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How to Get Online Reviews For Your Accounting Firm

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by Hugh Duffy

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Taking the time to get reviews online is extremely important. More the 90% of potential clients read reviews before visiting a business or calling their office. Reading reviews helps a prospective client overcome inertia and develop a sense of trust in your firm. Acquiring reviews also helps you get found online as your local listings will be displayed more prominently in the search engines.

But, many accounting firms struggle to get online reviews. How do you ask clients? What do you say?

Here are SIX tips for getting reviews for your accounting firm online

1. Just Ask Many business owners that are new to getting reviews are simply just afraid to ask for reviews. Don't be! Your clients will be happy to give you a review. If you provide good service, they will not feel like you're bothering or pestering them.

2. Follow Up Just like you, your clients are busy. They probably have every intention of leaving a review but just forget. If you see that a client you asked hasn't left a review don't feel bad following up one or two times. As long as you're not emailing them every day, most people appreciate the reminder.

3. Make it Easy For Them When you ask for the review, make it as simple as possible for them. That's why we suggest you send people to a "Leave us Review" page on your website. This page gives them choices of Yelp, Google, etc. This way they can pick the platform that they have used in the past. And, since many review sites require you to have an account, they can choose the one that works for them which will increase conversion.

4. Review for a Review If you're doing work for a business owner and are a customer or their services, consider offering to reciprocate. Start by paying it forward and leaving reviews for some local businesses you do work with. You can follow up and let them know and ask if they'd be willing to leave you an honest review in return.

5. Have a Schedule If your current goal is to get to 10 reviews, set yourself a weekly reminder to reach out to clients to ask for reviews/remind clients to leave a review until you meet your goal.

6. Don't Get Discouraged A lot of people will forget or ignore your first attempt at a review. Typically, people leave a review on the 2nd or 3rd request. So, stick with it!

Best Practices and FAQs For Getting Reviews For Your Accounting Firms

1. Double Dipping? Is it OK to ask someone to leave the same review on two sites (such as Yelp AND Google Business?) The short answer is yes, but it should be done in moderation. If you have a client who leaves a really great review it's OK to ask them to leave it on another platform as well. But, you'll want to reserve it just for the occasion of really great reviews. You want the majority of your reviews to be different across platforms.

2. Can I send a mass email asking for reviews? It's not suggested that you send emails asking for reviews to large groups of people at once. The reason is that local listings like Yelp find it suspicious if you happen to get a lot of reviews in a single day. They prefer that you don't solicit reviews, and so when they see a lot on one day, they assume you are asking for reviews or providing incentives for reviews. Because of this, it's suggested you send out in small groups. Try inviting just a small group of clients every few days or every week.

3. How do I find the review links to send to my clients? If you have a Build Your Firm website you can ask to have a "leave us a review" page installed. It's suggested you sent clients to a page like this so they can choose the platform they want to leave the review on.

4. What happens if I get a bad review? Many people worry about getting a bad review online. But, the truth is a bad review isn't something to fear. As long as you have some good reviews, a bad review isn't going to ruin your online reputation. Consumers read reviews online all the time. They are used to seeing 1-2 bad reviews and understanding that they might not be truly indicative of the product or service if many other people have left good reviews. There are even some studies that show that consumers trust a service that doesn't have a perfect star rating more because it validates that real people are reviewing the services.

We never suggest that you respond to a negative review directly on the website. If you want to take the discussion offline, that's fine. Otherwise, the best way to combat a bad review is to simply "cover it up" with good reviews from happy clients.

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Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Hugh has more than thirty years of marketing experience. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants on how to improve their marketing and make more money from their accounting practice.