writing notes

Question: How can I hide a bad review?

“I just had an issue with a bride who was not happy with my work. The wedding was super low budget but I took it any way and of course she is the one bride who had a complaint.

I didn’t shoot enough details. The wedding was late and basically a cluster, but before that happened they decided they didn’t want a second shooter for budget reasons.

I called her and explained to her that I did my best and I even offered to shoot any details after the fact (hand made napkins) that I didn’t even realize existed at the time.

It occurred to me that in this age, this is a serious risk because she can give me a bad internet review and the only defense is a onslaught of positive reviews.

Do you have short cuts that will help me get my own reviews in the right places so that I have a defense against the occasional bad review?”

– CB

Answer: Minimize the damage with clear communication and positive reviews.

First of all, don’t panic!

You’re still in the resolution phase with this bride, so you don’t know she’s going to go crazy or what she’s going to do. Your worst enemy at this point is your imagination.

Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has a disgruntled bride sooner or later; it’s how you deal with it that counts.

You did the right thing by trying to make it up to her by offering to reshoot the missing pieces. See how she responds.

If she still isn’t pacified, ask her specifically, “What can I do to make this right for you?”

If you can do some damage control, it will be much more difficult for her to take revenge and post bad reviews everywhere.

Now, for your actual question:

“How can I get a bunch of positive reviews that will show up on a Google search for my company name?”

First of all, your efforts will be most effective in burying a bad review after it’s posted. So you might want to wait and see what happens before you call in your reinforcements.

8 Steps to Build Up Your Positive Reviews Fast

1) Find the top listings that come up when you search Google for “Name of Your Business Reviews.”

Make a note of the listings that come up on Page 1. These will be your top 3 targets for new reviews.

2) If a negative review has been posted, you can dispute it through the website’s channels. Usually there is a “flag” or “dispute” button.

Don’t expect this to work quickly, if it works at all. The better strategy is to bury your bad review with a bunch of good ones, so move on to step #3.

Special note for Google Places: The best way to get Google to pay attention and actually get a review on Google Places removed is to “Flag” the review and then report it as a “legal issue.”

Remove Google Places Review

 3) Gather your thank you letters and testimonial emails. Find all your current reviews posted online.

These are all potential reviews just waiting to be posted.  Gather them first to make your next step easy.

4) Copy and paste your posted reviews and the best bits from your thank you letters and emails into a separate document.

Imagine that each of these is a new review.  Put together excerpts and include as many specific details as possible because these make for the most compelling reviews.

5) Find the contact info for the brides/clients who wrote those reviews.

Here’s where you may have to get creative, since many brides change their names and email addresses after the wedding, and couples have likely moved. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, and online address books to find them. You can even search their employer websites for contact information.

6) Email the bride/groom asking them to post a review and give them an incentive to do it.

Be sure to include the following in your email:

– Copy and paste the testimonial, review or excerpt from their thank you letter.

– Direct links to your 3 top ranking listing pages.

– A thank you gift in advance, like a $5 gift certificate for Starbucks, etc.

7) Then go back through your clients and contact the ones who HAVEN’T provided any feedback and call them up to take a review on the spot.

Ask questions about your service such as, “What was your favorite thing about working with me?” “What advice would you give to someone was is considering hiring me?”

Write down their feedback or record the conversation. This is much faster and easier than waiting for a bride or groom to respond and post a review themselves.

Get permission to send them the testimonials they just gave you in an email so that they can post the review for you easily with a quick copy-paste. Mention that you’re going to include that gift to thank them for their time.

8) Repeat step #6 by sending them their words in an email with the direct links to your listings, so all they have to do is copy and paste.

That should speed up the client reviews process quite a bit, making it as simple to do as “copy-paste.” and giving them an incentive up front that adds pressure to do it.

Come to think of it, this is a super cool strategy even if you’re NOT fighting negative reviews.

Whatever you do, don’t freak out. The good work you do far outweighs the bad, and it will come out alright.

Be sure to let me know how it turns out with Bridezilla!

How do you deal with negative reviews?

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