Every successful marketer knows that word-of-mouth advertising trumps all when it comes to generating new business. Whether your prospective customers or clients hear the opinions of others that have already done business with you. This creates a perception and influences decision-making in a way regular advertising never could.
Living in today’s digital world, customer reviews are the new word of mouth. People look for them, quite often, people base their buying decisions on them. Positive reviews about a company’s products or services can spread quickly and lead to explosive sales. While negative reviews can stifle sales and cause a business to take a step back.
Luckily, getting great customer reviews isn’t just about having your products and services out there in the marketplace and hoping for the best. There are specific tactics that you can use to ensure customers are satisfied and willing to leave a positive review for others to see.
Why People Look at Online Reviews
Typically, there are four reasons that a person would look for an online review:
- Get social proof from customers that have used the product or service.
- Learn more about the product they are buying.
- Reduce the possibility of making a bad purchase.
- Get a better sense of the product’s benefits and limitations.
Naturally, the goal for any business is to get positive reviews and use them to boost sales and grow their brand online. Here are five tactics you can use to get great customer reviews:
Ask for Reviews Across a Range of Platforms
The first step in getting great online reviews is to make it as easy as possible for people to leave them. The more effort it takes, the less likely someone is to dedicate the time to leave the review you want. Social media and third-party review sites are great platforms to help get the good word out about your company and your products and services.
Some of the most effective ones include:
- LinkedIn Recommendations.
- Facebook Business Page.
- YouTube – create videos and ask for reviews underneath.
- Google – using the Google My Business feature.
- Yelp – claim or add your business to start getting reviews.
- Yellowpages – akin to Yelp, this is the digital counterpart of the iconic listings book.
- Four Square – for brands in hospitality.
- Better Business Bureau – claim your business if it’s located in the US, Canada or Mexico.
There are also many different niche review sites depending on the industry you are in that may be effective for eliciting great customer reviews. An example would be Trip Advisor in the travel niche or, as mentioned, Four Square for those in hospitality. The key for all of these platforms is to make it simple and ask for reviews, so there is no confusion about what you want your visitors to do.
Make the Most of Your Website
Your own website is a great tool for getting great customer reviews. Your web pages and blog posts should be optimized to allow visitors to leave their comments quickly and easily. You should also provide a clear path to all of your social media channels and be sure your website is optimized for mobile.
Assuming you have an e-commerce site, you may want to consider adding a live chat CHECK option to receive instant feedback from customers. This will satisfy people’s “I want everything right now” mentality and provide value as it reduces response times and enhances your customer service.
Solicit Reviews in Your Emails
Whether inbound marketing is part of your process, you will have a great platform to ask for customer reviews. Send out a short email after a purchase has been made asking for a review. You will get the most honest feedback possible because people feel as though they are communicating with you personally. That will help you boost sales or make the necessary adjustments if you notice a negative pattern in the responses.
If you don’t want to ask for a review and make them write their thoughts, consider adding a link to an online survey. Polls or surveys are easy to get set up, and the data can be analyzed efficiently. With a survey, you get to dictate the information that’s collected so you can also take the opportunity to learn more about your customers.
Incentivize the Review Process
You may find that you aren’t getting the number of reviews you’d like. Everyone believes their time is valuable, so give them a reason to leave a review. Incentives like discounts, coupons, gift cards, or being entered into contests should motivate people and may even boost your sales when they go back and shop again.
Birchbox, for example, incentivizes its customers to leave reviews by offering loyalty-based Birch Points. Since 2010, the brand has grown from a humble beauty products startup to being the world’s sixth most popular subscription service—and loyalty-driven review incentives have certainly played a part in its success.
Work on Your Timing
Asking for reviews at the right time will help you get more out of the process and improve your customer service at the same time. Whether it’s on social media, your own website, or in an email, timing is always important. The last thing you want is to get under someone’s skin at the wrong moment and end up with a negative review that others will see.
Some great times to ask for a review include after a client has positively interacted with your brand. If they tag your company or product on social media. Or if they spend a certain amount of time browsing your website or if they refer new customers to you. The idea is to approach them when they are feeling satisfied or fulfilled so that they will pass that feeling along in the review.
No perfect formula for getting great customer reviews exists. Though if you follow the tactics listed above, you’ll be successful more often than not. Assuming you want to prioritize reviews. Ensure you task certain team members with the job. Allow them to devote enough time to make it feasible. Once the strategy is in place, execute it. Keep moving forward until you have a multi-faceted process for getting reviews from a range of platforms.