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How EDOs Can Collect Reviews From Local Businesses and Why They Matter

If you’re reading this, you are considering ways to power business recruitment and retention with reviews. Your region likely produces testimonials and case studies from businesses, but you know 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations so you’re here to learn about collecting reviews on Scout.

In this guide, we’ll discuss strategies on how EDOs can collect reviews from business leaders in their region.

Why Reviews From Local Business Leaders Matter:

  • If you were relocating a business to a new city, whose opinion would you trust more? The City Manager, or the CEO of a top manufacturing company?
  • When buying commercial real estate, do you want a broker's opinion about the economic climate or the view of local companies?
  • When your council and board members ask "what are you doing to support local businesses?" you'll have instant proof of your progress. 
  • EDOs and Cities on Scout leverage reviews as a way to validate claims and differentiate their offering (see below for examples of how other EDOs promote their reviews).
  • Testimonials are one thing, 3rd party validated reviews are another.

Reviews on Scout are more than just a testimonial. They collect up to 30 economic development data points and are validated through the reviewer’s LinkedIn profile and business email. The positive content in these reviews is activated by economic developers as a way to bolster recruitment marketing efforts and the constructive feedback is used to guide strategic plans.

“Reviews from businesses in our community are what we like most about Scout. It’s validation that we’re a great city for business and immediate content for our marketing team.” 
- Luke Gajary, Marketing and Social Media Manager at McKinney Economic Development Corporation

Your unique review link

Each community listed on Scout has a unique link that can be used to collect reviews. Just follow these simple steps. 

  1. Make sure you've claimed your Scout profile.
  2. Once your profile is claimed, you can use this link to send to anyone and ask for a review. 
  3. When our review moderation team validates the review, it will be posted to your profile.
  4. Follow the rest of this article to start gathering reviews!

Strategic Outreach for Honest Feedback

First and foremost, personalized outreach plays a crucial role in collecting reviews. Engage directly with business leaders and entrepreneurs in your area. Explain the mutual benefits of providing a review: not only does it elevate their visibility within the community, but it also contributes to the broader economic ecosystem. Tailor your communication to highlight how their insights can shape future initiatives, making their participation an integral part of regional growth.

Here’s an example email you can send to your network.

Note: if you don’t have a list of local businesses and contact information, Scout can provide that as part of our recruit and retain offering.


Leverage Events and Networks

Utilize local business events like chamber luncheons or entrepreneurship meetups as platforms to encourage reviews. Setting up a "review booth" or reminder a client after meetings to share their experiences can significantly increase engagement. This direct approach not only garners reviews but also strengthens the relationship between your EDO and the local business community.

Here’s an example of a postcard that can be brought to community events where business leaders will be present. Print one for each table!

Voice of Farmers Branch

Incentivize and Reward

Consider implementing incentive programs. Rewards don’t have to be monetary; they can include recognition in your newsletters, social media shoutouts, or exclusive opportunities for further engagement with city projects. These incentives can motivate businesses to share their stories, knowing they’ll receive value in return.


Make Your Review CTAs Discoverable

Adopt technology platforms that facilitate review collection. Whether it's through your EDO’s website or a dedicated platform like Scout, making the process as straightforward as possible is key. Incorporate prompts for reviews at various digital touch points where businesses engage with your services, ensuring the call to action is clear and compelling.




Show Gratitude and Act on Feedback

Lastly, acknowledge every review—positive or negative. Publicly thank businesses for their contributions and, where applicable, outline how you plan to address any concerns raised. This not only shows that you value their input but also demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement based on real, local feedback.

Always On: Put it in the Footer

The footer of your website is a great place to put a request for a review or to showcase your reviews. Ask our team how to get a badge as well!



Brand Your Review Program

Get businesses excited to participate in your review program by putting some branding behind your campaigns. As part of Scout’s recruit and retain package, we can do this for you, or work with your marketing team to set it up on your own!


Don’t Forget: Promote Your Reviews!

Economic development marketing is hard enough as it is. Now you’ll have endless reasons to post about what makes your city great for business.



Ask for Help

We live for reviews at Scout. So if you need help getting your review campaigns off the ground, just reach out to our team and we’ll get you going. We’ll send a custom review link so that reviews get posted to your Scout profile, and can even help guide you on messaging. If you want to work with Scout to drive the reviews for you, we’d be happy to help! Book some time with us to learn more.

Conclusion: The Ripple Effect of Reviews

Collecting reviews from local businesses is more than just a tactic for validation; it's a strategy for community building and economic development. Each review weaves another thread into the narrative of your region, showcasing its strengths, opportunities, and the collective ambition of its business leaders. By adopting these strategies, EDOs can harness the power of reviews to not just attract investment but also to foster a thriving, interconnected business ecosystem.

Remember, the journey towards gathering impactful reviews is ongoing. It requires persistence, adaptability, and a genuine commitment to leveraging these insights for the betterment of your community. Let's embark on this path together, harnessing the power of our local businesses to illuminate the way forward for economic development.