Easily Get Restaurant Reviews From Customers

These days, people don’t buy anything without reading reviews first. Amazon.com is the world’s favorite shopping mall. Visitors look for an item that is both heavily reviewed and has a mostly positive rating. There is suspicion of items that have no reviews, as that means to most folks that the business is probably new and the item they’re looking at is of questionable quality. Positive customer reviews weigh in big time within the consumer psyche and the convenience at which reviews can be posted means that every interaction with a customer is a potential opportunity to make or break many future sales. These ideas began with the retail industry, and they’ve spread like wildfire to restaurants.

So, should you ask for reviews or not? Let’s review the pros and cons:

PROS

Incentivizing is a great motivator for everything in the world. If you want reviews from your customers, offer them something of value. Asking for reviews isn’t bad as long as you’re not flat-out paying for them. Put something fun together: drop review submitters’ names into a monthly raffle for a free lunch, pick a top reviewer and send them to an exotic themed vacation (think Olive Garden sending families to Italy), have your top chef prepare dinner for a certain special patron. There are tons of ideas that involve a thematic approach to incentivized rewards versus just handing out cash. Get your patrons involved and excited and reap the benefits of a truly passionate reviewer!

If you choose to nudge patrons in the right direction, make it easy for them. Offering them a comment card is one way to go, and you can put that review up on your website, but how can you get the word out on UrbanSpoon or Yelp, two of the most popular restaurant review sites? You’ve got to tell customers where to submit their feedback. “Search for us on UrbanSpoon!” is a quick, easy and non-pushy way to let people know you’re active on that site. Make sure to develop a way to track your review-submitting patrons so that you can reward them. You’ll generally receive an email notification when a review is submitted to either one of those sites.

Posting restaurant reviews can be fun! Think about the power of mobile Smartphone applications: a patron can take a picture of your menu (or their meal plate) on their phone and post it online instantly, even while they’re still eating their Southwest Quesadilla Special. They can then immediately “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” your business based on their experience. This is incredibly helpful to other customers. PRO TIP: Consider taking clear pictures of your menu and your location and uploading them to review sites before someone else does. Doing so helps potential new customers decide if they want to eat at your establishment by taking the guesswork out of what you’ve got to offer. The more information that’s readily available about your business, the better.

CONS

The first question you need to ask yourself honestly is this: “Is my restaurant ready to be reviewed?” Many restaurant owners get antsy and jump the gun, so to speak, in taking steps to force reviews. They may have had a slow grand opening and think that getting “good press” on sites like UrbanSpoon and Yelp is the only way to stay operative. These sites are dynamite for influencing potential customers, but hard selling reviews is not the way to go. If your restaurant isn’t 100% where you want it to be at, incentivizing reviews could also mean reminding people that they can post negative reviews, too. As many small business owners have learned, one negative review that’s boosted to the front page of Google can spell doom for their business. Just like a positive review can encourage new folks to try an unfamiliar restaurant, a negative review can drive just as many away. Lesson: don’t force reviews if you’re not ready for them.

Positive reviews from non-incentivized customers will almost always feel more “real.” So although it may take longer to get a review, it may be worth your wait.

Have you ever read a restaurant review and just known that it was the owner writing it, or one of the company’s employees? How did that make you feel? Most consumers who feel like they’ve experienced a fake review will immediately go elsewhere, with a permanent sense of distrust in that business.

Some review databases (like Yelp) frown on incentivized/paid reviews. They’ll go as far to delete over-zealous, fake sounding reviews in order to keep their site “honest.” In this case, it may not be worth the investment to reward a reviewer.

If your restaurant is outstanding on both service and menu fronts, you may not have to encourage review submittal at all. A new patron should be so floored after having left your establishment that they want to share their experience with the world. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the server was “on it,” the food was excellent, the wait was nonexistent, and the atmosphere was just fun? I bet you wanted to tell people about it. This same theory applies to restaurant reviews: provide an entirely excellent experience at every point of contact and expect to be rewarded for your hard work.

The answer is up to you. If you can solicit reviews in a fun, creative way, that plan might work out well for your business. Beware of over-incentivizing; remember you want honest reviews, not a bunch of fluff. No doubt, reviews are a superb way to generate new business. You might even say they’ve become essential in today’s world of infinite information. Keep in mind that consistently great service will be rewarded with words of praise, so keep your bar set high, your plates clean, drinks full, food hot, and staff friendly. You’ll eventually get to the point where you don’t need to solicit reviews anymore, they’ll just come naturally.

David Ogilvy’s ‘How to Create Advertising That Sells’ Review Part 4

How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 4

Best for Last...

Here’s final article covering David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 4. We’ll take a look at Rules 28 through 38. Ogilvy said, “It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising has a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” Pay close attention to these next 11 rules. The simplicity is profound. The pay-off is enormous!

Maxim 28: Keep it Simple Stupid

Don’t make consumers figure out the meaning. Keep it simple enough to immediately understand. Simple keeps them moving toward the goal..

Maxim 29: Length

Ogilvy’s research goes against much of today’s ad “proof.” He said effective headlines use 10 or more words. He said 8 to 10 is ideal. The view will remember longer and clearer with this length. He showed that longer headlines sell MORE than shorter headlines!

Maxim 30: Local Ads

Ogilvy also said to use LOCAL headlines when possible. Ads are more successful with the mention of a city.

Maxim 31: Focused Targeting

If a product or service is normally used by a specific group, then state that group in the headline. If it’s a product purchased by fishermen, then it pays to mention them in the headline.

Maxim 32: “The More You Tell… “

Ogilvy said, “The More You Tell, The More You Sell.” Decades of research and millions of dollars-worth of successful ads prove it. Readership drops very little in copy that is 50 and 500 words. There’s no difference. He said, “People read long copy,” contrary to what industry leaders today state. Creating advertising that sells isn’t restricted to brevity!

Maxim 33: Pictures Tell A Story

Ogilvy said this one is harder than it looks but gives a big payoff. Our world is visual. When viewers see the “magic” of story-appeal, they ask, “What’s going on here?” The story element raises curiosity. It causes the viewer to stop and ask. Whenever possible, use photos to tell a story.

Maxim 34: Visual Contrast

Demonstrating a ‘before and after‘ with the service or product is a bonus. It grabs the attention & holds it longer than average, according to Ogilvy. Miley Cyrus is a ‘before and after.’ It’s not even about liking her because many don’t. Miley Cyrus grabs both + and – attention. American’s viewing this picture automatically knows what a transformation this “product” has made. She captures the attention of viewers, as ridiculous as her methods.

Maxim 35: Photographs

Chose pics over drawings. Why? Photos attract more readers than drawings. They “generate more appetite appeal.” Pics are more believable. Consumers remember pics far better than a drawing. Lastly, they “pull” coupons more often & sell more products.

Maxim 36: Captions

Twice the number of viewers read captions beneath photographs than those reading copy. Ogilvy said to think of captions as mini-advertisements. Every caption should include the product brand name and a promise.

Maxim 37: Clean & Simple

If styles don’t effectively & clearly convey something with the viewer, then advertisers might as well pack their bag & leave. Editorial layouts translate better than “addy layouts.” Editorial layouts offer higher readership. Trends returning to that which works is happening… the editorial-style.

Maxim 38: Rinse and Repeat

Ogilvy said sometimes it takes advertising exposure to grow a winning campaign. Quitting too soon is costly. He said that readership actually goes up with 5 repetitions of ads. TV advertisements are shown over & over for this reason. Exposure creates a “sticking” in the mind. So, greatness doesn’t necessarily happen automatically. Normally, it happens with time.

Review in Summary

That completes part 4 of David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising that Sells Review. As promised, Ogilvy delivered some of the most impactful maxims for advertisers to live by. Remember: Keep headlines simple. Longer headlines sell! Go local. Call the targeted audience by name. “The more you tell, the more you sell.” Use photos which tell a story. Before & after pics sell better than average. Use photos rather than art or drawings. Captions are mini-ads so don’t overlook them. Use editorial styling. Repetition pays off.

How to Publish Your Book: Getting Those All-Important Reviews and Testimonials

Great reviews and testimonials help sell your book; therefore any actions you take to promote your book should include such reviews and testimonials. They can be gold. They help persuade book lovers that your book deserves a place on their shelves. They also help convince bookstore chains, individual bookstores, and libraries to stock your book.

Where do you start? The answer is as early as possible. Most reviewers want an actual copy of the book. An e-book won’t work, although that perception is changing. If reviewers can get an advance copy prior to publication, so much the better. Some reviewers will accept galleys but they expect to receive copies of the finished book later. For example, the School Library Journal will accept galleys. These must be received at least two months prior to the publication date. This gives the Journal time to review your book and print the review in their newsletter, either close to or shortly after publication date. You should be aware, however, that some reviewers do not accept self-published books.

There are several ways to let potential reviewers know about your upcoming book. The obvious one is a press release. As well, social media is playing an increasingly large role. If you have a blog, you can discuss your work and its availability. Better still, you can contact those bloggers with an interest in your book’s topic. They may be willing to write a review and post it on their blog. You could also have a fan page on Facebook. You would encourage your followers to write their own reviews to post on your fan page, and on their own pages.

You are also going to request reviews from newspapers and magazines, especially magazines that have a particular interest in your topic area. The odds of your getting a review in a national newspaper or magazine are pretty small. Getting a review from a local newspaper or magazine, as I’ve done, is more likely. Find out the name of the person to whom your request should go. If you have friends with contacts in the media, especially radio, TV and newspapers, ask them to help you.

Testimonials come from people who have read your book and found it to be of value. It could be a business book with advice on accounting, something technical, such as how to use digital cameras, or simply a piece of fiction that gave special insight to an issue or situation. Sometimes a delighted reader will send you a spontaneous response. More likely you’ll have to contact those with your book and ask for a testimonial. That happened with one of my business books. I first called them, then followed up with e-mail. Out of about 20 requests, five actually responded. This brings me to my final point.

People, though usually well meaning, can be notoriously slow in delivering a review or testimonial, even when they have agreed to do so. You have to be persistent. It may take several calls, multiple e-mails before you get a result. Or you may not hear at all. The problem is that the testimonial is never urgent to those you approach, only to you. And don’t offer an incentive to complete that testimonial. It can bring up issues of integrity. So be persistent. If one source won’t cooperate, keep going to others until you get what you need. Great reviews and testimonials add credibility to your sales efforts. You need them. They help sell books.

The Truth About Selling Your Writing Services Online

The Web offers unlimited opportunities for writers to make money from their writing skills. You can create and write blogs, sell articles, sell reviews and much more. It’s just a matter of getting started and following the simple process I’ll outline for you in this article.

Not a writer? Of course you are. If you’ve been writing email messages and reports for your day job, you qualify as a writer. A writer is just someone who writes.

So let’s look at the truth about selling your writing services online. Here it is in a nutshell: you must have something to sell, and you must have a Web site at which you promote your writing services.

Let’s look at this in four easy steps:

1. You must have a Web site to sell your writing services

If your eyes are rolling up in your head at the scary thought of creating a Web site, relax. There’s nothing scary about creating a blog on Blogger, for example. (Do a Google search for Blogger if you’re not familiar.) A blog is a Web site, and if you can write an email message, or use a word processor, you’ve got all the skills you need to set up a blog on Blogger.

2. Create samples so prospects can see the type of writing services you offer

Your next step is to decide what writing services you’ll offer. As stated, you can write articles and reviews, and these are easy options for you to get your feet wet.

Write a couple of articles and reviews, and post them on Blogger as your writing samples. Your samples should be around 400 words – there’s no need to write long screeds: Web writing tends to be shorter than print writing.

You can also add a “Hire me to write for you” note in the sidebar. This alerts people that you’re open to taking on writing jobs.

3. Add a way for people to contact you on your site

I’m constantly amazed at the number of writers for hire who’ll set up elegant sites and blogs, but totally neglect to mention that they’re available to write for others. Worse, even if a potential customer was psychic, and worked out that this writer was available, there’s no way for the customer to make contact.

Add your email address to your site’s sidebar, and create a “About” page, with a small bio. Add your email address to the bio, too.

When you’re offering your writing services, you must make it as easy as possible for people to both know exactly what you want them to do, and then for them to do it.

Writers are in high demand online, and you’ll be amazed at the numbers of clients who contact you when you make it easy for them to do so.

4. Finally, advertise and promote your site

Your final step in selling your writing services online is to advertise and promote your site. There are endless options for self-promotion online. One of the easiest ways is to advertise on Craigslist, because it’s popular and free.

So that’s the truth about selling your writing services online: you must have something to sell, and your Web site is the venue at which you sell it.

David Ogilvy’s Classic Work: How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 3

How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 3

Almost Home…

David Ogilvy’s classic How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 3 looks at rules eighteen through twenty-seven. It starts with the maxims about TV ads and moving to the maxims of ads in print. The advertising medium isn’t necessarily what’s important here. These maxims pay big and offer a proven history. Get the most out of each advertising dollar. Apply these maxims, regardless of the chosen medium.

Rule 18: Music

Even though, according to Ogilvy, most won’t believe this, music behind the ad in commercials decreases the consumer’s ability to remember ads. Not good, right?

Rule 19: Standups

Stand-up Pitches work if “delivered” with honesty says Ogilvy.

Rule 20: Sore Thumb

The average viewer watches more than 20,000 commercials in a year. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Ogilvy says brand it and make it one of a kind. A symbol (like imperial’s crown) or even a mnemonic device can be used.

Rule 21: Animate?

Cartoons really sell to children. Children don’t hold the power of the pocketbook however. It’s critical to know the audience. Cartoons and animation doesn’t turn over to customers when adults are the target. Grown-ups can’t “identify” with animation. This makes it less persuasive.

Rule 22: Save it!

Find out WHY an ad didn’t work. Then, repair it. Once fixed, it’s ready to go to work for real!

Rule 23: Factual vs. Emotional

In the big scheme of things, commercials which offer facts about the product or service will rank as more effective than ones using emotions. Ogilvy’s example was Maxwell House Coffee. It was very emotional and a huge success. It goes both ways, but stats say go with the facts.

Rule 24: Attention Grabbers

Commercials which open with a fast, grab the attention of viewers, and tend to hold their attention significantly better to the end than the quiet-start commercials.

What Works Best in Print…

As part of this How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 2, we’ll move to print advertising. We’ll look at what works and what does not.

Rule 25: 80/20

What’s 80/20? Sadly, only twenty percent of viewers will go past headlines in order to reach the content. Since eighty percent DO read the headlines, the sale takes place in the headline! There’s a conversion rate which is 5 times greater than not creating a dynamic headline. Ogilvy always used his company name and gave promise in the headline.

Rule 26: Benefits

Headlines giving a solid benefit get more sales over those that do not. Human nature makes anyone want to find out what’s in it for them! This is one of the strongest maxims in this How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 3 to be found.

Rule 27: News

People are curious about new products or service. They want to know which products have been changed or improved, giving reason to read on. The stats say headlines that tell sell.

Review in Summary

That completes this next part of David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising that Sells Review, part 3 of 4. Television and print are obviously very different advertising mediums. However, there is much to learn and apply from both arenas… Remember: Say ‘No’ to background music. Stand-ups work. Stand above the crowd. Fix whatever isn’t converting and try it again. Facts sell more than emotion. Grab the viewer’s attention right out the door. Power is in the headline… don’t mess it up! Show the consumer “what is in it for them”… give the biggest, strongest benefit inside the headline. Finally, share newsy points about what’s being sold will work extremely well.

Part four of How to Create Advertising that Sells Review will conclude more million-dollar truths by Ogilvy and show what works and what doesn’t. If viewer’s attention isn’t grabbed or demanded, the sale is lost! Part 4 promises to end with a bang, so keep looking.