I was a local business the other day and when I went to leave I was offered a $5 Starbucks card if I would give them a customer review on Yelp or Google+. The interesting part is I have seen this many times and I often see SEO Agencies and Marketing teams promoting this type of behavior. I guess everyone feels it is a win win situation and if you give the customer an incentive they are more likely to leave that great review.
What major Marketing Agencies and companies don’t understand is this is actually against the Federal Trade Commission. Now, don’t roll your eyes.. I know we are incredibly regulated theses days and SEO is almost impossible with out breaking one rule or another. But if your company is using incentives to seek out customer reviews I would stop the practice immediately.
It is your job to be upfront with your consumers and paying or offering incentives for customer reviews is not being upfront. Reviews can make or break a company and that is why it is so important to set up a customer review platform or customer review system to allow you to gain the customer reviews you need but also to fall in line with the rules and regulations. You can read more about what the FTC has to say about this and why they have this area regulated here:
All coupons and forms of incentives are against Google’s TOS and in fact practicing in this type of behavior can put your website and business into jeopardy.
I have worked with a lot of local businesses and by having them simply remind customers to leave a great review often helps a lot. Customers are busy and they can forget. There is also ways you can optimize your website to make it easier for your customers to find the perfect place to leave their review. In the end it is actually pretty easy to obtain customer reviews and offering incentives isn’t even really necessary.
You can also read more here: http://localu.org/blog/do-not-incentivize-reviews-not-even-a-little-bit/
If you need help optimizing your customer reviews let us kow!
Ysais Digital Marketing
Austin SEO Company