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Every successful marketer who’s ever lived knows that word-of-mouth advertising trumps all when it comes to generating new business. When your prospective customers or clients hear the opinions of others that have already done business with you, it creates a perception and influences decision-making in a way regular advertising never could.
In today's digital world, customer reviews are the new word of mouth. People look for them, they learn from them, and quite often, people base their buying decisions on them. Positive reviews about a company's products or services can spread quickly and lead to explosive sales, while negative reviews can stifle sales and cause a business to take a step back.
Luckily, getting great customer reviews isn't just about having your products and services out there in the marketplace and hoping for the best. There are specific tactics that you can use to ensure customers are satisfied and willing to leave a positive review for others to see.
Why People Look at Online Reviews
Typically, there are four reasons that a person would look for an online review:
- To get social proof from customers that have used the product or service
- To learn more about the product they are buying
- To reduce the possibility of making a bad purchase
- To get a better sense of the product’s benefits and limitations
Naturally, the goal for any business is to get positive reviews and use them to boost sales and grow their brand online. Here are five tactics you can use to get great customer reviews:
1. Ask for Reviews Across a Range of Platforms
The first step in getting great online reviews is to make it as easy as possible for people to leave them. The more effort it takes, the less likely someone is to dedicate the time to leave the review you want. Social media and third-party review sites are great platforms to help get the good word out about your company and your products and services.
Some of the most effective ones include:
- LinkedIn Recommendations
- Facebook Business Page
- YouTube – create videos and ask for reviews underneath
- Google – using the Google My Business feature
- Yelp – claim or add your business to start getting reviews
- Better Business Bureau – claim your business if it’s located in the US, Canada or Mexico
There are also many different niche review sites depending on the industry you are in that may be effective for eliciting great customer reviews. An example would be Trip Advisor in the travel niche. The key for all of these platforms is to make it simple and ask for reviews, so there is no confusion about what you want your visitors to do.
2. Utilize Your Website
Your own website is a great tool for getting great customer reviews. Your web pages and blog posts should be optimized to allow visitors to leave their comments quickly and easily. You should also provide a clear path to all of your social media channels and be sure your website is optimized for mobile.
If you have an e-commerce site, you may want to consider adding a live chat option to receive instant feedback from customers. That will satisfy people's "I want everything right now" mentality and provide value as it reduces response times and enhances your customer service.
3. Solicit Reviews in Your Emails
If inbound marketing is part of your process, you will have a great platform to ask for customer reviews. As part of your customer marketing, send out a short email after a purchase has been made asking for a review. You will get the most honest feedback possible because people feel as though they are communicating with you one-to-one. That will help you boost sales or make the necessary adjustments if you notice a negative pattern in the responses.
If you don't want to ask for a review and make them write their thoughts, consider adding a link to an online survey, instead. Surveys are easy to get set up, and the data can be analyzed efficiently. With a survey, you get to dictate the information that's collected so you can also take the opportunity to learn more about your customers.
4. Incentivize the Review Process
If you find that you aren’t getting the number of reviews you’d like or you just like the idea of rewarding your customers, consider adding incentives to the process. Everyone believes his or her time is valuable, so give them a reason to leave a review. Incentives like discounts, coupons, gift cards or being entered into contests should motivate people and may even boost your sales when they go back and shop again.
5. Work on Your Timing
Asking for reviews at the right time will help you get more out of the process and improve your customer service at the same time. Whether it's on social media, your own website or in an email, timing is always important. The last thing you want is to get under someone's skin at the wrong moment and end up with a negative review that others will see.
Some great times to ask for a review include after a client has positively interacted with your brand, after they re-order a product, if they tag your company or product on social media, if they spend a certain amount of time browsing your website or if they refer new customers to you. The idea is to approach them when they are feeling satisfied or fulfilled so that they will pass that feeling along in the review.
There is really no perfect formula for getting great customer reviews, but if you follow the tactics listed above, you’ll be successful more often than not. If you want to prioritize reviews, make sure you task certain team members with the job and allow them to devote enough time to make it feasible. Once the strategy is in place, execute it and keep moving forward until you have a multi-faceted process for getting reviews from a range of platforms.
If you'd like to learn more about customer reviews or need help with your customer marketing, get in touch with us at Digital Marketing Institute today.