Leveraging customer reviews is one of the best marketing strategies you can use to attract new customers and grow your business. And it’s free too! No need to pay thousands of marketing dollars on advertising which because of its self-promotional nature will never really be 100% convincing anyway.
Buyers won’t rush to do business with you just because YOU say you are the best in the business. But hearing the same message from other users is more likely to influence their buying decision. With customer reviews, you’re letting your customers do the talking.
Think of customer reviews as word of mouth marketing in the digital age but with exponential effect – they have a far wider reach and a much bigger impact. Online reviews can be read by potential customers from all over the world who are looking to buy what you have to offer. All they need is that little nudge to convince them that your company can be trusted, and who better to do that than your existing customers.
According to this 2018 survey, 86% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses (including 95% of 18-34 year old consumers).
The same survey indicated that 91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Here are some more notable online review stats:
That says a lot in favor of online customer reviews.
If you are not using customer reviews as part of your marketing strategy you are letting a whole lot of business opportunities slip away to your competition.
Ten Things You Can Do To Boost Your Customer Reviews
Make It Easy For Existing Customers to Leave Reviews
Very few customers, if any, have reviews on their mind when they make a purchase. After paying for a product or service, they are more interested in testing it out to see if they’ve got their money’s worth.
Most will not even think to look for buttons or forms where they can leave reviews on your site. Even if they do decide to leave feedback, nobody wants to spend more than just a few minutes filling out review forms.
How can you make it easy for customers to leave a valuable review?
- On your checkout page, create a large call-to-action button requesting buyers to leave feedback. Your message should be that you want to ensure that they’re satisfied with your service and your product. You don’t want to tell them that you are on a mission to ramp up your reviews.
- Place the button where it is easily visible. Don’t make a buyer look for a way to leave feedback. They won’t, unless they want to complain about something and that’s not what you want.
- Keep your review form short and simple. Ask explicit questions. Questions that require a Yes/No answer will get you the most favorable response. A sliding scale where buyers can rate their experience from 1 to 10 works great too.
- Provide some space in case the customer wants to include any specific comments.
After you’ve set up your review process on your website, test it out yourself, then get other staff to do the same. If it takes more than a few minutes, work on it and tweak it till the whole process is fast and wrinkle-free.
Make It Even Easier For Prospective Customers To Read Reviews
You’ve taken a whole lot of trouble to garner reviews from your buyers but leaving them tucked away in a far corner of your website defeats the purpose. If customer reviews influence buying decisions you want to make sure prospective customers read those reviews. There are several ways you can do this:
- Place a couple of your best reviews on your homepage.
- Create a page dedicated to showcasing your fabulous reviews. A link in your top navigation bar will tell readers at a glance where to go if they want to read what your existing customers have to say about you.
- Publish reviews for individual products right on the product page.
Plant Therapy does a fantastic job of asking for reviews from existing buyers and showcasing the reviews they’ve received to prospective buyers.
Send New Buyers A Welcome Email After Their Purchase
We said it before, customers are not actively thinking about leaving a review but a gentle nudge will do the trick.
Getting the timing right is key to sending out a successful request. Sending an email one minute after the purchase will come across as too aggressive. On the other hand, wait too long and the customer may have already forgotten about it.
A nice way to do this is by sending out a welcome email after a customer has bought something. This format is simple and works beautifully:
- Start by thanking the buyer for their business.
- Assure them that you are there to answer any questions and offer whatever help they need.
- Add a sentence towards the end prompting them to leave a review or feedback.
- Include a button that they can click to access your review form.
- Add a way for them to schedule a meeting if they have problems.
- That’s it!
Motivate Customers To Leave A Review
It’s human nature. We can’t resist the allure of a reward, whether it is in the form of a freebie, a scratch card or a discount. People are known to buy things they don’t even need simply because they got it at a discount. Use this to your advantage to rack up those reviews.
Does the customer have to pay recurring fees for your services? Offer them a discount on the ensuing month if they leave a review.
Do you have own a store with an assortment of products? Offer customers who leave a review a discount coupon on their next purchase.
The more relevant your reward, the more likely you are to get customers to leave a review.
Include Reviewer’s Credentials And Photograph
Including reviewers’ photographs and credentials adds creditability to the reviews but you must get their permission first. Most customers love the attention and will also take extra care to leave a more insightful review. Win-win!
Create Accounts On Review Sites
Today almost everybody has an account on one or more review sites where they leave their feedback on all their experiences, whether it is a hotel they stayed at, a restaurant they dined in, or a product they purchased online. Creating accounts on review sites such as Yelp, Trust Pilot, and Review Center allows you to monitor reviews published by your customers and also showcase reviews you’ve already received to prospective customers.
Thank ALL Reviewers
Make it a habit to thank all your reviewers, whether they’ve left feedback on your website or on a review site. Your thank you note doesn’t have to be a whole paragraph. Just one or two sentences are all you need to show you care.
Most companies don’t bother to respond to individual reviews so your reviewers are not expecting you to either. When you do thank them for taking the time, it tells them that you are listening to your customers and that you do care about what they think. This small gesture, which took you less than a minute, will have won you another loyal customer.
Just as important, it will create a positive impression with non-customers too. Potential buyers who are comparing two equally rated products will veer towards purchasing from a company that cares about its customers.
Good review? Take time to tell them you appreciate their business. Customers who leave glowing reviews are your brand’s unofficial ambassadors. Go out of your way to be extra nice to them so they continue spreading the word about your business.
Bad review? Unfortunately, they’re unavoidable. Whether you think the bad review was justified or not, don’t just ignore it. Instead apologize and offer to resolve the problem immediately. If the negative review is already published, it’s okay to issue a public apology. It shows you take every customer complaint seriously and are on the ball about resolving complaints.
Socialize With Your Customers
Today, you can’t beat social networking as a way to create brand awareness and promote your business. But trying to be everywhere can spread your resources thin. Not everybody is on Instagram or Twitter and trying to gain traction on these sites requires you to be very active with posting, liking posts, and replying to posts. It can hog all your time and resources, and if your customers are not on these sites, it’s all for nothing. Be smart when using social media and only go where your customers are.
Leverage Social Media Platforms To Showcase Your Reviews
You’ve earned those reviews so why not show them off! Your website is not the only place to showcase glowing customer reviews. Share them on your company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages where they may catch the eye of potential customers and pique their interest enough to stop by and take a look. Even if they don’t need your product right now, they may bookmark you for their future needs or recommend you to someone who needs what you are offering.
Share Reviews In Promotional Emails
Of course, you don’t just want to stick a whole of reviews in your emails. According to Unbounce.com, the average professional sends and reviews an average of 122 emails every day, which means nobody has time to read a laundry list of reviews.
The most fruitful promotional email is one that has a catchy image of the product accompanied by one or two of your best reviews.
Over To You!
Are you using customer reviews as part of your marketing strategy? It’s never too late to start. Improving customer reviews is the best way to build brand awareness, instill trust in your business, and solidify your reputation. And the best time to start is now.