One of our clients is a long-time friend of mine in Boulder, Colorado who owns The Beauty Spot. We have many mutual friends who are her clients. So when we were discussing the topic of online reviews and how it’s just so hard to get folks to actually take a few minutes to write a review, I got what I thought was a brilliant idea: I’d reach out to 5 of our mutual friends to reach out personally, verbally, to ask them to write a review for The Beauty Spot. I’d try the “Could you do me a personal favor” tactic. Sounds pretty sweet, right? For sure we’d get some reviews coming in.

Step 1: So out of a list of 10 friends, I picked 5 that I could just pick up the phone and contact. Each person responded enthusiastically: “Oh I LOVE the Beauty Spot! Of Course!” and “I can’t believe I haven’t already done this!!” and so on.

Step 2: Wait for these friends to write the review for their FRIEND after saying (promising to me) they would do it.

It’s been 3 months and exactly ZERO out of 5 of these reviews has been written. Ugh. What do I have to do? Offer a reward or something?

Getting Online Reviews is Not Easy

People are just too busy. There’s too much noise. Life is so fast and cluttered. Even the most well-meaning friends forget to write a review or think maybe they already did or whatever. It’s just not “important enough” in our busy lifestyles. So remember that when soliciting for reviews. We’ve got great strategies to get online reviews – some of which have proven successful – from perfectly timed customized personal email requests to handwritten letters sent in the mail. Some businesses bribe their customers or offer some sort of incentive and this starts getting into murky waters since that practice skews the request towards writing a “Postitive” review rather than an “Honest” Review.

Lot’s of research has been done and there’s a reason most reviews are either 5 Stars or 1 Star – YOU MADE A STONG IMPRESSION – Either positively or negatively. And so I come back to my current bottom-line thinking: You MUST make a strong impression to inspire your customers to write an online review.

How to get a Ton of Reviews

Just knock their socks off! Be extraordinary. It’s that simple. If you scoop ice cream – Surprise a few folks by not charging them or upgrade it to a sundae for free. Just say, “It’s on the house today!” All your extra effort, time, and cost of wowing your customers should be considered an “investment” into building a thrilled customer base who are inspired by you. This is marketing. You could also focus on your product or service and make it the most awesome thing available. Inspire folks to write you incredible reviews. Before they write one, they’ll tell 3 friends about you. Your business will rank higher online and you’ll get more customers. Keep wowing your new customers, and your business will thrive. You’ll never have to solicit a review again.

Jeffrey has consulted for thousands of small business owners over the past 12 years as a Local Search nerd. His opinions can sometimes be quite impassioned. Bighorn Local SEO is his latest successful agency venture based out of Sisters, Oregon and Portland, Oregon, which offers unique subscription SEO services. Bighorn Local SEO also designs websites, logos, and print media and strives to create great success for local business owners across the country.

Jeffrey Magner

Bighorn Local SEO