How to Get Reviews for Your Business

Previously, good reviews might help a potential customer decide whether to purchase your product or service . . . once you’ve already done the hard work of getting that individual in the door (real or virtual).  Now with web sites and apps dedicated to company reviews, they can actually be a form publicity . . . serving as the driver that leads the potential customer to your doorstep.  So . . . how do you get reviews?  If you already have an established business and customer base, sure, reviews will just happen.  And they will help you get more customers, which will land you more reviews, and so on.  However, if you’re at the beginning stage of your journey, getting a large number of good reviews may be a little more challenging.  In that case, you can take a few steps to help speed the process along. . . .

1. Get your company listed on review web sites.

If your company isn’t already listed on Yelp (or whatever the review site is for your industry), your happy customer probably isn’t going to go to the trouble to add you . . . so lay the appropriate groundwork in advance.  Make sure you know which review web sites your customers go to and add your company along with as much additional information as you can (pictures, address, phone number, etc.).

2. Ask your customers for a review. 

I believe the most effective way to convince a happy customer to go the extra mile for your business is to personally take the time to ask for a review.  If asking in person isn’t possible and you have other contact information, send an e-mail or a text.  Be sincere and straightforward.

3. Ask again.

You don’t want to make yourself a bother, but one follow-up is completely appropriate.  Your happy customer could have had every intention of posting a review for you and simply forgot; a simple follow-up could make all the difference.  If, on the other hand, your customer never intended to write a review, ignoring two of your attempts probably won’t be too traumatic for them. 

4. Display a sign.

A personal request isn’t always feasible.  For those occasions, a sign placed in a prominent area (possibly next to your register) that makes the request visually can be a good idea.  (See:  Creating a Review Request Sign in Microsoft Word)

5. Include a request with your product.

Another option for a less personal request is a physical note included with your product – the more you can make the request stand out, the better your chances of getting your customers’ attention.  (See:  Clever Customer Service)

6. Reply to existing reviews.

Some review venues enable you, as the owner, to respond to reviews.  You can thank the customer for their kind words or you can try to explain or apologize for less-than-stellar feedback.  Sometimes, your visible presence will encourage other customers to share their thoughts.

7. Offer an incentive.

You can always sweeten the pot a little by offering a dollar amount or percentage off on a future purchase as a thank you for a review, which could help with repeat sales as well.

8. Offer a product sampling.

If all else fails, you may need to be willing to give away your product or service for free in order to get your initial reviews.  You can either utilize a company to supervise the process, you can informally reach out to people you know, or you can post the offer on social media.

9. Be review worthy.

This one is entirely open to interpretation and can be tailored to represent your unique brand . . . whether you ship your product with a free bonus item, offer an appealing gift wrapping for free, or send a thoughtful thank you note after a purchase, try to do something that makes your company and product stand out from the crowd a bit and inspires customers to rave about their experience.

Web Design: Everyone has to Start Somewhere

Recently, my blog partner did a post urging any small business owners holding out on creating a web site to take the plunge (read that story here).  He assured anyone feeling intimated that every “first try” typically lacks polish and suggested going to the Wayback Machine (a digital archive of the World Wide Web) if in need of evidence.  I thought that sounded like a super fun experiment.  So in the name of confidence building, let’s look at some big companies and their humble on-line beginnings. . . .

LEGO

Certainly not without charm (because who doesn’t love minifigures?!), but I’m guessing the individuals in charge of this design can’t look back now without cringing.

HOME DEPOT

I love a web site with a cartoon mascot that introduces himself before presenting the content of his page.  Homer from Home Depot.  Priceless.

MACY’S

Where pink, purple, and red and a dash of stars meet function.

GOOGLE

I rememberd Google always being just a logo and a search box, so I was amused to see this early weightier version. 

MCDONALD’S

More cartoons.  I’m lovin’ it.

PEPSI

This one may be my favorite.  And I’m not going to lie, I wish I had the Shockwave plug-in.

UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE

Look at all them clouds! 

AMAZON

Not too shabby, right?  I even kinda remember this design.  I knew I needed to keep looking. . . .

Here’s the gold!  This relic wasn’t available on the Wayback Machine.  Their earliest functional crawl of Amazon was 1999, and I had a feeling that an older, humbler version existed somewhere.  Thank you, versionmuseum.com.  (In amazon’s defense, this design was among the oldest within this collection with a July 1995 release date.)

FACEBOOK

Welcome to “the Facebook.”

In conclusion, I restate: everyone has to start somewhere. 

I hope one day your business grows so big that someone like me searches its origins to see the beginning of your journey.

Creating a Review Request Sign in Microsoft Word

Reviews have become an important part of our lives.  We look at them when choosing a restaurant, selecting a contractor, watching a movie, or even buying a new pair of jeans.  As a result, having an abundance of glowing customer reviews can have a big impact upon your business.  However, you know that already, which is why you’re here.  So, let’s get started. . . .

I do believe the most effective way to convince a happy customer to go the extra mile for your business is to personally take the time to ask for a review.  However, a personal request isn’t always feasible.  For those occasions, a sign placed in a prominent area (possibly next to your register) that makes the request visually can be a good idea.  I’ll show you the steps to create such sign in Microsoft Word.

1. Open Word, create a new blank document, and insert a rectangle.  (When your cursor turns into a plus sign, you’re able to draw your rectangle.) 

By default, mine was blue.  Right click on the rectangle and select More Layout Options.

Set the properties to . . .

  • Size: 10” in Height and 8” in Width
  • Text Wrapping: Behind Text
  • Position:
    • Horizontal – Absolute Position of .25” ‘to the right of’: Page
    • Vertical – Absolute Position of .5” ‘to the right of’: Page

Right click on the rectangle again and select Format Shape.  Set the Fill to No Fill, and set the Line to a Solid Line, Black Color, and .5 pt Width, choosing the Dash Type selection shown below.

2. Click inside the rectangle and type “Review Us”.  Change the font to one that works as your heading and increase the size as needed to appropriately fill the space.  Set the Alignment to Centered.  I went with the font Georgia in all caps at size 60 and added a space between each letter.

3. Press enter to advance to the next line and then insert a star. Once your cursor is a plus sign, draw the star about a half inch or so in size. 

Right click your star and select More Layout Options: within the Text Wrapping tab, select In Line With Text from the Wrapping Style section; within the Size tab, make the star .7” in Width and Height; press OK. 

Right click on the star once again and select Format Shape: set the Fill to No Fill; for the Line, select Solid Line, Black color, and 1.5 pt Width. 

Right click on the star one last time and select copy.  Add a space and paste your star.  Repeat three more times. 

4. Press enter and add your company name.  I used the same formatting as the “Review Us” heading but decreased the size to 36.

5. Press enter and include your review request.  I went with: “Your feedback is extremely important to us. Take a few minutes to share your thoughts and help us spread the good word.”  I kept the font the same and just changed the font size to 24.

6. Next, decide which review platforms you would like to feature.  I decided to use TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Google.  Then, go to Google Images (https://www.google.com/imghp) and search for the logo of one of the companies.  I searched “tripadvisor logo”.

Save your selection to your desktop.  (I chose the 4th logo of the top row. )  Press enter to add a line space to your Word Document and insert the logo.

As you can see, the logo is quite big.  Since I plan to include three logos, I decreased the size a bit. 

Repeat the process for each logo you would like to include, adding a line space between each one.  If you extend onto a new page, don’t worry.

7. The last step in Word is simply a final tweaking so that everything looks nice and professional on the page.  I increased the line spacing after the company name, the paragraph, and in between the logos, and decreased the size of each of the logos.

8. Then, save, print, cut, and frame!

Happy designing! 

Shameless Plug:
While our preference is always DIY, a ready-to-customize templated version is available from my shop in case you’re extra short on time this week:  https://www.instant-invitation.com/listing/668274665/review-request-sign-template-printable