Yes, online reviews are important. In fact they can make-or-break your business!
Here’s the scoop:
The words in the review itself give [ranking] signals to Google – so keywords do matter, and thus, longer reviews are better. Good reviews are great. Bad reviews are not the end of the world. The more reviews the better – no matter if they are good or bad. If you solicit reviews – send people to more than one place to write reviews – Google, Yelp, Citysearch, Superpages are good ones (in that order). I’ve been lately hearing from local businesses in Colorado that Yelp reviews are generating lots of new customers. Don’t ignore Yelp!
Most Businesses struggle with reaching out for reviews. We don’t recommend just adding a mention of reviews in your email newsletter. It’s just not effective. Don’t just put up a small sign in your office or on the door. Nobody cares that your business is on Yelp. What people want to know is that you care about them.
Set a goal to get 5 reviews. Be inspiring. Make it easy for your reviewers. Start now.
The very best way to get reviews is this:
Reach out individually to your customers or clients and ask for a review. Period.
I’ve got a great example for you – it’s from a medical clinic here in Boulder who had accumulated a considerable number of reviews on Google. Their practice ranks really well and is operating at capacity. Most of their new patients found them online and each had read the reviews to make their decision. How did they know? They Asked!
How did they do it? I too had become a patient of theirs after a minor whiplash episode, so I experienced it first hand. It went like this:
#1) A few days after my first visit to the office, I got a phone call – a follow up from the treating physician herself – asking how I was feeling and how things were going. That in itself was awesome and it sure made an impression on me. I really felt like she genuinely wanted me to feel better.
#2) Then later that night I received an email that went something like this:
“Jeffrey, I’m so glad you are feeling better….etc…. Also, would you mind taking a moment to write a review of your experience of our clinic on Google or Yelp? It will just take a minute and it would make a big difference for our clinic. Thanks so much!” [the words “Google” and “Yelp” linked to their profile pages].
#3) Yes, I wrote a review.