In a world where positive reviews hold more value than paid ads and, thus, bring in more revenue, it’s only logical that businesses would be going the extra mile in an attempt to encourage people to leave a positive review. How would you react if we were to tell you that as much as 90 percent of buyers are influenced by online reviews? No, your first instinct to panic over a negative review would not be the right one, as a negative review can be overridden by a host of positive reviews.

As a PR pro, it is your job to motivate the public, gain their support and influence their opinion so that it matches yours. While, in theory, it shouldn’t be too hard to motivate people to review your business, practice shows that’s not necessarily true. There are, however, a few useful tactics that you should try out in your hunt for positive reviews.

How to motivate people to review your business

The tools that can help you motivate people to review your business are at your fingertips.

Make sure you are present

In the days of social media, if you don’t have an active online presence it’s like you don’t even exist. If you want to motivate people to leave reviews, you first have to give them a place to do it. Platforms like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Yelp are used daily by those looking for reviews on the products they are thinking about buying. As a PR, you already know that one of the best and quickest ways to reach your target audience is through the aforementioned platforms. So, what are you waiting for? Accomplish step one so that you can easily continue to the next ones.

Make the process of leaving a review easy

In the fast-paced life of today, a large portion of people might skip leaving reviews simply due to the lack of time. When you have your boss on one line and your crying child on the other one, sitting down and rating a business would not be anyone’s priority. That’s why it’s your job to make leaving a review an easy process. Integrate the five-star rating system or even get creative with emojis. This is a great PR solution that will allow you to test your audience’s opinion while still giving them the motivation to review your business. Besides, this will not only make it easy for the reviewers, but also for the readers. Lots of people are discouraged to read the entire paragraph of a text simply to find out the bottom-line opinion.

How to motivate people to review your business

The five-star system is a perfect example of reviews that are easy to leave, as well as read.

Motivate people to review your business by offering an incentive

It’s important to note first and foremost that we are in no way suggesting you pay people for leaving a review. That’s not only ethically wrong but it will also have plenty of negative implications for your business down the line. What we are saying is that you could offer a plethora of incentives that will work just as well as money. For example, plenty of businesses offer store credit to those who write a review. Of course, in instances such as these, buyers are not obliged to leave a stellar review full of praise. Only their honest opinion. On the other hand, you can even make a fun game out of it and offer bigger prizes to randomly chosen participants, all of whom have gained entry to the contest by having left a review.

Don’t hide the negative reviews

What if we told you that having only stellar reviews is more detrimental than having mixed reviews? It’s very simple and logical when you think about it. People know that nothing in this world is perfect and your business is certainly not an exception. If they see there are no negative reviews displayed, they will immediately believe that it was you who hid them. That would cause them to become suspicious and lose any trust they had in you. Yes, positive reviews are proof of quality—but so are negative ones. They at least showcase honesty and transparency which, as a PR, you know are two traits people respect.  Motivating people to review your business goes much beyond offering incentives and prizes – it’s about letting them feel important by knowing that their opinion matters to you. And it matters a lot!

How to motivate people to review your business

Even the negative reviews can have a positive effect on your business.

Have the right timing

In the PR world, timing is everything. Sometimes, what you say and do is much less important than the time you do it. It’s the same thing when trying to motivate people to review your business. No one likes those instant post-checkout popups and they are rather annoying. People will click on that X mark without giving it a second thought. They also aren’t likely to leave a review a couple of days after the purchase. So where does that leave you? The best thing you can do is send an e-mail the same day but, again, not right after the purchase. Rest assured your buyer will appreciate you not jumping them with a request for a review right away. And buyers in their good spirits are more inclined to leave a favorable review.

Be thankful

In the real world, if someone does something nice for you, you ought to thank them. The same can be said for the business world. If someone was nice enough to leave a review of your business, you should find the time to give them a brief reply. It will take you 10 to 20 minutes to scan the site for new reviews, and then send a sentence or two to the person who left them. Your job as a PR is to constantly be in touch with the public. Just because you managed to motivate people to review your business doesn’t mean your job is done. That same person could buy another product from you and then completely change their opinion. Always be on top of your game and you will be well-rewarded.

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Sally Norton

Sally Norton is an assistant editor at Miami Moving Guide.

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