More than ever, consumer reviews are playing a big role in purchasing decisions. Not only do 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, but the quality and quantity of a business’s reviews are among Google’s most important ranking factors. Want to break into the local three-pack, which accounts for 41% of all clicks? Then you will need to actively manage your online reviews.
We work with many enterprise-level organisations across all industries to develop strategies that increase the quantity and quality of reviews. Although the majority of satisfied customers will gladly leave reviews and comments, many brands are reluctant to ask their customers for feedback. With that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the most effective tactics to generate valuable review content.
How you can generate more reviews
First, let’s focus on the customer journey. There are various methods to solicit feedback from customers at different points in their journey to purchase. From surveys to emails, most of them require plenty of thought, time, and effort to set up, especially if there’s an element of automation (e.g. post-purchase messaging). One-to-one email notifications create a personal touch point between the customer and the company, while surveys allow you to obtain more in-depth opinions on specific topics.
QR codes are another option. Easy to create, affordable, and increasingly common since the onset of the pandemic, QR codes can be used to direct customers to a business’s Google Business Profile to leave a review and rating. As such, it’s no surprise that the adoption of QR codes is growing rapidly. According to Christoff, the leading provider of QR codes for businesses in the US, QR code usage by U.S. merchants tripled between March 2020 and April 2021. Bitly also recorded its highest number of scanned codes in October 2021.
This uptake is being driven by QR codes’ relative simplicity (and the fact that they’re free!). All you have to do is take your business listing’s URL—as well as the URL that takes the user directly to the section to leave a review—and then:
- Enter the URL(s) into a QR code generator
- Use the generated QR code to create a frictionless review experience to your customers
- Repeat for each location
Promote the QR code on your print and digital marketing materials, as well as in-store. QR codes can be placed on storecounters, slipped into shopping bags, or hand-delivered by staff. They can also be used in the context of home delivery. Just remember to customise the presentation of your QR codes to attract attention—and be sure to analyse the resulting feedback to inform your marketing tactics and strategies.
QR codes in the real world
Having incorporated QR codes into a number of our clients’ Local Presence Management strategies, we have seen a 79% increase in average review volume and, just as importantly, an average rating improvement of 0.4 stars compared to the same period the preceding year.
In the case of Valentine, a Quebec-based fast food chain, we created a unique QR code per location. When these QR codes were used on countertop flyers, Valentine saw an outrageous 95% increase in reviews (to a total of 833 reviews) between late June and early September 2021. Moreover, the vast majority of the reviews received were 4 or 5 stars, confirming that this proactive approach to reviews can resonate with customers.
Introducing QR codes to your digital marketing strategy can be beneficial to your business, especially if you have multiple stores or locations. They’re an affordable way to generate reviews, which in turn boost your visibility online, attract more customers, and help you stand out from the competition.
A word on authenticity
We must mention that requesting reviews from your customers must be done honestly and without any quid pro quo. It is against Google’s guidelines for any business to bribe, induce, or purchase reviews. For example, Google prohibits businesses from incentivising positive reviews with discounts or other promotions. Ignore these rules and Google may remove reviews or even ban your business from all Google services. The only authentic approach is to ask your customers to leave honest reviews and do your best to deserve good ratings!
About our reputation management services
DAC helps brands across the globe manage their online reputations to drive transformational growth. Explore how we’ve helped other brands or learn more about our unique approach to reputation management.
Special thanks to Thomas Rainaud for his contribution to this article.