4 Ways to Encourage Online Reviews

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encourage online reviews

Have you ever been in the mood for a certain type of food and hopped on Yelp to look for a new restaurant to try?

If so, then you know that online ratings and reviews from customers are key to driving new customers to your business and growing your sales. The more reviews you have, the more trustworthy your business will appear to be.

But too many small business owners aren’t doing all they can to encourage online reviews and get customers to post them. As a result, they have few or no reviews and get passed over in favor of businesses with more feedback.

How can you encourage customers to leave reviews?

Encourage is the key word here, because actively soliciting or requesting reviews is frowned on by review sites and providing incentives such as discounts or freebies in exchange for reviews can get you in trouble. Try these steps below instead

How to Encourage Online Reviews

Give Them a Sign

Posting signage in your store, restaurant or office is a simple and subtle way to remind customers that your business is on review sites and that you’d love a review.

For example, Yelp has downloadable “Find us on Yelp” banners you can print out as signage for your store window or point-of-sale counter.

Provide Postsale Reminders

Your store receipts or restaurant checks could say, “Like us? Review us on [list the review sites where you have a presence].”

An eCommerce company can send follow-up emails after the sale to make sure the customer was satisfied and include a reminder that your business is on review sites to further encourage online reviews.

Spread the Word

Put icons for the review sites where you have a presence in your print marketing materials, on your website (you can use the downloadable Yelp banners there), in your email signature and anywhere else you can think of.

Make it Easy

Everyone’s more inclined to write a review if it’s not a big hassle. So if your site says, “Like us? Review us on Yelp,” make sure there’s a clickable link so they can do so in a minute.

Whatever you do to encourage online reviews, there’s one big “don’t.” Don’t fake them or have friends and family write them because you’re worried you don’t have enough. Use the tips above to grow your online review status organically.

Feedback Photo via Shutterstock


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

14 Reactions
  1. Great post, Rieva!

    If I had a storefront operation, I would do what you suggested.


    The Franchise King®

  2. I agree that most satisfied/happy customers just don’t think to review the business. A reminder or two can go a long way to getting those people to act. And your last point is key, MAKE IT EASY! Eliminate as many steps as possible so that people can do it quickly.

  3. People will trust the report of strangers on review sites as much as personal opinions from friends. Businesses should do all they can to encourage customer reviews. And don’t forget to respond to any negative feedback. Potential clients want to see that you address problems and will do what you can to keep the customer happy. Great article, Rieva!

  4. Great Points Reiva. Especially about the post sale reminders. The sooner happy customers are asked to leave a review after their great experience the more likely they are to actually do it. Plus since the experience is still fresh in their mind they may write a review with more detail and emotional juice that will actually attract more new customers.

  5. Well noted. I would also suggest creating mini cards to give out to each patient with the info on where to post a review. You can even let them enter a giveaway if they write a feedback about your business. It is important to be proactive and activate your happy clients.

  6. One of the things I have observed is that people love to give testimonials when they find other people doing it. They feel more encouraged to be a part of the community and give good testimonials as well.

  7. There are a ton of companies that fall short when it comes to harvesting the reviews of their satisfied customers.

    A method I like to use is to give comment cards in the clients report I give them. The card pretty much says:

    “Thank you for working with us!
    If you could please give us a review at ExampleSiteGoesHere.com we would be extremely happy.
    We want to know, in detail, if you had a good time or bad time working with us. Hopefully it was a great time 😉 ”

    And the ExampleSiteGoesHere is a website that I use to filter out bad reviews. It will have 2 links on the homepage. The first link says “I had a bad time with this company” and when clicked it goes to a form that can be filled out and is emailed to us. The second link says “I had a GREAT time with this company!” and when clicked it will have a drop down menu of all the places we have listings where people can review us. This will increase the amount of good reviews you get from your clients and filter out most of the negative ones. Now some people will get adventurous and click “I had a GREAT time with this company!” just to see what it will say. But in my experience, most of the negatives end up in my email account 🙂

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