5 Reliable Ways to Get Oodles of Local Business Reviews

Gabrielle C. King

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How can you get local business reviews that truly move the needle?

In today’s digital landscape, word of mouth isn’t just whispers on the street anymore—it’s loud and clear online, amplified by the power of customer reviews. For small businesses, online customer reviews hold immense power, influencing spending habits and purchasing decisions. Without them, businesses suffer lost sales and the consequences of lower search engine rankings.

But the question for many remains: How can you get local business reviews that truly move the needle?

Why local business reviews matter more than ever

There is one overarching reason why small business owners must encourage customer reviews: consumers almost always read what others have written about their experiences before making a purchase. In fact, one 2023 survey reported that 98% and 76% of buyers, respectively, “occasionally” or “regularly” read online reviews when researching local businesses.

Additional reasons to proactively solicit customer comments and ratings include their ability to provide social proof, attract new patrons, drive leads and revenue, and boost your online reputation. They also influence purchasing decisions, increase brand awareness and trust, better your rating and local ranking, and generate insights that can help you improve your service and offerings.

The conclusion is obvious: there are numerous benefits to soliciting reviews from your customers. To get more local business reviews, use the following time-tested strategies.

1. Focus on service

I feel the need to state the obvious: if you want to receive glowing local business reviews and create raving fans, you need to provide not just good customer service but exceptional customer service. Meeting minimum standards like saying “please” and “thank you” won’t win you reviews; as New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer said during his Stay Paid podcast interview, “Competency doesn’t create conversations.” In other words, no one is going to shout your name from the rooftops simply because you did the job you were paid to do.

CLICK to listen.

Conversely, according to the same 2023 survey previously noted, 81% of respondents reported they were “likely” or “highly likely” to leave a review if a business went above and beyond to provide them with an exceptional experience. What’s particularly interesting (and encouraging) is that 79% of those who had a negative experience initially that was made “very positive” were also likely or highly likely to leave a review.

So clearly, delivering remarkable service is essential to enhancing your online reputation. But what else can you do to encourage customers to post local business reviews?

2. Ask for them

While I don’t usually make a habit of being blatantly obvious, the easiest way to get anyone to do anything is to ask. In fact, one source reports that when asked, up to 72% of customers will leave comments—but how and when you ask will make a difference.

Catch them when they’re happy and engaged. Perfect moments to request a review are as soon as possible after a successful transaction or the resolution of an issue or when you’ve exceeded expectations. However, if you’re selling a product, it’s advisable to wait one to three days. This period is long enough to give customers a chance to use what they’ve purchased but short enough that their experience is still fresh in their minds.

Set the expectation. Service professionals in particular should make asking a routine part of their process.

When you first meet, let your customers know that your goal is to achieve their desired outcome while providing the very best service and that when you deliver on your promise, you hope they’ll write a review. Then at key stages during the project or transaction, check in to ensure their satisfaction. And look for key moments, like when you receive a compliment, to ask if they would share their experience so others may read about it.

3. Make it easy and convenient

Time is at a premium for most folks, so if your request for a testimonial can’t be fulfilled with ease and convenience, odds are your clientele won’t bother.


You can make it simple for customers to leave reviews when you:

  • Provide direct links to multiple platforms. Since Google distributes 73% of all online reviews, you’ll want to prioritize this platform. (You’ll find instructions for generating a Google review link here.) Still, consumers will appreciate being given a choice, including whether they’d be willing to have their reviews shared on other sites.
  • Include instructions in your request. Don’t assume that everyone will know how to navigate a form or site. A short set of instructions can clear up any possible confusion.
  • Include your request in emails, texts, and on receipts. Point people to the link(s) in your signature line, at the end of texts, and on receipts. Use visual devices like emojis and font colors to draw their attention to them.
  • Encourage reviews on social media. Post links and reminders to review sites, and take the opportunity to engage with your audience by thanking them for their comments.
  • Use review management software. Smart business owners automate everything they possibly can, and that includes the observation and management of what customers say about their businesses. While there are various options available, at a minimum, you want a solution that will request, monitor, and respond to local business reviews across a variety of sources.

4. Personalize your approach

A generic request to “leave a review” rarely resonates with consumers—you’re more likely to secure one if you make your appeal personal.

Begin by using their first names. In How to Win Friends and Influence People [#ad], Dale Carnegie wrote, “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Using someone’s name helps quickly build rapport and makes them feel good about you and themselves. Not a bad start when making a request!

Include specific aspects of their interaction with your business. These details not only tell your customers that they are important enough to be remembered but also remind them of their positive experience. This gentle reminder can provoke feelings of reciprocity, or indebtedness, that will encourage them to “pay you back” with a favorable comment.

Explain how reviews benefit your business. People are more likely to do a favor for someone if they are given a reason for the request. (Interestingly, simply having a reason is more important than the reason itself.) When asking someone to write a review, take the opportunity to explain how such feedback helps your business.

Develop a few scripted explanations, see which ones produce the most responses, and then use those reasons consistently. Here are some examples to inspire you:

  • “Most customers find us online, and great reviews make it easier for them to do so.”
  • “Customer reviews are the best way for people to learn about our business.”
  • “We’re shooting for 50 Google reviews this month, and yours would really help us out.”

5. Offer incentives

While not always appropriate, small incentives like discounts, loyalty points, reasonable gifts, a free product or service, or raffles can encourage some customers to share their opinions. Just ensure that your inducements don’t violate a platform’s rules. For instance, Yelp doesn’t permit businesses to even ask for reviews, while Google’s fake engagement policy prohibits incentives.

ReminderMedia clients get 15 free magazines when they refer a new client!

Bonus tip

Keep the review process authentic—it’s how you encourage trust. Don’t pressure customers for reviews or engage in unethical practices like offering bribes or removing negative reviews. Respond to all reviews, positive and negative, with professionalism and graciousness. Address concerns and use constructive feedback to improve your offerings. Check out this StayPaid podcast episode for helpful tips about how to deal with negative comments.

CLICK to listen.

Take the next step to garner more local business reviews today

While you’re thinking about it (and if you haven’t already), set up your Google Business Profile. As soon as your business is verified, retrieve your review link and then start sharing it.

Building a base of positive local business reviews takes time and consistent effort. By focusing on service, directly asking for reviews, creating a hassle-free process, personalizing your requests, offering incentives when permitted, and utilizing the right tools, you can turn every satisfied customer into your personal brand ambassador, propelling your small business toward greater success.


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