Internet reviews are your online reputation- more good reviews means a stronger online reputation and more customers! Don't think reviews affect your business? Look at the snapshot of a Google search results page and think about where people are most likely to click - hover over the image for the answer!
Here's a list of simple steps to get reviews and attract more customers.
1) It sounds obvious, but you need to ask your customers to review your business; if you don’t ask for reviews, you’re not likely to get any!
2) Make sure your directory listings (Your business Google + page, True Local, Yellow Pages, Tripadvisor, and Yelp listings) are complete – if your business looks like you don’t care about how people perceive you online, you are less likely to get positive reviews. At the very least, claim your listings and make sure you’ve got the correct contact details and opening hours!
3) Focus on customers you want to leave reviews. If you’ve got some really loyal customers, they’re the best people to ask to leave customer reviews – ask them next time you see them! Make sure and tell them that your star rating is the strength of your reputation – it matters to you.
4) If you’ve got customers’ email addresses, send them an email with a link to your google + page, so you get more google plus reviews. Here's Google’s guidance for getting customer reviews on Google +. Similar guidance can also be found on Yellow Pages and True Local. HiPages and ServiceSeeking don’t publish anything on getting ServiceSeeking reviews or HiPages reviews, but you can find plenty of discussion on Whirlpool
5) Ask customers to mention the services you provide when they leave a True local review or a Yellow Pages review: If you’re a painter, ask them to mention house painting: If you’re an accountant, mention tax returns. This will help you to show on the front page of Google when prospective customers are looking for businesses like yours.
6) Respond to reviews – for good reviews, just a short response to thank them for their customer review is ideal. If the customer review is negative, or has a low gold star rating, address the issue quickly.Here' a guide to help you fix bad reviews and removing online reviews.
Helpful links for getting good online reviews
Local Visibility's The Complete Guide to Google reviews
SearchEngineLand – Understanding the difference between a review and a rating
TrueLocal - TrueLocal review guidance
Yellow Pages - Yellow Pages review guidance