Every businessperson who needs reviews realizes that reviews are hard to get.
Why? Because, first and foremost, if you do nothing, the most likely people to review your product will be the angry consumer. For example, I have had a terrible customer service experience with Verizon, and I hate that company so much that during my copious spare time... I am thinking: angry blog post.
Contrast that with some very tasty local restaurants here in Fremont: I had dinner, it was excellent, I went home. Little emotional energy to induce me to write a review.
Angry people often write reviews. Happy people not so much.
As a business marketer, you need to change that equation.
You Don't Ask, You Don't Get: Review Marketing
So if reviews matter to you, first and foremost: ASK FOR REVIEWS. When a customers is happy (face to face), ask him or her if they would do you a HUGE FAVOR and go online to Yelp, Google+ Local, Amazon, fill-in-the-blank website, and WRITE A REVIEW.
It's like baseball: you can't get hits if you don't swing.
Other Review Ideas
- Email reminders. Email those happy customers, after the fact, and ask for a review.
- Review swaps. A little on the gray side, but actively review other businesses in your community (we are talking honest reviews here), but then mention it would be nice if they would reciprocate.
- Friends and family. Also a little gray, but perhaps your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues might review you.
- Philanthropy. Think of giving out something free (a "free" haircut for boys under 10, or girls under 10) and that positive energy gives you a little quid pro quo to ask for a positive review.
- Cheap Stuff. Think of having a very cheap product that you provide that is over the top in terms of service or quality... Again: review opportunity.
Brainstorm Review Ideas
There are many ways to nudge, cajole, beg, please, induce, incent customers to give you reviews without crossing the line to payment or buying reviews. Brainstorm a few of them, and think of those that are easiest, and most likely to get you some real reviews.
Take moment, create a list. Think out of the box: how to incent customers to review you without crossing the dark line into paid review territory.
You don't ask. You don't get.