519Web Kincardine

Unlock the Power of Customer Voice: How Reviews Can Skyrocket Your Small Business and Local SEO!

Deborah Clarke

Deborah Clarke

Unlock the power of customer feedback! Discover why reviews are the heartbeat of business success, shaping reputations and driving sales. Dive in now!

Imagine your small business thriving, with a steady stream of customers who heard about your stellar reputation.

Now, picture your local SEO ranking soaring, all because you harnessed the power of customer reviews. It’s not just a dream—it’s a strategic move that can turn into reality.

Reviews are the heartbeat of local businesses, pulsing with every customer’s experience and local search results

In today’s digital age, customer reviews are the cornerstone of credibility for small businesses. They’re not just opinions; they’re powerful tools that shape your brand’s reputation, influence consumer decisions, and improve your local search engine optimization (SEO).

With 99.5% of shoppers researching purchases online at least sometimes. As indicated by Power Reviews (2023). And, nearly 87% doing so regularly or always, trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, it’s clear that reviews are a game-changer.

reviews matter mf insurance


But how do you collect these golden nuggets of feedback?

Let’s dive into the best practices for gathering reviews and the optimal moments to encourage customers to share their experiences.

A Handful of Ingenious Ways to Skyrocket Your Small Business Reviews!

In the digital age, customer reviews are the golden currency for small businesses. They’re not just opinions; they’re the megaphone that broadcasts your reputation to the world. But how do you get those precious testimonials?

Here are a handful of best practices we recommend to our clients that will have your customers raving about your services online.


The Magic of QR Codes: Your Secret Weapon for Instant Reviews

Imagine a customer, delighted by your service, and you hand them a receipt. But this isn’t just any receipt; it’s your review-generating ninja. With a cleverly placed QR code, customers can zap themselves straight to your Google Business Profile or website to leave a glowing review. It’s hassle-free, it’s instant, and it’s incredibly effective.

519Web Insights:

  • QR codes bridge the gap between offline and online experiences.
  • They provide a quick and seamless way for customers to access your review page.
  • Placing them on receipts ensures that the request for a review is timely, as the customer’s positive experience is fresh in their mind.

Your customers will be so impressed with how easy it is to leave a review.  They simply scan the QR code on their receipt, and voila! They’ve instantly shared their thoughts.  Most customers agree it ‘just feels good‘ to support a local business with just a few taps on their phone!


Checkout Charisma: A Sign That Speaks Volumes

As customers approach the checkout, they’re in the final moments of their shopping experience. Why not end on a high note? A creatively designed sign with a QR code, inviting them to leave a review, can be that gentle nudge they need. It’s a non-intrusive yet effective reminder that their opinion matters to you.

Instyle Hair Studio custom QR Code for Google Reviews

519Web Insights:

  • A sign at checkout captures customers’ attention when their satisfaction levels are high.
  • It reinforces the importance of customer feedback in a visually appealing manner.
  • The QR code simplifies the process, encouraging immediate action.

Clients appreciate the friendly reminder at the register to leave a review. The sign should be customized to speak to audience and catch their attention.  Scanning and using the QR code should be a breeze.   Customers like to frequent businesses that truly value customer input.

The Personal Touch: Thank You Cards That Go the Extra Mile

Personalization makes customers feel special, and a thank you card included with their purchase can create a lasting impression. Add a QR code to this card, and you’ve just personalized the review process too. It’s a thoughtful way to express gratitude and simultaneously encourage feedback.

QR code thank you card for reviews back of card

519Web Insights:

  • Personalized thank you cards can strengthen customer relationships.
  • Including a QR code for reviews in the card demonstrates that you value their feedback.
  • This method can increase the likelihood of receiving a review due to the personalized approach.

Receiving a thank you card with an order is a lovely surprise! With a QR code for leaving a review, most customers will happily oblige. Customers appreciate a business that goes above and beyond.

The Power of Email: A Follow-Up That Fosters Feedback

Don’t let the conversation end at the sale. Follow up with an email thanking your customers for their purchase and kindly ask for a review. Embed a QR code or a direct link in the email to make the process as smooth as possible. This shows that you’re proactive and dedicated to customer satisfaction.

519Web Insights:

  •  Email follow-ups keep the communication lines open after the purchase.
  • They provide another opportunity to request a review, which can be especially effective for online businesses.
  • Embedding a QR code or direct link in the email simplifies the review process.

A follow-up email is a great touch. It will make leaving a review so easy, and most customers will be more than happy to share their positive experience with others.

Social Media Savvy: Harnessing the Power of the Hashtag

Leverage your social media presence by creating a campaign around customer reviews. Encourage your followers to use a specific hashtag when posting about their experiences with your business. Feature a QR code in your posts that leads directly to your review page, making it fun and accessible for the tech-savvy crowd.

519Web Insights:

  • Social media campaigns can reach a wide audience and generate buzz.
  • A unique hashtag can increase visibility and track customer engagement.
  • Including a QR code in social media posts can directly funnel users to the review platform.

When a customer sees a campaign on Instagram they are likely to think it’s a brilliant way to share their experience. The hashtag should be catchy, and a custom QR code will make leaving a review super simple. Typically customers are happy to add to the ‘hype’.



Now that you’ve got some ideas HOW TO COLLECT REVIEWS … 

Let’s review some of the best places to send your customer to leave their reviews and testimonials:

Google Reviews: The Frontline of Your Online Presence

A Google Business Profile (GBP) is the first stop for consumers seeking information about your business. Our experience providing digital marketing reports to clients indicates the majority of small business customers receive phone calls directly from their Google Business Profile (call button). This is especially true for businesses with a mobile client base ( call button is used from mobile phone searches). But your GBP is also where your operating hours, contact details, and, crucially, customer reviews live. A well-maintained Google profile can significantly boost your local SEO, as the Google search also favors businesses with positive and frequent reviews, so your profile is more likely to show up in the local Google Map pack if you have the most reviews.

Exclusive Insights:

– Encourage customers to leave reviews by sending follow-up emails after a purchase or service.

– Respond to every review, positive or even negative reviews, to show you value customer feedback.

– Use signage in your store to remind customers to leave a review on Google.

reviews matter 519web google business profile

Customer Feedback:

I never realized how much a simple review could help a small business until I started using a Google Reviews. After leaving a review for my favorite local café, I noticed they started climbing up in the search bar and rankings, and now they’re the first result when I search for coffee shops in my area!

Yelp: The Go-To for Trustworthy Reviews

yelp reviews matter

Yelp is synonymous with business reviews. It’s a platform where customers are eager to share their experiences, and a positive presence here can translate to increased foot traffic and sales. Yelp’s algorithm favors recent and relevant reviews, so keeping a steady flow is crucial for visibility.

Exclusive Insights:

– Ask for reviews in person after a positive interaction or at the end of a meal or service.

– Utilize Yelp’s “Find Friends” feature to connect with customers and remind them to write reviews review.

– Monitor your Yelp metrics more reviews to understand customer behavior and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Food for Thought:

After a delightful meal at a new restaurant, if the owner asks you to share your thoughts on Yelp, would you?

A glowing review not only feels good to write, but it also helps an establishment attract more potential customers. There is amazing power in a few kind words!

TripAdvisor: The Traveler's Compass

For businesses in the travel and hospitality industry, the site TripAdvisor is a goldmine. Reviews on this platform can sway the decisions of travelers and significantly impact bookings and reservations.

Exclusive Insights:

– Encourage guests to review their stay or experience while the memories are still fresh.

– Provide easy access to TripAdvisor review links via email or on any page of your website.

– Highlight positive reviews in your marketing materials to attract new customers.

reviews matter mobile calls from trip advisor

Food for Thought

If a customers hotel stay was exceptional, in most cases they will happily leave a TripAdvisor review because if feels like they are passing on a great travel secret. Most travelers feel it’s rewarding to see other travelers benefit from their experience.

Industry-Specific Platforms: Niche Reviews for Targeted Impact

industry specific review sites

Food for Thought:

If someone is getting married, they will search for a wedding planner online. Sites like The Knot will be go-to trusted resources. And, after seeing all the heartfelt reviews and trusting them to select a service through review sites and The Knot, new customers will be more likely to leave a review too. It’s a special way to contribute to someone’s success story, and the snowball of reviews continues with this kind of loyal customer momentum.


Depending on your business type, there may be niche platforms where reviews can make a substantial difference. For example, a legal practice might benefit from reviews on Avvo, while a home contractor might look to Houzz or a new bride may look to The Knot for venue recommendations.

Exclusive Insights:

– Identify the most influential review platforms in your company or industry and focus your efforts there.

– Train your staff to understand the importance of these niche, more customer reviews, and how to ask for them.

– Showcase your business information and best reviews on your website to entice prospective customers.

FAQs About Customer Reviews – What Everyone Wants to Know!

When it comes to customer reviews, everyone has questions. Whether you’re a business owner looking to boost your reputation or a curious consumer, understanding the ins and outs of customer feedback is crucial. Here some of the most frequently asked questions about customer reviews and testimonials.

Customer reviews are vital because they build trust and credibility for a business. In the digital age, consumers often turn to reviews to help them make informed decisions. Positive feedback can significantly influence purchasing behavior, while negative reviews can offer businesses valuable insights into areas that may need improvement. Reviews also play a significant role in local SEO, as search engines like Google use them as indicators of a business’s popularity and relevance.

Generally, businesses cannot remove negative reviews from Google unless they violate Google’s review policies. This includes reviews that are fake, off-topic, or contain prohibited content such as hate speech or personal information. If a review is believed to violate these policies, a business can flag it for removal through their Google Business Profile account.  Our recommendation to businesses is to bury poor reviews with lots more good reviews.  However, it’s also very important for businesses to respond to negative reviews professionally and address any legitimate concerns raised by customers. Majority of consumers today are pretty savvy and don’t expect a business can keep all customers happy, but we (as consumers) do expect a business to respond to any negative comments, even if just to say ‘sorry you had this trouble, we will take this concern offline now and reach out to you directly to resolve the issue.

Customer reviews can significantly affect SEO, especially local SEO. Search engines like Google consider the quantity, quality, and recency of reviews as ranking factors. A higher number of positive reviews can improve a business’s visibility in search results, making it more likely to be found by potential customers. Additionally, reviews containing keywords relevant to the business can further enhance SEO efforts.

The best way to encourage customers to leave reviews is to provide an exceptional product or service that exceeds their expectations. Following that, businesses can ask customers directly for feedback, either in person, in a thank you note inside the purchase, through follow-up emails, or SMS (text). It’s also helpful to make the review process as easy as possible by providing direct links to review platforms. Most customers are happy to share their positive feedback for future patrons.

A business should respond to reviews as often as possible, ideally to every review it receives. Responding to positive reviews shows appreciation for customer feedback and can encourage others to leave their own reviews. Addressing negative reviews promptly can demonstrate the business’s commitment to customer service and may even turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one. Regular responses also signal to search engines that a business is active and engaged with its customers, which can help with SEO.

A Final Word About Customer Reviews

Understanding the dynamics of customer reviews can make a world of difference for businesses and consumers alike. By keeping reviews top of mind, you can navigate the world of online feedback with confidence and use it to your advantage, whether you’re looking to improve your business or find the best products and services for your needs.

We would be happy to discuss a review strategy with you for your business!

Reach out by email to Deborah at 519Web.com


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Deborah Clarke

Deborah Clarke

Deborah has spent her entire career managing change. She was either growing a business from nothing or managing change within larger organizations to make a major shift in a new direction. As a small business leader, with a strong foundation of knowledge and experience in marketing, business development and accounting, Deborah Clarke brings 30+ years of hands-on experience to 519web, a full service digital marketing agency located in Kincardine, Ontario.

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