Before making a purchase, 95 percent of online customers turn to online reviews. If shoppers can’t locate any online reviews about your online store, no matter how much money you spend on Facebook and Instagram marketing, clever SEO, and a gorgeous website, you’ll be at a disadvantage. Consumers are seeking online reviews more than ever to determine whether your product or service is worthwhile. Online reviews are the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth in the twenty-first century. Your customers are promoting your products and services for you by leaving you positive online reviews. For this reason, satisfied customers are worth their weight in gold.
Whether your business is a brick and mortar store or digital, your brand can benefit from online reviews in three major ways:
1. Credibility for your brand
Many a time, when our friends and family are engaged and enthusiastic about something, we often want to join in. This is considered social proof. Online reviews function the same way. If people are talking positively about a brand, you’ll also want to join in the conversation. Brands that are mentioned and tagged regularly on social media enjoy more foot and web traffic. Additionally, they attract more clients the more mentions and online reviews they get. Potential customers seek alternatives if there are few or no online reviews.
2. Online reviews help to boost your SEO
Online reviews are essential to SEO (search engine optimization) in a number of ways. The more people comment, review and engage with your business, the more keywords search engines will pick up. In addition to keywords, search engines value genuine user-generated content, such as online reviews. For this reason, Google will favor a company with online reviews over one without. Additionally, internet reviews have a significant effect on local SEO. When you search for “Auto mechanics in (in your area),” a list of auto mechanics with a star rating out of five is returned, along with the number of reviews each mechanic has received.
It’s likely that you would pick an auto mechanic with a rating of four stars, rated by 100 customers over one with a rating of five stars from just two people.
3. Online reviews provide invaluable customer insights
In order to satisfy the needs and desires of your target market, you must first understand your customers. Too often, companies make changes to their products in the hopes that their customers would embrace them. However, when sales are at stake, crossing your fingers and hoping things work out is risky. You can meet and, ideally, exceed your customer’s expectations by using their feedback to guide any changes you make to your product or service.
Give your customers a way to provide genuine feedback about what they think of your brand.
How do you go about collecting online reviews in the first place?
You can generate online reviews to attract new customers and learn what current clients think by:
1. Streamline the process of leaving a review.
To leave a review, your consumers shouldn’t need to jump through hoops. Remember that you’re already asking them to spend several minutes of their time on your brand, and if you make the process more difficult than it has to be, they’ll give up before they get an opportunity to leave a review. This could unintentionally taint even the most complimentary comments.
When conducting online surveys or questionnaires, keep them brief and to the point. Always thank respondents for their input, particularly if it’s unfavorable.
2. Getting your timing right
Timing plays a big role in getting online reviews. If you ask too soon, you will unlikely get any response (or ones that matter); if you ask too late, your client may not remember what they liked and didn’t like, thus your efforts will likely be ineffective. Aim to get reviews while a customer’s memory of your good or service is still fresh in their minds. Depending on your offering, the sweet spot will differ, but generally speaking, you should wait a few days after they’ve used your product or service.
3. Provide incentives for giving feedback
If not prompted, few will take the time to post an online review. Giving reviewers a reward/incentive helps to counter this. Consider offering a coupon for their subsequent purchase, a chance to win something, a gift card, or a limited-time offer. Avoid the temptation to purchase fictitious reviews. Your brand may suffer irreparable damage.
A note on bad reviews: When you get one (don’t worry, every business does), reply as quickly as you can, and do so politely and kindly. Many dissatisfied consumers might become satisfied ones when handled properly.
Online reviews are an effective way to market your brand without spending any money. Despite not being a quick answer for declining sales or low brand awareness, they are a worthwhile investment that will continue to pay off.
Once you’ve established a sizable number of customer reviews, you can begin adding them to your e-commerce website, to foster trust and enhance your brand’s online reputation.
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