Marketing strategy has never been a static endeavor. As technologies, markets and customers change, so has the best way to approach marketing. These days, marketing strategies are leaning in towards engagement more than ever. As people take to the Internet to both hear the opinions of others and (even more commonly) make their opinion known, they are looking for engagement with companies. This is where customer reviews come in. Now, it’s not up to you to tell everyone else how great your company is, but up to your customers to do it for you.
There’s no doubt that people respond well to customer reviews. For consumers, these help people narrow down their choices and find out what the experience has been like from others who have purchased a product or signed up for a service. For companies, reviews turn online leads into loyal customers.
Before jumping in to how you can encourage customer reviews, let’s establish how important customer reviews are for any marketing strategy. Check out these top three reasons to encourage reviews for your business, website, or service.
1) Customer reviews increase your SEO page rankings
SEO is a crucial part of any marketing strategy and customer reviews play an integral part of getting websites ranked higher up on search engine result pages. In short, including customer reviews in your marketing strategy will help boost your website’s ranking when potential customers search within your industry or niche and find your business.
2) They build trust with potential buyers
Research has shown that nearly 90% of online users take customer reviews into account when they peruse a website or an online product. Negative and positive reviews are taken into account, as these reviews do more than discuss products or services offered by your business. Through reviews, customers are able to take into consideration the brand’s performance and establish trust within the business.
3) Reviews encourage engagement and feedback
Customer reviews are about more than just building up your brand. They also offer the opportunity for companies to engage with customers, and vice versa. By featuring customer reviews on your home page and incentivizing reviews, both customers and visitors will feel much more connected to your brand.
How can you get customers to start leaving reviews?
Now that the “why” of customer reviews has been established, let’s jump into a few steps that you can take to encourage customer reviews in your marketing strategy.
1) Focus on authentic reviews
When jumping into harnessing customer reviews, avoid the temptation to pay for reviews through freelancers or marketing agencies. Instead, reach out to your existing customers by sending emails or newsletters that encourage them to share reviews on review sites where your business has an established profile. Potential customers will get much more out of authentic and informative reviews from actual customers than a fake review filled with praise.
2) Utilize social media software
Both review software and social media software can help business managers stay on top of customer reviews and comments as they come in. These tools can help managers run advanced features to encourage reviews — like gamification, social listening, and social media integration.
3) Make it easy to leave a customer review
Make it as easy as possible to have customers review your business. Utilize sites like Yelp and Trust Pilot, encourage reviews on your company Facebook page, and, if you have a branded hashtag, encourage customers to use it on social platforms like Instagram. Be responsive too! If there are complaints, address them promptly and if there are compliments, express your gratitude for them.
Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.