By Joe Leineke on Oct 2, 2022
Online customer reviews and testimonials are a strong weapon in a savvy company’s marketing arsenal. In fact, they are your most persuasive tool in turning prospects into customers.
Yet so many companies don’t put structures in place to gather reviews and respond to them. This is a tragic waste that has more impact on a business’s bottom line than you might expect.
There are many ways to get customer reviews. You can gather customer reviews by simply asking your customers for them, You can also solicit them on social media, on business review sites and on many local business listing sites. Reviews stand on their own on public spaces such as Yelp or Google Business Profile. But you can also repurpose them on your website and in marketing campaigns to support your sales points.
Today we want to focus on what reviews can do for your company and why your business needs them.
What holds more weight with you: A company telling you their product is great? Or your friend raving about a new item they just bought?
A company talking up their own products and services has a vested interest in dong so. Your friend does not.
Barring a personal friend recommending a product to you, the next best thing to engender trust is another consumer recommending the product. That’s because they have no reason to lie.
Online customer reviews have become absolutely critical to many people when deciding whether or not to buy a product and where to buy a product. This is not an exaggeration. 94 percent of people are more likely to buy from a business due to positive online reviews.
The Internet is the great equalizer that can make small businesses look big. Great reviews on the Internet can make customers prefer your business to better known and bigger businesses. If you see an overall review ranking of 4.5 and another for 3.5, wouldn’t that give you pause? People pay less attention to the number of reviews each business has and tend to focus on the ranking.
So, make sure your customers have easy access to leave reviews. Even if you get a bad review now and then, customers understand that people make mistakes. They take note, however, of how you handle mistakes and make them right.
When a happy customer leaves a review, it doesn’t stop there. Leaving a good review solidifies the good experience with your company in the reviewer’s mind. They are then more likely to repeat their good opinion of your company and its products and services to their friends and family. Leaving a positive review also feeds the customer’s own loyalty. It makes people feel like they have a voice, and of course, they do.
Also, reviews beget reviews. If someone sees reviews on a review site, your website or a business listing, they are more likely to add their own review. If there are no reviews or they are old, people are less likely to add their two cents.
Of course, the more places you enable customers to leave reviews, such as Google Business Profiles, Yelp, industry-specific review sites and a thousand other places, the more reviews you will have. Uou can spread these yourself by using select reviews in your marketing campaigns.
Online customer reviews are the most important factor in local search. You absolutely need them for good SEO ranking if you want to appear at the top of local searches in Google and other search engines.
There are a few reasons for this.
You may think you know your customers, but do you really? Reviews give customers the opportunity to tell you what they are really thinking. That new feature you thought would dazzle your audience? You may find that a majority of customers just find it annoying despite the results of that focus group you held before production.
You may think your customer service is doing an ok job. But you may find their education on a particular product or policy needs to be upgraded.
Customers may suggest features you never realized would be important to them.
You may also find that your audience isn’t who you thought it was or that people use your product differently than expected. This knowledge can enable you to tweak your marketing and vastly improve the success of your campaigns.
Most importantly, if you see a trend in customer comments or complaints, you better listen.
When you engage with customers over review sites and other places where customer review businesses and their products, you show them you care. People are tired of faceless corporations they feel are just out to take their money. If they have a problem in a review, do your best to fix it. If they are all raves and smiles, thank them and engage according to their comments.
All of the reasons you should seek reviews contribute to the end result of increasing your sales. You engage with customers, learn more about what they want, and build trust and loyalty. And once a customer trusts you, they like to buy from you.
Online reviews are a modern day version of word-of-mouth marketing – on steroids. Positive reviews go a long way toward increasing trust in your company and thus increasing sales.
If you need help generating online reviews, managing your company’s online reputation and keeping up with online business listings, contact Umbrella Local. Our experts can get you set up to generate reviews and list your companies in business directories across the Internet.
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