A Review Handout Alternative: Try P&P To Get More Local Reviews
Everyone knows how important reviews are — they factor in to the local algorithm and they play a huge part in click-throughs and building trust. Good reviews can make you, and bad reviews can break you… so businesses do everything they can to get positive reviews.
Since Google doesn’t allow on-site reviews, we have to rely on customers to take the time and effort after leaving the location to sit down, log in, and write a review. Small business owners and SEOs the world over know how hard that is to actually do.
As Local SEOs started to really specialize in reviews, the review handout became incredibly popular. For those of you who don’t know, a review handout is a flowchart printed on a piece of paper with simple instructions for leaving reviews. Some flowcharts are simple; others get more complicated and offer several different review site choices.
Local SEO firm Whitespark even created an awesome do-it-yourself review handout generator, so any business could create and print their own handouts. The world rejoiced and businesses collected more reviews.
But The Handout Didn’t Work For Us…
While the handout works well for many businesses, it fell completely flat in the automotive niche. In this space, the purchase process is long and drawn out, and between the paperwork you get from your sales guy and the packet you get from financing, you leave with a huge stack of papers. The review handout gets lost in the shuffle.
Making matters worse, in many cases, customers were less than computer savvy. Even though the review handouts clearly listed easy instructions for leaving reviews, many customers couldn’t figure it out. They’d rarely used a computer and not even been on AOL — they’d definitely never used Google Places or Maps.
So We Came Up With Something Better…
We came up with a method that vastly outperforms the handout generator… What we ended up calling “P&P,” which stands for “Postcard & Page.”
We create branded 4×6 postcards for each dealer with one simple instruction: go to domain.com/reviews to leave a review.
No questions, no flowchart — a simple card that matches the dealership’s website and branding with just one instruction (and sometimes the dealership’s Facebook URL). Then, on the /reviews page, there’s minimal text, so it’s less confusing.
The copy simply asks the customer for a review, and includes a link directly to the business’ Google My Business page (aka Places). Below the link, there’s a note that a Google account is needed, and a simple list of 5 steps walks customers through setting up a Google account if they don’t have one.
We ask the dealers to hand out the cards at the final handshake, when the customer is about to get in the car and drive home. The card is the last thing the customer receives, and since it’s graphic and stands out from the paperwork, it doesn’t get lost as easily.
Control The Review Flow
Using a postcard and a page also allows us to control where the reviews will go. For businesses that have no Google reviews, we only include a link to Google – that’s all we care about. Once a business has enough Google reviews, we can diversify and either send customers to a different site or we can offer choices for multiple review sites.
Top Secret Pro Tip:
When you link to your Google My Business page, add this string to the end of the URL:
When customers click on the link, the review window will pop up automatically, so they don’t have to search for the link to leave the review.
It’s important to note: You shouldn’t link directly to your Yelp page. It’s against the Terms of Service for Yelp for businesses to ask for reviews, so a link to your page could get you into hot water. Instead, if you want to push for Yelp reviews, just show the Yelp logo (and don’t link it) along with some text that says something like “find us on Yelp.”
No Printing Changes = Easier To Implement
When we change the sites we’re targeting for reviews, we don’t have to print new handouts, since the changes all happen on the /reviews page. Since the handouts never change, they can be printed in bulk. Also, since they never change, it’s easier to get the sales team to work the cards into their routine.
Several of our dealers actually used the postcards as postcards — they’d hand one card to the customer when they bought the car, and they’d mail another card to the customer a week later with a handwritten note on the back. Sure, it’s more expensive to send cards in the mail, but if that helps your business get more reviews, and more reviews mean more business… then it’s worth it.
So, up your Local SEO game and start using Postcards & Pages instead of review handouts. It’s better branding for your business, and you’re much more likely to get good reviews. Yes, they’re a bit more expensive, but you’ll quickly see how many more review your businesses will get and the cost won’t be a factor.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
Get the latest news in local search marketing each week.