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asking/rewarding customers for online reviews?

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by Mow Mony, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Mow Mony

    Mow Mony LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Posts: 229

    We have never reached out to customers to ask them to leave us a review online. Considering including a letter with our spring packet offering a small gift card if they take the time to leave us a review. We have hundreds of happy customers and have been in business for ten years, but have little or no reviews on google, yahoo, yelp etc

    Has anyone had success doing something like this?

    If not, what went wrong or what would you do differently?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Splat

    Splat LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 639

    Don't do it with Yelp. They've been cracking down on this practice and even go so far as flagging offender's ads with a banner for 90 days.

    "Among the major local search and directory sites, Yelp has historically been the most strict when it comes to what it will let businesses do to gain reviews. In short, almost nothing. Buying reviews via cash, discounts or gifts is a no-no on other sites, too, but Yelp discourages business owners from even inviting customers to write a review." source
     
  3. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,187

    The problem with online reviews is they are to easy to fake. Especially when a website has many reviews posted on their own website. I hear what your saying but personally I think the best reviews are the ones left without the one leaving the review expecting anything in return for doing so online.

    I'm sure you have a few reviews out there, you just haven't found them. Those are the best to have and the most believable when others stumble upon them.

    I would consider offering your customers a discount for any referrals they may send you. Get the word of mouth going, person to person. Most of your potential customers wont ever find you or seek you online anyways. Not until your initial contact with them in person or they learned of you by word of mouth and want to take a closer look at your work. Then your work will do the talking for you.
     
  4. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,304

    This year at the end of the season I gave all my weekly clients a $20 gift card to Chili's and thanked them for working with us this year. I also included that we would appreciate them going online and reviewing our business. My intention was pretty much to bribe them into giving me reviews. I only got about 1 review out of it and spent several hundred dollars. About 2 months later I sent out an e-mail to all my clients and told them I am working on my marketing for next year, and that reviews would greatly help my business grow. I provided links to several sites. I got several reviews on various sites going this route. I think making it convenient for them to do it is more productive than bribing them. While they are at their computer it is much easier and convenient than them reading it in a letter and then having to go to the computer and look it up.
     
  5. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Posts: 1,051

    Yes, totally agree with Cedar Lawn Care. Make it easy! Even then a fairly small percentage of happy customers will leave a review.

    I personally have no problem with offering an incentive for an honest review, but it is against pretty much everyone's TOS.
     
  6. Mow Mony

    Mow Mony LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Posts: 229

    I will be sure not to include yelp on the list if I do ask for reviews.

    We have four straight A reviews on angieslist, and recently signed up for being on the front page with them, so we will see how the results from that are this season...only people who pay for angieslist can see or access those reviews though. We have two on google reviews and a couple on facebook. We do have a referral program in place and recently improved some of the rewards for that, that is the first part of the letter I plan to send out.

    We generate many quality leads already from our first page ranking on google for certain search terms(in a fairly large market), so many of our potential customers do find us solely from google. I think it would be beneficial to have even a just couple more reviews, but I'm not going to write fake ones. I wont ever know if a potential customer went with another company that had five positive reviews whereas we have two... I know I read them all and will choose between businesses based on the reviews, I know many other people are probably the same.

    We don't have a reviews section on our own website, but am considering adding that as well. I have saved a number of signed nice hand written notes from customers and am considering scanning them and putting them on our site.

    very good idea. I was thinking a $10 starbucks card for each one that does leave a review, rather than giving everyone a gift card upfront hoping they will(plus for 250 or so customers that would add up quick). I am also concerned a huge influx of reviews at the same time would look fishy, so may just mail out these request letters to certain customers, at different points rather than all at the same time.
     
  7. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,304

    I recently listened to a call from 2 lawn care owners who have several thousand clients each. They mentioned it's best to ask for referrals very early in your relationship with your client. Right after you clean up their foot tall grass, or plant new flowers, or help them with their need you are on their minds and they are still thrilled about what you did. After months or years they may have more experience with you, but that means your guys have more time to do something stupid, or they just simply get used to you being there. Just a thought.
     

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