The global market has led to increased competition for business owners. Nearly every service and product available today can be easily duplicated and offered at a lower price. While big brands can outcompete their rivals with million-dollar advertising campaigns, small business owners find themselves at a loss for how to promote their brand and stand out from the competition.

One strategy that works and is extremely affordable is customer testimonials, or reviews. When your customers describe your product, service or customer service, it helps other people decide to shop with you rather than someone else. Did you know that 90% of shoppers check online reviews before frequenting a business, and 88% look upon reviews as personal recommendations?

There is no doubt that customer reviews are effective, but what is a good way to capture those reviews? Read on to find out.

Ask for Them

One of the biggest differences between businesses that have a multitude of online reviews and those that don’t is one simple fact – they ask for them. While some shoppers will turn to the internet to describe an extremely positive or negative experience, a large percentage simply won’t take the time to take this step. However, if the business owner or employee asks them to write a review, chances are they will!

The best way to ask is to do so in person, when the individual walks into your store or office. In fact, a source claims that an in-person request is seven to eight times more effective than a request via email.

If you don’t have the time or opportunity to ask for reviews in person, email would be your next step. This is a challenging tactic, however, because you don’t know the experience all of the people who have frequented your business have had. This is why it may not be the best idea to send an email to your entire database. Instead, send out a survey or request for feedback, and then only contact the people that provided positive feedback to ask them to leave a review.


To get better results, you may consider incentivizing your customers for the effort it would take them to write an online review. Offering a discount, a free item or service, or an entry into a contest can provide a push to the individual to leave a review.

This tactic can be tricky, however, because some review websites, such as Yelp, do not allow businesses to pay for reviews. Some savvy business owners have found loopholes in this rule by offering freebies, such as free desserts to restaurant diners who leave a Yelp review instead of a monetary discount. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Promote Existing Reviews

Most of us like to feel noticed, valued and special, which is why promoting existing online reviews is a great strategy to get more reviews. When you single out customers who have left you a positive review and blast it out to your email list or put it up in your store, others will notice it and want that same recognition. You can always count on a person’s ego to urge them to take an action they wouldn’t have otherwise.

If you need financial help in order to invest in incentives to provide to your customers to increase your online review database, let IOU Financial help! We can provide business loans in under 48 hours to help you grow your business in any way possible!