Before the internet came, a business’s success depended on the people running it. The marketing team would run advertisement campaigns that would go on to sing praises of the brand on billboards, TV, Radio, magazines, and newspapers, influencing a person’s decision to buy the brand’s product or not.

A successful ad campaign meant sales would boom for the business and the marketing team will receive fat incentives, regardless of how good or bad the advertised product was. The buyers would give zero regards to the quality of promoted products and services but the hype and degree of influence the ad campaign generates.

The internet revolution changed the way we perceive a product, service or brand and a great deal of that perception is built around the concept of business reviews or, as they are better known as online reviews.

Online reviews work in the same way the average Joe in your neighborhood does. The same guy who tells everybody around how good the newly opened cake store’s cheesecakes are and, soon, the whole city goes mad over the cheesecakes.

There are thousands of such average Joes scattered over on the internet who review everything from a $1 Pen to $20 million mansion. People read those reviews before making a purchase decision. They no more fall for the hype created by shiny, deceptive ads but reviews of real people in the real world.

Making your customers write reviews

However, writing reviews is a time-consuming process. Not often customers are willing to write a business review for your brand. At times, you have to make them write one for your brand, which isn’t always easy. Review not always sing praises. They have the power to break a brand too so be cautious.

Do your Homework

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Many websites list local businesses and lets users rate and review them. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yelp, Foursquare, all feature user review on their website and an average rating that runs 1-5 Stars. In addition, Manta, Yelp, Angie’s List are also popular business listing websites that attract users’ review.

Moreover, there are various websites that list businesses in a particular category. For example, Zomato only lists restaurant and is a common website and app to visit before dining at a restaurant for the first time. Alibaba, on the other side, lists only business sellers. Moreover, there might be local business listing websites more popular in your area than a famous international player. Watch for them too.

Do your research and build a presence in as many of these websites as possible before actively asking your customers to review your brand. Also, you must develop a business website.

As a rule of hand, a business, if at all seeking online reviews must be present on, at least, Google and Facebook.

Creating a Google My Business page is not at all difficult provided you have a physical address. The same goes for Facebook Page if you have an account with Facebook.

You run a diagnostic to learn where your business is listed already.

Take it easy; be humble

Before I move any further, let me clarify a few things: customers hate writing down reviews and they are under no obligation to write one for your services. It’s up to their discretion to or not to write a review. The least can do is to insist them gently a couple of times. You have to be absolutely patient while pursuing them. They are gonna refuse you a review for no reason whatsoever so keep your temper in check.

Under no condition, should you put them in a position where they feel pressured or they will run away. A humble way would be asking their phone number and text or WhatsApp them links to rate your Facebook, Google, Bing etc. pages. While texting those link, shorten the page links using Google URL Shortener.

Do not do that more than twice a month or people will mark you as spam.

Ask them

An old-school trick that never fails is to ask each customer, personally, to review their purchase, including how they can do that. Some people are going to ignore you, while a few will say yes but will never write a review. However, don’t get your hope down. Some customers are really generous and will write a review if they told you they would.

If you send promotional emails, WhatsApp, and texts to your customers, make a habit to add a link to your business pages in the content and a line “review us on Google…etc.”

If you don’t, subscribe to a mass emailing and SMS tool and start texting and emailing promotions to your customers. For WhatsApp, Facebook has recently introduced WhatsApp for Business. You should definitely enroll.

Show them Rewards

Nothing in this world comes free, your reviews don’t either. You would accuse me of instigating to bribe your customers. But, this is happening everywhere. Google itself has a tool called Google Opinion Rewards that rewards Play Store Credit for writing reviews and filling surveys.

You can provide a number of rewards—a Gift Card or Discount Coupon to every customer who writes you a review for example. You can run SMS and email campaigns to raise awareness about a rewards program and, ultimately, make more people write reviews for you. If you have good engagement and a large number of followers, Facebook and Twitter are also mediums to raise awareness about a rewards-for- review program.

Join a program

There are many digital marketing agencies that carry the aforementioned activities and tricks on a client’s behalf. Once hired, they will run incentive programs, surveys, and many other activities to make a maximum of customers to write a review on your business pages. As professionals, they can achieve your goals in a shorter time and with a higher degree of precision.

A good rating on the internet will bring you more customers even from the other side of the city. Make sure, you’re ready for the rush.