BY GUEST WRITER Peter Rucht from Coffee Marketer
When I first started my coffee business, online reviews became the single best ― and free ― way to drive traffic to my cafe.
But getting online reviews isn’t so easy.
It seems as if you have to fight for every review. Out of the 20 people requested, only one person usually actually followed through. But if customers have a disappointing experience, they will write a bad review in a heartbeat.
Figuring out the best and easiest ways to receive more reviews took a long time. However, most recently, my business,CoffeeMarketer.com, helped another group receive around 100 reviews in one month. Here are the tactics we used.
Why Online Reviews?
An online review serves multiple purposes:
- It’s a validation that yours is a great place to purchase coffee.
- It helps boost your Search Engine Optimization (your Google ranking).
- If you receive a negative review, positive reviews help reduce the impact to your rating.
- Since they drive the most business, Google and Facebook are the best places to get reviews.
- Reviews are an asset simply because they don’t disappear.
Ask and You Shall Receive
Like me, you’ve probably frequently asked for reviews since requesting reviews is actually the best way to get more reviews. However, the way you ask is very important.
Emailing your customers your review request makes it as convenient as possible for them. When you’re having a typical interaction, such as simply handing over the customer’s coffee, and ask for a review then, the customer will very likely forget.
I set up a template in myActiveCampaign account to automatically request a review; below, please find the template I use. Feel free to copy and paste it, and make sure to link the response directly to your Google My Business page.
You are the reason I’m in business. I want to personally thank you for supporting [BUSINESS NAME]. When you order from us, you help support the local economy, workers’ families and your community. But you can help make your support even better.
We know we have the best customers in [CITY NAME], and we appreciate your business more than you know.
Could I ask a favor?
Please let us know how [BUSINESS NAME] is doing. We will read and give careful consideration to every single comment ― both positive and negative ― on our Google page.
Leave your feedback [LINK HERE].
As we continuously reinvest in [BUSINESS NAME], your feedback lets us know how we are doing and what we can do better.
-[YOUR NAME HERE]
Whether you use an email management tool or a POS system, most platforms will enable you to send this message to your customers automatically.
If you have your customers’ phone numbers, you can also text them.
Note that we ask only for a review. Don’t ask for a good review, so the customer can decide what kind of review to give. It’s the ethical and responsible thing to do.
Please read this section closely as you do not want to make a mistake when requesting reviews.
You cannot incentivize ― such as offering a discount, freebie or reward ― your customers to leave reviews. Not only will you violate the FTC’s policy, but most sites, including Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and Yelp, state that such behavior is against their policy.
However, it is not illegal to offer incentives to your staff to request online reviews.
Establish a reward policy at your place of business for your team. For example, if an employee successfully requests and receives 15 customer reviews, he or she receives a gift card for dinner to a nearby popular restaurant. In the future, those 15 reviews will pay for your future customers.
A Healthy Online Reputation
During my career, I’ve often asked new customers how they found my coffee business. Their response was usually: “I went online, and you had the highest rating.” Reviews help customers find your business.
Reviews will never completely sell your products, but you need customers in the door to have that opportunity.
But if you do receive negative reviews,here’s my guide on how to respond with examples you can “copy-and-paste.”.
If you are struggling to receive more online reviews, get started by completing one of these actions. It won’t happen overnight, but if you work hard, it won’t be long till your business pops up first with the highest rating on Google.
About the Author
Peter Rucht is the founder of Coffee Marketer, a marketing agency that helps other coffee business owners grow their business using the web.