One of the major strategies I have witnessed having spent over 15 years in this business is that when it comes to search engines like Google, social proof - and reviews in particular - have truly never been more important than they are right now.
This of course is a problem for many companies because getting reviews from loyal clients is not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do. More often than not, radon business owners or the individuals responsible for marketing tell me that they have tried unsuccessfully to request those reviews from in the first place. It can feel like negative reviews come easily and positive reviews are rare. This is not because of the quality of your service or product, but because people don’t remember to leave a review for you. I’ve also found that these same owners lack a consistent, repeatable, and most importantly measurable process. They also see a lot of their competitors rising above them in the search results.
Simply put whoever has the most reviews - with the best average - is going to rank on top more often than not. In the eyes of a search engine, a review is validation for your brand. Someone came to you, received excellent results and thus it's very likely that other people will too. Therefore they rank your site higher - all in the name of delivering the highest quality search results possible.
To make things more complicated, Google itself actually has a fairly lengthy policy on reviews. Here are the simple general concepts:
- You are not allowed to incentivize the reviewer in any way, for instance by giving them a discount.
- You cannot request a positive review or a five-star review, only just a review in general.
- Employees can't leave reviews as it would be a conflict of interest.
However, all hope is not lost. There ARE ways that you can get reviews that are easy, practical, and, most importantly, ethical too. With that being said, here are my top five suggestions for getting more reviews that will generate big results.
1. Leverage Your Email Newsletter
If your radon business doesn't already have an email newsletter, now would be an excellent time to start one for a variety of reasons.
Not only is it a great way to constantly keep your company at the top of people's minds, but it's a perfect chance to let them know about new developments like new products and services you offer or the latest news in your industry.
Plus, if people are already accustomed to getting an email from you, nothing is stopping you from reaching out occasionally and asking them to leave a review about their experiences!
2. Automatic Review Requests Are More Powerful Than You Think
We've actually set up clients in the past to have automatic review requests take place as soon as someone signs up for their email newsletter. We simply have that request email wait a few hours before being distributed as most people sign up for the email newsletter at the exact same time they place an order or receive a service/product.
If you follow this technique your request should come shortly after they’ve received their service or product, at the exact moment when they're most likely to leave one!
Make the email look like it is coming from a person asking for the review. You’ll get much better responses having the request come from a person rather than just a brand!
3. Properly Route Bad Reviews
At this point, you also need to keep in mind that sometimes people will have less-than-stellar experiences. Such is life. But you need to give users an EASY way to reach out for complaints. If you don't, that complaint will go to Google for the entire world to see.
Therefore you need to add a "Contact" form to your website so people can take bad reviews directly to you instead of search engines. It's a perfect chance to resolve this conflict over e-mail rather than in front of the entire Internet.
Make your contact form as easy to fill out as leaving a review. Limit the number of questions. You can always ask the day/time of their order via email.
4. Respond to EVERY Review, No Matter What
If reviews are good, use your company voice to reply! Don't be afraid to have a little fun with it.
If reviews are bad, quickly reach out to someone and ask to continue the discussion via email or even the good, old-fashioned telephone. Once that conflict is resolved, ask your customer to re-adjust their bad review (if they want to do so, of course). Here are copy-and-paste examples of how to reply to bad reviews.
5. Equip & Motivate Your Team To Get Reviews
Finally don't be afraid to get your employees in on the action. In fact, you can even make a game for your employees to ask customers for reviews. You could give a $100 gift card to whoever gets the most reviews, for example, or make it a store-versus-store game if you have more than one location. Whichever store gets the most reviews by the end of the month could win a prize!
If you set a goal to get 100 new reviews and you are compensating your team with a $100 gift card, it is almost as if you are only spending $1 per review!
In the end, never forget that most clients these days use online reviews before making any type of purchasing decision - including which radon testing company they will hire. All of these techniques WILL make a big impact and it's one that will allow you to reap the benefits of social proof sooner rather than later too.
If your radon business is still having trouble getting reviews, that's okay - we might be able to help. Feel free to reach out to us with any other questions you might have or to get insight into additional techniques that you can use to turn your website into the sales-generation machine it was meant to be.