Getting brand ambassadors for your company is one of the best ways to increase your brand exposure and to increase sales.

People know that when you are saying positive things about your products and services, you are trying to make a sale. When other people say those same positive things, people are more likely to believe them since they don’t have anything to gain from it.

Getting customer reviews is one of the easiest ways to get brand ambassadors and to reap these benefits. Here’s what a BrightLocal 2016 online consumers report revealed about customer reviews and more:

You Just Need to Ask

Have you been banging your head trying to figure out how to get more online reviews?

You post a link to your profile on review sites like Yelp or Google, and you include links to professional organizations like the Better Business Bureau, but your numbers remain stagnant.

What do you need to do to get more people to leave you a review?

The BrightLocal report says that it’s a lot easier than you might think: You just need to ask.

The report said that 70 percent of people will leave a review for your business if you just ask them to do it. You can “ask” by including a call to action at the end of a blog post or an email. You can also do it by emailing or texting people on your subscriber list, or you can post a request on your social media accounts.

The more you ask, the more reviews you are likely to get, which will only compound the positive effects you experience.

Other Key Findings

BrightLocal looked at consumers’ behavior concerning reviews to get a better understanding of what they look for and how they are influenced by them.

The report found that consumers are most likely to look at reviews for restaurants and cafes (60 percent of people surveyed looked at these reviews). The second most important category of reviews was for hotels and bed and breakfasts (40 percent of people surveyed looked at these reviews).

Other popular categories included hair and beauty services, automotive services, healthcare professionals, and clothing stores.

The majority of people – 59 percent – said they look at two or three review sites before they make a decision about a business. The remainder was split almost evenly between looking at only one review site or looking at four or more review sites.

Respondents said they looked primarily at the overall star rating of the business, followed by the sentiment of the reviews. The timeliness of the reviews was the next most important factor, factored by the number of reviews the business had.

Why Reviews Matter

Reviews play a significant role in not just the individual decision to buy but also the overall public perception of the brand.

The BrightLocal report found that the majority of people need to read four to six reviews before they feel they can trust a business. Only 32 percent said they could form an opinion about the business after reading just one to three reviews.

The majority of people – 39 percent – also said that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business. Only 7 percent said that they read reviews but that those reviews don’t influence their decision to work with a business.

Nearly half of the respondents said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations so long as there are multiple reviews and they believe those reviews are authentic. Only 4 percent of people said they don’t trust reviews at all.

Just over half of the respondents said that the very next thing they do after reading positive reviews about a business is to visit their website.

It is clear that getting positive reviews will help you to get more potential customers onto your site and then convert those visitors into actual customers. The more positive reviews you have, the more visitors and sales you will get. You will also create greater brand recognition and a positive reputation for your brand.

Fortunately, all you have to do to get more reviews is to ask for them. Make sure you include it as a call to action in your blog posts and your social media updates. Set up an autoresponder asking people to leave you a positive review after they have had a successful purchase or satisfactory encounter with your business.

Just don’t do anything that suggests you are influencing the review, such as offering people special discounts or freebies in exchange for leaving the review. In order for the reviews to have the desired impact, people have to believe that they are sincere. If you are doing anything to call that into question, you won’t get what you need out of your reviews.

Of course, you should also include icons and links to all your profiles on review sites to make it easy for people to find where to leave the review.

Marketing 2016 Online Consumers Report