When you want to try a new restaurant, how do you decide where to eat? Which computer do you go with when it’s time for an upgrade? Which plumber do you call when a pipe bursts?

Like so many others, you’re probably relying on online reviews to make these decisions.

Positive reviews sway consumers to try new products or services, and they improve your overall reputation — without you having to spend a single dime. Even negative reviews have their place, helping you understand potential areas of growth and improvement. However, research shows it takes 40 positive reviews to make up for one negative review. But where do these positive reviews come from and how can you get them?

Two men fist bump while sitting on the floor next to weights in a gym.

Build relationships

It’s up to you to provide customers with positive experiences. The products or services you offer and your customer care must be top notch. Do everything you can to make each visitor’s experience great.

For example, if you run a gym, you want to keep your equipment in good condition and upgrade it as needed. (Getting new equipment also gives you an opportunity to run a promotion or special offer.) You want to hire friendly and knowledgeable trainers who are attentive to member needs. You want to offer flexible class scheduling to ensure as many people as possible enjoy your facility. Overall, you want members to feel like they belong. Because if they feel like they belong, they’re more likely to keep coming back and recommend you to friends and family as well. Give your customers every opportunity possible to say something good about you.

Once you begin building relationships with the people coming to work out every day, encourage them to leave reviews on your website, Google, or Facebook (wherever you’re found online).

Request reviews

Place a reminder sign at the front desk — so people see it right when they come in — or on the door — so it’s on people’s minds as they leave. A few times a month share links to your review pages on social media. Even better, contact members directly through texting. Business texting is about more than promoting your own events and sales.

By utilizing texting, you give them a chance to leave reviews straight from their phone whenever is most convenient for them.

No matter your business, start paying it forward as well. If you work with certain vendors or partner with other local businesses, leave them a review after a good experience. It could be the spark they need to return the favor!

Because people are more likely to post about a negative experience than a positive one, encouraging customers to post about the good interactions with you or your employees becomes even more important. Those reviews can then be turned into testimonials that drive future marketing campaigns. And even if you do get some negative reviews, use them as a learning tool; now you know what to improve.