A business is only as good as its last customer. Businesses of all sizes need to focus on improving customer satisfaction and providing the best service possible. One way you can do this is by leveraging online reviews to promote your business and gain new customers.
Online reviews are an essential part of marketing because they show what people think about a company, product, or service, which can either be positive or negative depending on the review given.
Reviews help potential customers make informed decisions before buying and provide constructive feedback so that companies can improve their products and services in order to better serve their audience. The more positive reviews a company has, the more likely it will attract new customers who want to buy from them.
But what does it take to create a successful review campaign? And why should you bother with online reviews in the first place? Read on to find out!
Benefits of Online Reviews
Online reviews are a great way for businesses to gain feedback and improve their business. They provide valuable insights into your customer's opinion of your products or services and offers a long list of benefits that include the following:
1. They Save Customers Time
Review sites allow consumers to read about different products all in the same place. This can help compare items and decide on a purchase much faster. If someone else has tried it out already, they probably took some of the pain of buying it away for your benefit.
2. Customers Can Receive Unbiased Information
When reading reviews online, consumers won't feel others have any other ulterior motive than what the reviewers are saying. This means most likely no one will be trying to sway their opinion with what they think they should be doing (or not doing). If it's a blog post, then the person is writing on their own accord and likely already purchased the item to review.
3. Search Engines Love Reviews
Reviews are one of the best ways for search engines to find out about your site and what you have to offer people, which means more traffic! What better way is there than being able to tell Google that you're an expert in something and having others back up your expertise online? Great reviews can also lead people directly to your website or product page when looking for information as well, so your website still receives more visitors!
4. Reviews Can Make You Money
The more traffic, reviews, and comments your blog or website has, the higher it can rank in search engines! This means that what you write about can be shown to all types of people who are looking for products like yours, allowing them to find you!
If a reader likes your review, they may purchase the item on their own, which is great for sales if you're running an affiliate site or just selling the product yourself. Either way, sales are always good!
5. Online Reviews Help New Customers Trust Your Business
Just by word of mouth alone, many closed doors are opened, so imagine how much further this could go when online? If someone finds you from a trusted review site, then there's a good chance they won't be scared away by the price or anything else.
They know from the reviews that you're legitimate and therefore trust you enough to buy your product. It is much easier than if they found your website with no online support.
6. You Can Show Off Your Professionalism
Being able to show off people's positive reactions about what you do helps make potential customers feel more at ease when considering doing business with you. It also displays that you aren't just out there selling something everyone will like but someone who sells high-quality products for those who are serious about their hobbies, sports, etc. If someone does come across your brand, they'll already think it's a great place to do business with.
7. Reviews Are a Great Way to Get Feedback and Improve Your Products
If you have a product that you offer for sale, then getting reviews from those who have purchased it can mean the difference between keeping it or phasing it out of your business. Online reviews can provide much-needed insight into how people feel about what they're buying, whether good or bad. You can take negative thoughts or actions to make improvements on your product to keep customers coming back or at least help them be satisfied with their purchase!
8. It Helps Build Trust between You and the Readers
If someone is willing to take the time to leave feedback for you, then that's a sign that they have respect for what you do. Any business dealing with them is likely to be just as successful!
You want to be able to work with others who are serious about their business too, not those who treat it as an everyday chore. Be selective in who leaves reviews on your site or product pages while also knowing that there are always going to be a few negative ones out there.
9. Reviews Help Keep Your Current Customers Happy
Even if someone has never left you any type of review before, chances are, they're still reading them and using them for feedback on what you're working on to possibly improve. Plus, if someone has had a very positive experience with your website or product, they may be more than happy to share it with others, which will help in getting traffic and sales!
10. Reviews Make Your Site Look More Professional
The more reviews you have for both good and bad things people say about you, the higher chance of getting new customers who are looking for those services online. People love reading other people's opinions before making decisions, so seeing praise from satisfied customers makes them feel at ease when deciding whether to use your service or not.
This is all part of building trust between potential customers and yourself. And as long as you keep getting more positive reviews, this trust will only grow, and you'll have loyal customers for a long time.
11. You Can Use Them as an Ad
Just like you see many companies use celebrities to endorse their products, so too can you use reviews by your satisfied customers to gain exposure for what you do!
If someone's happy enough with your product to take the time and leave a review about it, then that means they'll often be willing to tell others about it. This could lead to word-of-mouth referrals if done right--meaning more new customers down the road!
Sometimes people just want some unbiased opinions on things before buying, which is exactly what reviews provide. When you have reviews written or posted for your product, there's a chance it could be shared on popular sites like YouTube and other social media platforms, which means even more exposure!
12. Online Reviews Are Easy to Find
When people search online for certain items, the first place they look will likely be Amazon or eBay not only because of their popularity but also because these sites make it very easy to leave feedback about your purchases and services.
Plus, if someone has used your company in the past or bought a product from you, they may review you on other websites like Facebook, YouTube, and more! No matter where they decide to leave feedback, this can still help bring in new customers who are looking for those specific products online.
Tips on How to Generate Online Reviews for Your Business
Online reviews are an essential part of a business's online presence, with 89 percent of consumers admitting to making purchasing decisions based on what people have written about a business.
So how can you encourage your customers to leave such valuable feedback? Here are some tips:
1. Use Social Media and the Customer Journey
When it comes to encouraging customers to review your business, ensuring that you're present where they already hang out is the best way. A consumer is more likely to post a positive review if they visit your social media page or contact you via email than if they've found your company through Google.
Make sure that all these channels are linked, so customers know exactly where their feedback will go when they submit a review. Plus, you'll be able to thank them by name the next time they visit your business, boosting their ego!
2. Use Automated Emails
This is a great way of reminding customers about reviews. Add an automated email to your account management software that will send an email every few days asking for feedback. Make it clear that this is not a survey and that all feedback is valued so long as it stays respectful. You can even offer discounts or rewards in return for more comprehensive responses, which will encourage customers to answer questions fully rather than simply clicking positive/negative buttons.
3. Create a Video and Ask for Feedback
A picture paints a thousand words, so why shouldn't a couple of minutes of footage do the same? If your business has been running for a while, create a short video asking customers to leave their thoughts about how the company is doing.
Then share it through social media channels to drive awareness. Make sure that you're posting where your potential reviewers are likely to see it, such as Facebook or YouTube.
This will also have the effect of boosting trust in your business among potential customers, especially if you get industry experts to comment on improvements or simply thank existing clients for their loyalty.
4. Make It Easy for Customers to Leave a Review
If you've gone as far as creating a video asking for reviews, why not take the extra step of making it incredibly easy for people to actually do so? There are lots of apps available that help with this. Simply review-gating your website will have a big effect on the number of submissions.
5. Contact Vloggers
Many popular YouTube stars run their own websites or blogs where they feature products and services they like while specializing in certain niches enables them to build up a following based on specific interests. Reach out to these popular personalities and ask if they'd be interested in mentioning your business. Many reviewers enjoy being featured and sharing across their networks!
6. Ask for Reviews in Person
If you're catering to local businesses, why not ask for reviews face-to-face? Business networking events are a great place to start. These are almost guaranteed to be attended by people who recognize the benefit of positive feedback and reviews.
Simply stand near your stall or table with pamphlets and flyers that encourage customers to check out your online business profile and leave a review on Google or Yelp. It'll help boost engagement among prospective clients as well as encourage existing ones to publish an opinion!
7. Turn Bad Experiences into Great Marketing
Everyone can have an off-day, but they shouldn't let that affect how they go about business. If a customer has had a particularly bad experience with your company and writes it in detail online), see it as an opportunity to rebuild trust and boost reputation. Be sure to apologize sincerely and explain what went wrong. Make sure it doesn't happen again by getting back to basics.
If you want to use the opportunity as a marketing tool, create an infographic that demonstrates how your business successfully resolved whatever went wrong and encourage clients to share it. Then turn it around and ask for good reviews about the company. Since you've already set the stage, this shouldn't be too difficult a task.
8. Ask for Reviews after You've Delivered a Service
Even if your company believes it's the best in the business, there could be problems that prevent customers from posting online. Perhaps the order was not what they were expecting or perhaps deliveries took longer than expected.
Don't just assume everyone will leave endorsements. Allow them an opportunity to say something by emailing a survey once their goods have been received or showing a willingness to contact them directly should anything go wrong with their order.
This way, it shows that you care about your customers and are willing to do everything possible to help them when things don't go according to plan!
9. Ensure Potential Customers Can Find Up-to-Date Information
If older reviews are still online, leading potential customers to believe that your business is still running as it did years ago, you need to be proactive. Ensure that Google and other search engines can index up-to-date information on your company. Add new blog posts regularly and make sure all social media profiles are updated with fresh content.
If you're struggling for time or resources, simply get a member of staff to write a short paragraph or two on what your company's been up to lately. This will show potential clients that the business is still thriving!
10. Stay Away from False Reviews
While soliciting for reviews is great, there's no place for false endorsements online. Your brand's reputation is vital. If people believe it to have been tampered with, you could be facing a serious crisis. Even if your brand has not offered incentives for reviews, they may think it has, which will only make matters worse!
This could lead to distrust. Customers are less likely to buy from your company in the future or even complete false reviews on your behalf. If this happens, the process starts all over again: try building up trust first before moving forward with any review strategy!
11. Tie Customer Endorsements to Specific Goals
Don't expect people to leave reviews without encouragement. According to research undertaken by Nielsen, 90% of people are more likely to invest in a brand that they trust. The same study found that around half of those surveyed were swayed by word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews, so it's safe to say these endorsements hold value.
By tying specific goals to customer endorsements (such as an increase in sales), you can show how happy customers are directly related to business success. This will encourage others to leave positive feedback, which could lead to even better results.
12. Check with Your Industry before Incentivizing
The rules regarding review incentives vary from one industry to another. Some companies have stated policies against "unfair" or "misleading" promotional activities while others will actually pay for testimonials!
Many industries view incentivizing customer reviews as an unfair practice. Customers don't always have the best intentions and could falsify information to receive a reward. For more information regarding your business sector's policies or whether you're allowed to incentivize, check with industry associations and sites like FTC beforehand!
13. Keep on Top of Customer Complaints
Negative feedback is important because it allows brands to identify areas in need of improvement. Rather than encouraging positive testimonials only, monitor the company website for complaints or negative testimonials and respond accordingly (even if they're untrue).
This shows people that you're listening and working to fix any issues. It also increases the likelihood of people leaving positive reviews since they'll be more likely to trust your brand. This will ultimately boost sales and enhance business reputation.
14. Respond Quickly
Feedback doesn't always require a response, but if there are genuine concerns, customers expect brands to respond in a reasonable timeframe.
Make sure you speak with dissatisfied customers as soon as possible, so you can resolve their issues in a timely manner before negative feedback starts impacting your reputation. Remember, it's better to have early conversations with disgruntled customers than wait until more complaints are left behind!
15. Be Honest
Fudging facts is not only wrong but could also cause serious issues down the line. If you're unwilling to provide accurate information to your customers, why should they trust your brand? Not only will honesty save you time and money in the long run, but it could also increase sales.
As an example, if someone asks about delivery costs on a company's website or social media profiles, don't avoid this question and say that there are no additional fees. Instead, answer with what the charges are. This will ensure that people aren't left unpleasantly surprised after placing orders and reduces complaints of hidden fees or charges not included in the product cost.
16. Be Transparent
People love reading honest testimonials because they feel as though these writers have their best interests at heart. They tend to be less suspicious and more trusting. This is partly due to transparency, which requires brands to provide clear information about shipping, returns, and refund policies.
If people are uncertain of what they can expect from your brand, it may cause them to avoid making purchases. This could be potentially damaging for business!
Make sure that all customer information is transparent, so there's no room for misinterpretation. Potential clients will feel more confident in transactions with businesses that clearly define product costs as well as delivery timescales.
17. Don't Ask Customers to Lie
It should go without saying but asking customers or followers to leave positive reviews or hiding negative feedback is considered censorship. It prevents the public from accessing honest opinions and prevents brands from improving their reputation based on factual evidence.
Even if you're unhappy with one or two reviews, remove them if necessary but don't ask your fans to post misleading comments.
If you're willing to pay for positive feedback, this isn't only dishonest, but it can result in a loss of respect from potential customers. People are more likely to trust reviews that aren't obviously biased toward particular companies and may avoid purchasing goods and services that have been artificially enhanced.
Online reviews are a great marketing tool that allows your business to be seen by more people because of the platforms they're shared on. You don't have to worry about someone knowing what you look like now since there aren't any face-to-face interactions. Many more customers who weren't aware before can find your website and products.
Plus, online reviews help new customers trust your business, which is always good for sales!
More than anything, though, remember that reputation is everything. Today, it's easier than ever to research who you're doing business with before making any decisions. If someone leaves bad reviews about your company, then this can severely damage the reputation you worked years to build. Try to avoid having bad reviews in general by giving customers great customer service and affordable high-quality products--something worth leaving a positive review!