Tool Review:  After many conversations with CallRail clients over the past year, we’ve realized how helpful it can be to share knowledge of software tools with businesses and marketing agencies. The goal of our Tool Review series is to share with you some tools that might make your job as a marketer a bit easier. Unless otherwise mentioned, CallRail has no financial interest in any of the tools we write about here.

One of the toughest jobs for local business owners is managing online feedback, namely reviews, on platforms like Yelp, Google+, and Facebook. Considering the impact these reviews have on a business’s reputation and search engine placement, you might think that there are a lot of companies out there trying to simplify the process of review acquisition. While we see plenty of review “monitoring” solutions on the market, not many products make review acquisition a simple, affordable process.

In my work with local businesses over the past 4 years I’ve seen an ever increasing reliance on reviews for ranking business search results on discovery platforms like Google and Yelp. After all, reviews from real people about real businesses should be a fairly good indicator of that business’s existence and relevance in a particular geographic area. The operative word here is “real”. These platforms each have review algorithms that aim to ferret out the “real” reviews and filter the ones that don’t seem legitimate.  As a rule I recommend going after real reviews instead of trying to figure out how to game these review algo’s. But therein lies the problem: How can business owners get these real reviews?

Asking customers to write reviews is not a reliable review acquisition strategy. The conversion rate of this strategy is abysmal.  The problem is not that customers are unwilling to share their experience. Many are more than willing. The challenge is in the follow through. Even when a customer does remember to write that review, they will often have barriers when they go to Yelp or Google to write that review. Either they don’t have an account or don’t know exactly where to leave the review.

Now imagine a tool that politely handles this follow-through challenge on behalf of your business. This tool would only need your customer’s email address and links to your social profiles to get started. Over time this tool would ask your customer’s a simple question: How likely are you to recommend this business to a friend? Based on that rating, this tool would determine whether to automatically post this review to your website and whether to prompt that customer for a review on a discovery platform.

Created by local search marketing experts, Mike Blumenthal and Don Campbell, GetFiveStars takes the pain out of online review acquisition.

Created by local search marketing experts, Mike Blumenthal and Don Campbell, GetFiveStars takes the pain out of online review acquisition.

What you’ve just imagined is the core of a review acquisition and management product called GetFiveStars. GetFiveStars is remarkably affordable, simple to set up, and removes the frustrations with getting real reviews both on your website and on sites like Google+, Facebook, & Yelp. The project is near and dear to its founders, Don Campbell and Mike Blumenthal. Both have worked with local businesses and intimately understand the frustrations of review acquisition.

A few more points about what GetFiveStars can do for your business, or if you’re a marketing agency for your client’s business:

  • Intercept negative feedback before it shows up on other platforms – Often the reason customers write negative reviews about a business is because they didn’t feel their frustrations were heard. Allowing customers to give feedback in private may allow business owners to hear those concerns and respond accordingly before that negative experience gets broadcast to the world.
  • Customizable Templates & Settings – Create templates for email that match your company’s branding easily with GetFiveStars. Settings exist for adjusting the rating threshold for whether reviews should be published to your website, as well as how often to send a request for feedback to your customers. You can also choose which review platforms are most important for your business in order to target those for review acquisition. These are just a few of the levers you can tweak within the platform.
  • WordPress Plugin to Display Reviews on Your Website – The developers at GetFiveStars created a plugin for WordPress websites that will automatically display the reviews you want shown wherever you would like on your website. The review code generated by the plugin will also structure those reviews with rich snippets, giving search engines another data point that may end up displaying review stars next to the website on a search engine results page.
  • White-label Version & Pricing for Marketing Agencies – For some agencies this is an attractive tool to deploy for each of your clients. Luckily, GetFiveStars has developed a white-label version and bulk pricing to accommodate agencies.
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee – Give it a test drive for 30 days and if you’re not happy, then get your money back. It’s that simple.  Get Started Here.

The team at GetFiveStars is continually developing new features that make the platform more useful. I’m excited to see where they go with the product. I’ve seen it in action, and I’m quite impressed with its simplicity and effectiveness at cleaning up a very messy process for business owners.