Never discount the power of a personal testimony or recommendation. In today’s digital world, online reviews matter a great deal, especially for small business. Research from different companies shows that up to 90% of customers admit that positive reviews heavily influence their purchasing decisions.
That means your small business should be doing everything possible to harvest positive online reviews. While it may be inevitable for someone to have a bad day at your expense and share it online, the best way to counter a bad review is with a host of good ones. One bad review among dozens of positive ones will usually be attributed to a negative consumer and not necessarily to your business.
So, in order to harvest as many positive online reviews as possible, here are five proven tips.

Ask for Online Reviews

This may seem obvious, but it isn’t. Too many small businesses are bashful about coming out and asking for a review. Stop that nonsense. It’s true that most people only leave online reviews when they really love – or really hate – a product or service. But you can gather more positive online reviews by simply asking for your patrons’ feedback and pointing them to where to do it. Signs, notes on menus, and verbally asking clients for a review are all acceptable ways to ask.

Offer Incentives

It is perfectly acceptable to offer incentives to clients who leave an online review. Some discourage offering discounts for reviews, but it is perfectly legitimate to offer a discount regardless of whether the review was good, bad, or mediocre. Your discount offer is for feedback that helps you do better at your business; so, don’t be ashamed to offer a discount for feedback. You can also use social media contests and online voting to obtain feedback and reviews, and offer prizes to randomly selected participants. A chance to win great prizes is always a popular incentive.

Give Plenty of Opportunities

Do everything possible to make it easy for clients to leave reviews. Provide reminders and actual links to review sites in all your communications. Integrate a star, logo, or emoji rating function on order confirmation pages and follow-up emails. Also, make sure that you’ve got a visible profile on popular review sites. Yelp, Google Local, Yahoo, and Trustpilot are major review hubs you should be on.

Leverage Social Media

Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are great for engaging directly with your customers – and for your customers to engage with each other. Start a conversation among your followers by asking them a question about one of your products or services. The key with social media is engagement, so make sure you have a good social media management strategy in place.

Publish All Online Reviews

If you want to encourage honest reviews, and more positive ones, display all your reviews publicly online. Create a testimonials page and show the good and the bad. Showing all your reviews establishes your credibility as an honest small business owner looking to improve. Customers will appreciate your honesty and usually give you the benefit of the doubt over any negative reviews.
With these tips you can generate real conversations about your product, which can potentially attract new customers to your business. Give these five tips a try and see if your online reviews increase. Also, if you discover other ways to encourage online reviews, share them with our readers in the comments below.

About the Author: Donna Amos

I believe you can achieve anything you truly want to achieve. “It might sound trite, but time and time again, I’ve seen it happen with my clients. They overcome the fear of exposing themselves to the possibility of failure to creating profitable exciting businesses. My clients do great work, and sometimes it only takes someone else believing in them to give them the confidence to step out and take the chance.”