The Power of Online Reviews
In today’s social-media-centred world, customers trust other shoppers more than they trust brands.
Online customer reviews not only give people a chance to share their experiences with you but also with your other existing and potential customers who rely on these reviews to find out whether or not your business is worth investing their money in! That is why, keeping a track of and subsequently responding to your customer reviews is a vital part of managing customer feedback as well as of shielding your brand reputation from the aggressive competition prevailing in the modern-era marketing. If you aren’t following this tactic yet, it’s high-time you start taking out time to respond to both your happy and unhappy customers. Organic traffic from SEO continues to be one of the best sources of web traffic for many businesses. While there are a lot of elements involved in ranking, the number of reviews you have is a key factor. Google looks at your Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Yelp reviews and more. Why would Google want to prioritize a business in the search rank that has a one-star rating?
In today’s social-media-centred world, customers trust other shoppers more than they trust brands. According to Search Engine Land, a whopping 88% of consumers now trust product reviews as much as advice from friends and family, putting an anonymous online synopsis nearly on par with the age-old reliability of word-of-mouth marketing and according to BrightLocal, 92% of web users now read reviews and 40% make a decision based on as few as one to three opinions. Customers spend 31% more with a business that has excellent reviews, and only 14% of consumers consider investing in a business with a one- or two-star average.
While your reviews are essential for search engine rankings, they can also make or break a sale for you. According to research, half of the adults under the age of 50 in the U.S. regularly check online reviews before purchasing a new item. What will they find? I hope a substantial amount of positive reviews that makes the decision easy. Put together a solid plan for getting reviews for your business. Be careful not to incentivise people (as this is not allowed), but instead have a system for asking for reviews. Along with dedicated online review sites, social media platforms now provide an opportunity for consumers to share their thoughts and experiences about the products and services they use.
The trustworthiness of online reviews has come into question in recent years, as business owners and consumers alike have voiced concerns about the validity and truthfulness of the information posted on various online review sites. In general, users with greater experience utilising online reviews are more comfortable with their accuracy and truthfulness. According the Pew Research Center Around two-thirds (65%) of U.S. adults who say they always or almost always read online ratings and reviews believe that they are generally accurate – although even among this group a substantial minority (35%) says it can be hard to determine their truthfulness. But among those who say they only sometimes read online reviews, these figures are reversed: 38% say that online ratings and reviews are generally accurate, while 61% say it’s often hard to tell if they are truthful and unbiased. Similarly, Americans under the age of 50 are more likely than older adults to trust the accuracy of online reviews. Some 55% of those ages 18 to 49 who read online reviews feel that they are generally accurate, compared with 45% of those 50 and older. And when it comes to the tone of online reviews, more Americans report being influenced by highly negative reviews than are influenced by highly positive ones. Some 54% of Americans who read online reviews indicate that they pay more attention to extremely negative reviews when trying to make decisions, while 43% pay more attention to extremely positive ones.
When Harry Selfridge said “customers are always right,” this statement shows the importance of adapting your business to the customer’s needs. If you fail at this, you lose business and your competitors gain. What are your business goals? What are your customers’ goals for using your service or product? You must align these two goals to satisfy your customers. You can use personalization to attract and convert more customers. When a customer believes your product is tailored to them, they’re more open to doing business with you. For your current customers, recommend products to them according to their buying patterns. Companies like Amazon and eBay do this to get more sales and satisfy their customers.
Marketo conducted an experiment and found that 78% of consumers will check offers that are personalised to their previous experiences with the brand. Often times, people want to minimize risks as much as possible. This is why you must convince them with user reviews and testimonials. Potential buyers want to see what past and present users of your product/service think about it. Reviews of your product could be on your website or another site. Either way, it’s important. The key to reviews is honesty. Always receive negative reviews with open minds because they’re equally important. Having only positive reviews for your product can be suspicious. Hammacher Schlemmer recorded a 380% increase in conversion of items that had reviews.
Customer testimonials are a form of review. Testimonials can help do the following:
- Highlight key benefits of your product
- Address and overcome common objections
- Increase your credibility and trustworthiness
- Tell your customer story (a big part of your overall brand story)
- They increase click-through rate (CTR)
- They raise conversions
- They boost lead generation (even for B2Bs)
- They can boost SEO
Testimonials show potential users that you have satisfied many customers in the past. Case studies highlight the problems your customers had before using your product, and how your product solved these problems for them. Make it easy for your customers to reach out to you via live chat on your website, contact form, interactive social media pages, etc.
How to take control of your business’s online reviews and to use customer testimonial to increase conversion
- Recognize your staff’s efforts and share customer credits. A positive review is not only good for your brand but also works as a great booster for your employees’ morale.
- Always acknowledge/compliment your customer. A simple ‘thank you’ can work wonders in favour of your business. Make sure to reply to even positive reviews posted by your customers with proper personalization and genuine appreciation for their time.
- Be sincere in your apology. For example where one of the guests posted a negative review about a hotel mentioning impolite staff and noisy rooms instead of neglecting the reviews, the manager of the hotel should write a very thoughtful and professional response to the review acknowledging the problems guest had experienced at the hotel and also assured the customer that the hotel is already working on fixing those problems.
- Offer an immediate solution and fix the issues. Twitter can work as one of the major customer service channels of your brand.
- Highlight the values of your company. c
- Create a dedicated review page
- Use reviews with CTAs. For example, if your goal is to get more people to download your ebook, including a few reviews about how it’s helped people in the past or why your business is so authoritative on the subject covered will help give prospects that needed extra push.
- Turn reviews into case studies.
- Highlight reviews on your blog, email and social media. Share testimonials alongside your regular content (remember – nothing to salesy on social media!) and use it to beef up your social media ads.
- Repurpose your influencer marketing content. At its core, influencer marketing is a just a way of collecting a killer testimonial – from someone with a mega large, engaged following. Targeting and partnering with the right influencers, of course, is half the battle, but once you’re good to go, you’ll have a goldmine of content to pull from.
With time, customer reviews have moved their position from ‘nice to have’ to an integral part of a business. Customers rely on these reviews more than ever to make any buying decision and that’s why maintaining a positive online performance has become the need of the new-era marketing.