How long have you kept your customer review strategy on the back burner? While you’re scrambling to make more sales and manage tedious back-end tasks, your competitors are using the customer engagement they already have to boost business.
Google reviews appear at the top of search pages, which means a single review can reach hundreds or thousands of people in your area. Imagine how much you can increase conversions by simply letting your customers endorse your business. If you’re ignoring this cheap, invaluable source of promotion, you’re working a lot harder than you need to.
Roughly 92 percent of consumers read online reviews, and 80 percent believe they’re as trustworthy as personal recommendations, according to Vendasta marketing agency.
Normally, word of mouth is inconsistent and difficult to measure. But review sites provide a public community where you can quantify brand value in a way that matters to customers.
Have you looked at reviews about your top competitors lately? Every view, like, or positive comment puts your competitors one step closer to snagging more business. And some of that business might be yours.
Instead of playing catch-up later, study these smart tactics of successful businesses to get killer results from your outreach efforts.
1. Respond to Reviews to Improve Brand Loyalty
Why is word of mouth so powerful? Reviews come from people with relatable needs and concerns, so they instill trust in potential customers. Customers look for three key things: high ratings, relevance, and positive outcomes.
Picture a customer who writes a less-than-stellar review. Maybe, your business didn’t offer the right product solution or fell short of expectations. Resist the urge to ignore the customer or fire back with a negative response. Prospective customers want to see how you handle different types of feedback.
Use your experiences with happy or unhappy customers to show others the service ethic behind your business. An effective response should thank customers and express your desire to exceed expectations in the future.
If a review contains a complaint, apologize for any problems the customer faced and offer a resolution. That way, new customers see you being authentic and making an effort to improve your services. Kindness and integrity yield lasting brand recognition.
2. Use Reviews Creatively in Marketing Collateral
Have you ever driven down the highway and spotted a billboard showcasing a customer review? How about a brief review or star rating on business cards, Facebook ads, and menus? What are some interesting places where you’ve seen direct competitors post a review?
If a competitor ad grabbed your attention, chances are, your target audience noticed it too. Customer reviews help you build social clout, and you should use them wherever you have substantial brand visibility.
Don’t think of reviews as a standalone marketing channel. You can feature customer reviews, industry awards, or independent ratings from trusted organizations on almost any media. According to Vendasta, 40 percent of consumers form an opinion after reading one to three reviews. Why not increase your odds by planting the first seed of positivity as soon as a customer learns about your business?
The more credible the source, the bigger the impact on customer perception. The goal is to create enough interest to inspire customers to learn more and take action.
3. Set Up Automated Prompts to Boost Review Rates
Do your online review pages accurately represent the amount of loyal customers you have? If not, you’re failing to get feedback from customers at key moments. The period immediately after a purchase is the best time to ask for reviews — when the experience is still fresh.
You might be wondering, ‘How do other businesses rack up hundreds of reviews and respond to all of them in a timely manner? How can I juggle this activity with other marketing efforts?’
The simple solution is to ask for what you want. Smart marketers use automation to request feedback on a fixed timeline. Have an email or phone contact list? You can send email or SMS text messages to prompt customers to share their experiences.
The right timing depends on the type of business and service. For example, it makes sense to wait until a product is delivered to request feedback for an online purchase. Try to pinpoint the moment when a customer is likely to form early opinions of the product.
And keep in mind, 44 percent of consumers believe a review is most relevant when it’s less than one month old. Asking for reviews on a regular basis keeps your online profiles full and up to date, so you don’t lose momentum.
Ultimately, people buy more from businesses with a history of positive interactions. All the effort you put into making customers happy should lead to greater rewards for your business and inspire new prospects to seek you out.