Customer reviews and word-of-mouth advertising can make or break a business. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a passive participant when it comes to customer reviews just because you’re a cannabis business owner. There are plenty of things you can do to gather more positive reviews, demonstrate your commitment to your customers, and show the world that your business provides a top-notch experience. Improve your customer review game with our guide.
Where are customer reviews usually posted?
Customer reviews generally live on a third-party platform or on a reseller’s website. Here are some common places you can expect to find customer reviews — places where you might want to set up a profile for your business.
Google Business Profile: A must-have for any cannabis business, your Google Business Profile includes all the key information about your company at a glance, including contact info, location, hours of operation, and images.
GBP listings also include customer reviews, complete with a starred rating that totals the cumulative of all your reviews. Around 60 percent of people read reviews on a company’s GBP. It offers a powerful source of social proof right on the search engine results page.
Yelp: You can’t think of “customer reviews” without thinking of Yelp. Yelp remains a go-to source for customer reviews of all types of businesses, including cannabis businesses. Most Yelp reviews are focused on the business generally, rather than specific products or services, though it’s common for users to reference their individual experiences in detail.
Leafly: Leafly allows users to leave customer reviews on particular strains, cannabis products, and even cannabis dispensaries. It includes a detailed list of cannabis dispensaries by location, which is important for retailers to take advantage of.
Weedmaps: Similar to Leafly, Weedmaps maintains a directory of cannabis dispensaries and enables customer reviews on its platform. As a well-respected name in cannabis, Weedmaps is another important stop for any cannabis retailer.
Reddit: Reddit is a top social channel for cannabis consumers and a more informal source of reviews, which can also make it especially powerful for your brand or shop. Cannabis enthusiasts often take to Reddit to review everything from individual products to product categories to cannabis businesses. This thriving cannabis community may be difficult to tap into, as much of these customer reviews are anonymous, but getting a thumbs up from this discerning crowd can be a big boon to your business.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you’re not sure where else to look for customer reviews about businesses like yours, ask some of your customers where they go for reliable information. You may find a new platform that suits your business perfectly.
Customer testimonials and how they differ from customer reviews
A customer testimonial is a positive story that’s deliberately requested for marketing purposes. When a customer testimonial is offered, it’s with the knowledge that the business plans to promote the story to grow their business. Customer testimonials are usually posted on a business’s website, rather than a third-party site.
Customer reviews are generally offered spontaneously and can be either positive or negative, reflecting a customer’s personal experience with a particular product or service a company offers. Incentivizing customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile or on sites like Leafly or Weedmaps doesn’t make them a testimonial.
How to ask for customer reviews
Some customers are motivated to leave a review on their own, but most will simply complete their transaction and go about their day, even if they were totally satisfied. Around 37 percent of customers leave reviews after a positive interaction with your company, while a much smaller percentage — around 6 percent — are motivated to leave a review after a bad experience.
If you’re stumped as to how to get customer reviews from more of your customers, consider the following tips to make it easier.
- Simply ask: Most of your customers would be happy to leave a positive review of your business. All you have to do is ask! If you see a frequent customer or think a customer is particularly satisfied, ask them if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review. Explain how this helps your business refine its service and make it even better, as well as how important it is to your business to demonstrate its dedication to quality service. In many cases, customers will understand — and may even want to help out.
- Make it easy: Simplifying the process increases the likelihood that a customer follows through. Consider displaying QR codes that link directly to your Google Business Profile or another review site of your choice to help customers quickly navigate to where they need to go to leave a review.
- Offer an incentive: If you really want to increase the amount of customer reviews your business receives, offer an incentive and let people know about it at the point of sale. Consider providing a small discount or a freebie to customers who can show that they left a review. Even modest incentives can encourage more people to leave customer reviews.
- Give out free samples: Do you have a new product that you want more customer reviews for? Try handing out free samples at the point of sale and asking customers to leave a product review if they like it. Everyone loves a free sample, so you’ll already be starting off from an advantageous position.
Most customers will be happy to offer their thoughts and feedback if you only ask. The key is to give them multiple, simple avenues to get online and put those thoughts into writing. Once you do so, the customer reviews are bound to start rolling in.
5 customer review tips to keep in mind
1. Set up detailed profiles on review sites
Before you can expect to gather a bunch of customer reviews, you need to make sure your profiles are set up and thoroughly completed. That means including contact information like your phone number, email, and website URL, as well as photos that help to identify your business, products, and services. If you can include more personal information, like the names of particular managers, that can help build a stronger connection with customers as well.
You can’t expect people to engage with a profile that’s half-finished, so take the time to make sure yours looks great before you start asking customers to leave reviews. Remember, as circumstances change for your business, you’ll need to update these profiles too. Leaving outdated information on review sites may confuse customers and lead to a negative experience.
2. Engage with reviewers
Don’t just let customers send their reviews into a vacuum — engage with them by replying and keeping the conversation going. When reviewers leave positive feedback, be sure to thank them and invite them to come back. The more personalized your responses, the better. After all, these customers have gone out of their way to review your products and services. Acknowledging them and showing appreciation for their effort can go a long way to boosting loyalty and encouraging others to leave reviews as well.
3. Leverage negative reviews, too
Negative reviews are also good, in moderation. Having some negative reviews can make your product look more authentic. Think about it: if you see a product with a handful of reviews and an average score of 5 stars, you may wonder how legitimate the feedback could be. However, if you see a product with many reviews and an average score of 4.7 stars, you’re more likely to accept that the feedback is authentic and the product is actually good.
The way you respond to negative reviews can also demonstrate your commitment to improving service quality and your transparency with customers. By proactively replying to negative reviews and seeking ways to improve customer experience, you can actually build brand loyalty. And, if you’re able to offer a discount or otherwise make amends with the negative reviewer, you may even turn them into a repeat customer.
4. Promote reviews on your website and social media
Once you have a robust profile set up and the customer reviews are rolling in, you can promote them elsewhere as part of an omnichannel digital marketing strategy. By directing users to your review pages, you can demonstrate the valuable social proof that shows you offer quality products and services. What’s more, this can have a compounding effect that drives more customer reviews, increasing the archive of feedback you’ve already gathered.
5. Outsource customer review management
If you’re thinking this all sounds like a lot of work, you’re right. Properly managing review site profiles, gathering customer reviews, and engaging with reviewers can be a full time job, especially as your footprint grows. So, if your digital marketing budget allows for it, consider outsourcing the customer review management process to a marketing agency.
The best marketing agencies will handle everything for you, from setting up review site profiles to gathering customer reviews to engaging with users who provide feedback. You should still collect customer reviews at the point of sale, but you won’t have to do the work behind the scenes to make sure it all comes together. Instead, you can just focus on keeping your business running.
Demonstrate customer satisfaction with customer reviews
Your customers want to give reviews and have their voices heard, and luckily for you, their feedback can be a powerful marketing tool. By using the tips above to get more customer reviews and showcasing them in the right way, your business can become a social proof machine. Nothing convinces a new customer to buy from you like independent, authentic customer reviews that validate your products and services. Don’t sleep on customer reviews — start gathering them today.
If you’re looking for support when it comes to customer reviews or any other aspect of cannabis digital marketing, CannaContent can help. Check out our services to learn more about what we can do for your business.