“I don’t know, Google it.”
For many of us, the internet has become our lifeline. Not only do we use the internet to make and maintain connections, we also use it for advice and knowledge. When we need to know a piece of information, or are faced with a difficult decision, we automatically turn to Google. In a published report by Science Magazine, results from 4 studies concluded that the internet has actually become a form of external memory for our brains. When we know we will have future access to a piece of information on the internet, so we actually have lower rates of recall within our own memory. We’ve allowed the internet to collectively store information for us outside of ourselves.
Why Does This Matter?
Society has the majority of us staying connected constantly – to family, friends, work, etc. We seek opinions and answers on everything from where we eat, to what shoes we buy, and what car we drive. While some of us do this as a research starting point for making larger purchasing decisions, others of us are simply looking for validation or trying to avoid ‘Buyers Remorse.’ In fact, Mintel reports 7 in 10 Americans will seek out the opinions of others before making a buying decision.
To further break down these stats, of those 7 in 10 who seek advice:
- 70% prefer to consult review sites or independent review sites
- 57% will use social media networks
- 81% of 18 to 34 year olds, seek out opinions from others before purchasing; those aged 35+ are more likely to look at independent review sites
- 59% of us trust recommendations if there are a large number of reviews
- 57% of review-seekers are suspicious of products with only positive reviews
- 72% of millennials say they take their “friends” opinions into account
- 54% say they will still try a product recommended by someone they know even, if it has negative online reviews
Overall, the data suggests online reviews are critical in the buying decisions for the majority of Americans between the ages of 18 and 54.
So, How Can We Leverage Reviews and Ratings for Our Businesses?
Now that we have established the importance of reviews and ratings, let’s use these to our advantage. What’s shocking is that, despite these compelling statistics, most retailers don’t have a strategy for managing their reviews and ratings.
Here are our top 5 suggestions for maximizing the effectiveness of your business reviews, ratings and testimonials:
Share your positive reviews and ratings! This seems like common sense, however, great testimonials frequently get ignored, or simply fall to the wayside. When someone takes the time to write a review for your company or product, thank them by blasting it across all your advertising platforms! Post reviews and ratings on your website, then highlight them in your email campaigns and across social media.
The Radicati Group Reports that over 205 billion emails are sent and received each day. For this reason, the majority of businesses are running email campaigns on the regular. Incorporate your positive reviews within these emails, it will further encourage readers to make a purchase. An easy way to do this is by including one in your email signature, or incorporating one into your email marketing image.
Use your social media accounts to spread the word as well. Not only can you directly collect reviews from many social channels, but it is the perfect platform for sharing. When posting a review or testimonial on social, be sure to make it interesting. Include a photo and direct quote from the customer. Be sure to customize each post and thank the reviewer.
Again, don’t ignore these gems. Respond to each and every one, and do so promptly. Customer retention is much higher when appreciation is felt. Why? Because when someone feels genuinely appreciated, an emotional connection develops. Emotion generates the kind of loyalty that is deep and long-lasting.
Not only is it imperative that brands show appreciation for positive reviews by responding quickly, but the same goes for negative reviews. Negative reviews are somewhat inevitable, and ignoring them won’t make them go away. When someone writes a negative review, its generally because their experience was not good, and they want it to be better. They took the chance to try your product, don’t lose them as a customer forever by disregarding their feedback. Do your best to rectify the situation in a timely, sensitive and friendly manner. Others will see your response, so use it as an opportunity to show your good character.
3. Make Them Visible
Don’t make potential customers have to search for your product reviews and testimonials. Give them a prominent spot on your website, or place them on multiple pages of your website. There are a few ways to ensure you capitalize on reviews and testimonials using your website:
- Be sure you have one main page that is dedicated only to reviews and testimonials. Also, you’ll want to link to any external sites you may collect reviews from (i.e. Yelp).
- Use analytics to determine which are the most frequently visited pages of your website and add snippets of reviews to each of these pages.
- Have ‘scrolling’ testimonials on your home page by creating a banner at the top or side bar. This is eye-catching for viewers and will keep it fresh.
4. Build A Reputation
There’s no doubt about it – reviews develop credibility. Even in the 21st century, word of mouth is still king when it comes to building your brand reputation. Online reviews and ratings are the modern form. The bonus is, your audience is enormous. This offers an incredible opportunity for your business to grow so much more quickly. Don’t pass it up. How to share, engage, react to and display your customer feedback will not only build your brand reputation, but also display your integrity and develop trust. These are important reputation-building activities; having a credible and marketable reputation is a necessity for success in business, and in life.
5. Make It Easy
As discussed, sharing, engaging, and making your reviews and ratings easy to see are beneficial and important ways to leverage customer feedback in order to develop your brand reputation. You’ll also want to make sure that it’s easy for customers to give a review. You want to gather up a collection of customer feedback reports. This is valuable because, as mentioned above, the more reviews you have, the more credible and trustworthy your overall rating appears to potential customers.
We suggest using an online platform, such as uReview.me. This handy app provides your customers the opportunity to easily spread the good word about your business on trusted sites. These sites include Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, BBB, and Amazon. UReview.me tactfully reminds customers for feedback and guides them through the process of leaving a review. Whats more, it also gives you the chance to reach dissatisfied customers before their review hits the World Wide Web.
Further, if you want to see how your business compares to the competition based on reviews, use the uReview.me Free Review Scan. This unique tool generates an instant reputation report to see how your business appears on local review sites.
Wrapping It Up
Simply telling people how great your business or product is will not cause it to blow up into a success story. If you want people to open up their pocketbooks, they are going to need to hear a less biased opinion. So don’t pass up on the opportunity to build a strong brand reputation. Capitalize on customer reviews and ratings. Collect and spread these messages in an intentional way, and watch your business grow.
Do you need help leveraging reviews and ratings for your business? The experts at Thrive Internet Marketing are here to help. We are a full-service digital marketing team, delivering massive and sustainable growth for all types of businesses. Contact us today!