Local listing sites like Google Places, Yelp, and Yahoo Local have become the new way people find what they’re looking for in their area. The power of reviews on these sites has become increasingly important for driving new customers and smart business owners are figuring out numerous ways to encourage more positive reviews on these very influential sites. To learn more about the importance of local listings, check out my post Why Local Listings are Crucial for Your Small Business.
If you want to start getting more positive reviews for your small business online, start with this list of easy-to-do tasks:
1. Provide Stellar Service – Yes, it’s a no-brainer of sorts, but the first and best way to get positive reviews on any of these sites is to make sure you are providing the best and most memorable customer experience possible to each and every one of your customers. You can do all the other things on this list and it won’t get you any reviews if you don’t give your customers something good to talk about.
2. Ask for Reviews – Ok, so some of these sites actually discourage you from asking your customers for reviews outright. That being said, since all of them don’t have this policy, I feel the best practice is to simply ask for a “review online.” Always ask at the end of your business transaction and don’t ask for a positive review, just a review online. This way you’re encouraging folks to leave you a review on any of these sites they happen to use without influencing them to review your business one way or another.
3. Post Signage in Your Business – Imagine a tech-savvy customer of a small business who just finished having a wonderful buyer experience at your business (hopefully due to that stellar service we talked about earlier.) While they’re paying at the register, the customer sees a snazzy and colorful sign on the counter that says “Please review us on Yelp!” Do you think they would be more likely to give you a review? I think so too, so get some signage posted ASAP.
4. Put Links on Your Website – Another obvious but often-missed tactic that can drive online reviews is to post links or banners on your company website saying “Please Review Us Here”. It also serves as a good point of direction for your customers If somebody wants to leave a review but doesn’t know where to go you can simply direct them to the banner on your website which clicks through to the site of your choosing.
Do you know any other ways to get positive online reviews? Leave us a comment with your ideas and we probably will use them in a post (giving you full credit of course.)
Please read my other articles related to Local Listing Management:
In today’s marketplace, when a person wants to find a new place to get their hair done, or a pizza place, or an auto-repair shop, or any type of small business’ product or service they will more-than-likely look to the internet to find it.
Old-School Word-of-Mouth – In the “old days,” if you wanted to find the best local cheeseburger, you might ask a cab driver, or local store-owner, and this was and still is a form of “word-of-mouth” marketing.
New-School Word-of-Mouth – Today, the internet has replaced (and magnified) this marketing form with the use of several local listing websites and their respective review systems. Now, when one needs to find a new dry cleaner in a certain area, one will google it, or maybe visit yelp.com and check the reviews people have left about businesses offering a particular product or service.
So, how can a small business owner be sure their company’s marketing is taking full advantage of this new age of word-of-mouth marketing? The answer is to simply make sure you have placed or claimed your business on the following local listing websites:
All of these sites are FREE to list your company on
1. Google Places
2. Yahoo! Local
3. City Search
8. Insider Pages
The first step is to make sure your company is listed on these sites, the next step should be to drive positive reviews from your customers to these sites. Even though some of these sites don’t “encourage” you asking your customers for positive reviews, the opinion here is “Hey, we’re small business owners and we need all the help we can get to keep the lights on!”
So yes, ask, promote, and bribe your customers into leaving positive reviews for you on these and every other site they can find. Positive chatter about your company will improve your SEO but, more importantly, it will equal more business/clients/customers for your company. Be proactive, provide a quality product, encourage folks to talk about it online, and you will see a difference.