Getting Reviews the Right Way – Creating a Feedback Driven Culture
A while ago I had the opportunity to address a group of business women in Victoria on the topic of Reputation Marketing. It was a great luncheon meeting with plenty of participation and really insightful questions. In the days following the lunch I continued to receive questions and comments about how to implement the strategies I presented as well as the value of this information. One comment from a well meaning participant mentioned an article she had read recently on MOZ that she had found helpful and wanted to share, it was titled, Getting Reviews the Right Way for Local Businesses.
Although I hadn’t previously come across the article myself I thought, This is wonderful! They really got the message and want to take a ProActive approach to building their online Reputation. I couldn’t wait to read this contribution to what I consider the most important, practical and critical marketing strategy any business needs to incorporate into their marketing plan. So, I clicked and was immediately thrilled and enthused by the first paragraph. Kate Morris writes,
Local reviews are just an extension of word of mouth marketing. It’s a permanent record of consumer’s thoughts of your business much like social media.
I smiled and cheered. Right on Kate! Give me more.
And she did not disappointed. Ms. Morris goes on to say,
The worst part is having no reviews, or having reviews (GLOWING reviews) from real customers, and Yelp doesn’t show or count them. Reviews are the links of the local world. They drive new business and are imperative to growth.
Her article continues to give some really valuable information on how to make sure you are not breaking any SE rules or TOS. Part two of her article is a solid lesson on what not to do. Additionally I really appreciate and agree with her overall stance that getting reviews is ultra important but needs to be natural and is more of a way of thinking than a trick or method to game the system in an attempt to trick your customers into thinking you’re service or product quality is better than it really is.
Kate’s article is full of wisdom but as I got closer to the end of her article I couldn’t help but hear those words from, Tony Campo ringing in my ear, “Everything you have heard is wrong!” Although that thought did pop into my head I have to say on second read it certainly wasn’t everything in the article. But there was that nagging voice in my head still telling me something was amiss. That some of the information I just read, and re-read might be misinterpreted and might even hurt a business if they took it the wrong way. In my opinion Kate was 90% on the money but then I caught it. That small comment, that subtle 10% which almost ruined the entire piece. It was the part of her argument where she presents her strategy.
Essentially Kate’s strategy was, Go to extreme lengths and effort to engage your customer (that’s great advice) but never ask for a review (IMO that’s where she blew it.)
She closes by saying,
“Remember, mention your online communities and integrate the mentions into the whole lifecycle, and the reviews will roll in naturally.”
That last line sums up a critical and potentially damaging point in the article. It’s truly misleading to think that all you need to do is mention where your business hangs out in the virtual world and “reviews will roll in naturally.” Getting reviews needs to be a part of creating a feedback-driven culture. True business leaders are the ones who ask for what they want. Asking for feedback and asking for a review from those who leave you positive feedback is fundamental. It’s what wise businesses have been doing since the first business opened. Think about this for a moment, go back 50 years. Would it have been wise to say, “Never ask for a testimonial. Just provide a good product/service and testimonials will roll in naturally.” Of course not. successful businesses have always been the ones who ask. They ask for feedback and they act on it. Then they ask the customer if they would mind putting it in writing.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
As Kate pointed out in her opening words,
Local reviews are just an extension of word of mouth marketing. They certainly are and just as smart marketers in the past leveraged positive word of mouth by asking for a testimonial letter today they ask for an online review.