Getting reviews, even if you ask, is difficult.
Remember the best way is slow and steady. None of the review sites want a bunch of reviews flowing in over a very short time. This is a 3 or 5 year play. If you get 3 reviews a year at Google, in 5 years you will have 15 reviews. Significantly more than your competitors but not enough to raise flags at Google. Your industry has a very low “natural review rate” and you don’t want to go blazing past that,
Here are some thoughts about how to understand the review landscape and improve your review rate.
1- We see that for every 100 emails sent that on average 9.5% of customers leave feedback and about 1% leave reviews.
There are a lot of reasons for this but the main one is that roughly 80% of users have never left a review or do so very rarely and have no interest in leaving a review.
And for those customers that do want to leave a review some companies make it very hard to leave a review. For example Google requires that the user have a G+ account.
Of those consumers that do leave reviews, they have a lot of different preferences where they will leave a review.
2- So to some extent it is a numbers game. the more customers in your database and the more times you ask them, the more likely you are to get an actual review.
3- You have what appears to be three locations. One with 300, one with ~roughly 1200 and one with ~900 current emails. All other things being equal you will get about 8-9 reviews each for the larger locations and 3 for the smaller location until you add more emails or do some of the things suggested below.
4- Things are never equal thought and averages can be deceiving.
5- Folks like choice but not too much choice. I noticed that you have a lot of review sites selected. You are best off limiting it to 2 or 3 choices. Google, Facebook and one other that is important to you. You can always ask for reviews at different sites down the road if you get enough at those 3
6- We find a huge correlation between NPS and review rate. We see two or three times the number of reviews left when an agency is in the high 80s or low 90s. People are more willing to speak out.
7- We also see that business clients are more likely to do reviews than consumers. We think that is because businesses understand the need for testimonials better than consumers and if they like you are more willing to take a minute or two on your behalf.
8- Stopping negative reviews. Until your processes and procedures and client interactions allow you to score higher on the NPS score, they systems most valuable function is short stopping unhappy customers that might leave you a scathing review online. Fixing those problems you discover quickly is the best insurance against getting a bad review. Once you have fixed it you can manually re-ask them for feedback and a review.
9- Resending after 30-60 days. Our system only sends two emails automatically. We do allow for a manual resend to your clients. We find that even on the third email the response rate is about the same. Thus it makes sense to wait about 30-60 days and then resend an email to anyone that didn’t reply to an earlier email. Email open rates stay about the same on the first, second and third emails. We will be adding this feature but for now I recommend you “reask” manually. I would be glad to help you with that if you are unsure how.
10- Email open rates run in the 35-50% range. That means that a large percentage of your customers never even open you email asking for feedback. We also recommend that you give out your shortened URL in your other correspondence, at the front counter etc.
Remember the best way is slow and steady.
None of the review sites want a bunch of reviews flowing in over a very short time. This is a 3 or 5 year play. If you get 3 reviews a year at Google, in 5 years you will have 15 reviews. Significantly more than your competitors but not enough to raise flags at Google. Especially if your industry has a very low “natural review rate”.
About the Author:
Widely cited as the foremost Local Search expert in North America and affectionately known among his colleagues as ‘Professor Maps’, Mike Blumenthal is the author of the industry’s most respected blog: Understanding Google Maps & Local Search.
Marketers, local business owners and companies in local search know that a visit to Blumenthal’s blog promises rich and unique insights into Local SEO news, tactics, and troubleshooting.
Google, too, has been captivated by Blumenthal’s reportage and employees regularly drop by for equal doses of constructive criticism and encouragement. A major percentage of today’s high level Local SEOs point to Mike Blumenthal as teacher, mentor and friend.