The power of online reviews


By Brian Petro

“Word of mouth” has always been a great way to reach new customers because the public trusts personal recommendations. Online review websites bring enhanced power to this old-school marketing method. Customers now sing your company’s praises or trash it ruthlessly to anyone with a smartphone or a computer right from the comfort of your lobby. Both can have a profound effect on your business so here are some ways to put online reviews to work for your company.

Online Review Spots you should pay attention to:

One of the most popular social media platforms in use, especially with folks 50 years or older who have the most money to spend.

Mostly used to review restaurants and home services, but you can find reviews for just about anything. Yelp is particularly important because Siri, Apple’s voice search app, uses Yelp reviews in part to determine search results.

Google Reviews
You can find reviews for most companies on their Google Business Profile. Google Reviews are particularly important because Google Assistant, Google’s voice search app, uses these reviews in part to determine search results.

Honorable Mentions: Better Business Bureau/Trustpilot/Tripadvisor/Amazon/Glassdoor. There are many more, but this is a good starting point.

Actively encourage your customers to post reviews by making it as easy as possible for them. If you have a physical location or have a physical product, add a QR code to popular review sites. For digital customers, link to review sites directly from your website or email out review requests. In general, it’s frowned upon to incentivize positive reviews so I recommend against that. These services are all free to business owners. You are not required to pay a fee or buy advertising to participate.

A word about negative reviews: They will happen. You simply can’t make everyone happy every time. It’s also almost impossible to have negative reviews removed even if they are patently false. Your best bet to deal with a negative review is:

Keep soliciting new reviews to drown out the negative review.

Most review platforms will allow the business to respond. Do so calmly and kindly, providing the poster with direct contact information for the owner/manager so you can satisfy their concern. Keep it short and don’t discuss any details of the incident.

Remember that any response you post isn’t really for the person who posted the negative review. It’s for the rest of the public. The more reasonable you sound, the more likely a reader is to think the negative review is an aberration.

Reviews will be posted whether or not you engage in this process so you might as well get in front of it. When you have a good product/service and you care about your customers, positive reviews always greatly outnumber the negative.

A marketing professional with 20+ years of management experience, Brian has a track record of significantly improving both sales and total company valuation. You can contact Brian at

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