to do this.
It’s best to show it to people who’ve either purchased your products, and/or have spent a long time on your page.
Simply ask them for a review. It’s just another intersection where you can meet your users and may win yourself a review.
In return, you can offer e-books, guides, priority support or something else if you feel like it.
Final words- How to get online reviews for your small business?
I hope you now have at least some idea on how to get online reviews for your small business, don’t you?
If you follow maybe just 4-5 of the techniques listed above, chances are you’ll be grabbing yourself a few hundred reviews.
Obviously, this list isn’t ultimate. You’re free to come with more creative ways to get people to review you. However, it sure is start, isn’t it?
Go on then, try these out considering you now know how to get online reviews for your small business.