Unless you are an SEO expert or purely an online store (if the later is the case, then stop reading, because this advice does not apply to you), you will need some additional strategies to advertise on the internet.
I’ve run a small business before and what people care about is the customer service first and then the actual product. Service always has to be top notch because even with a bad product, you can still make up for it with good service. If you have a bad product and bad service, then you are majorly screwed and I’m sorry, but there’s probably no one out there who can help you and you should just find another business. Considering this is not the case, you are probably very passionate about your business and sell an excellent product! Just work on the service because this what people will focus on. In any case, this the experience is different for each person and sometimes your best is just not good enough so you shouldn’t feel bad if you get one or two negative reviews. If you are getting all negative reviews, then there is a problem! In any case, here are some strategies to help you get positive reviews.
Sometimes you just have to do things the old fashioned way, so print media is still not dead. Print media is essential to most brick and mortar stores and you can take advantage of in house marketing to promote a steady growth for your business. If you have a retail or restaurant business you can always print out flyers with a call to action. What I do is print out paper flyers on a high yield laser printer (affordable and efficient) with a “Thank you for your purchase” note and “Connect With us on Social Media” with a logo for Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Urban Spoon and Yelp.
You can also replace this note with “Tell us how we’re doing!” (if you wish to get more Urban Spoon or Yelp reviews.
Your sales people or servers are your front line promoters. If you have a great customer service rep who is good at interacting with customers, then you have it golden! Try training them in building a relationship with the customer and have them ask the customer if they would like to join your social media page or give their opinion on a review site. Asking for the review directly can be considered desperate and tacky and should only be reserved for good friends who will not judge you negatively.
The best way to approach this is to ask the customer to keep the reviews constructive and that you appreciate their feedback. The nicer ones will give you a positive review right away. If you have wifi, then definitely ask them to add your business right away! You don’t want to wait for them to get home, you don’t want them to forget. Most people have smartphones these days so they can connect with you right away. If not, then the print flyers will remind them when they get home.
Even if you get a negative review it’s not the end of the world. You can make this up with an owner comment and offer an apology if it was really your fault. If not, then you can rip that person to shreds tactfully without actually insulting them (if you are able, do not try this if you are not good with words). Give your side of the argument and always explain why this may have happened and how you are willing to correct it. If it is just a subjective opinion, then you can always explain your side as well.