How To Get More Online Reviews - And Why You Should Care
Online reviews are everywhere. No matter what industry you’re in, or what your marketing strategy is — online reviews are going to play a massive role in influencing your audience and driving sales.
Think of your own recent purchases and hires: did they happen because of a personal recommendation? And even if they did, did you check out some online reviews to confirm the recommendation?
63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews.
50 or more reviews can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. The higher the star rating is, the higher the conversion rate grows.
Only 17% of people would choose to do business with a company that has a star rating less than 3. This jumps to 54% when the star rating is above 3 stars.
Despite this, businesses remain passive when it comes to encouraging and managing this vital avenue. We’re here to explain just why they’re so important, and what you can do about it.
Social Proof is a powerful thing when it comes to driving online sales, and it’s fairly simple to understand. Social proof is in essence, credibility. It’s how much your audience trusts or believes in your product.
The more credibility you have, the easier it is to convince a potential customer to purchase your product or service.
Online reviews can be one of the easiest, and cost-free, sources of social proof — especially when contrasted with something more limited in reach and expensive, like influencer marketing.
The basics of a customer leaving a review on a publicly visible online avenue for anyone to see is completely free. Why wouldn’t you leverage that as much as you can?
Building Trust Through Online Reviews
Trust is one of the most important things a business can build. But it’s also one of the hardest to develop, and the easiest to lose.
If your audience trusts you, then online reviews will help you maintain and develop that, while a few negative reviews can have a disproportionate effect.
Thankfully, this one is probably simple to solve: the better your products and services, and the better the experience you provide, the better online reviews you garner! And the more trust your audience has in you.
Dealing With Fake or Negative Reviews
When it comes to trust — and maintaining the credibility of your legitimate reviews — you need to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring your platforms for fake or negative reviews.
These may unduly influence customers despite painting an inaccurate picture of your business.
Here are some of the key ways to spot a fake review:
- The details don’t match up with the records in your customer database
- The review reads like ad copy using the same words and phrases as the product description with the full brand name exactly as it’s listed online
- There’s a lack of detail and individuality in the comments
- The reviewer has left other suspicious reviews, for example reviewing a number of similar products in a short period of time
- The information is clearly false, for example describing things that you don’t offer
The best way to deal with a fake or negative review? Be active and respond to it.
If it’s a fake review just say you don’t have a record of serving them but would welcome more details so you can investigate the matter, and if it’s a negative review then briefly explain your side of the story.
Answering a review is a way for potential customers to gauge the situation themselves. Don’t write a novel trying to defend yourself though. But if a customer has a legitimate complaint, a visible back and forth will go a long way to boosting credibility.
It’s unlikely that 100% of your reviews are going to be 5/5, but as long as you respond accurately to reviews then they shouldn’t negatively affect your credibility. You can also answer every positive review with a thank you note. After all, it's always nice to say thank you when you receive a compliment, be it in person or online.
On a final note: don’t purchase fake reviews.
Not only are consumers savvy when it comes to spotting fake reviews, which means you run the risk of diminishing your trust and credibility, you will also likely risk violating the terms and conditions of the platform hosting the reviews or your products.
Be Visible To Those Searching for Your Service/Products
You’re unlikely to get customers if you aren’t putting your brand in front of them. You need to be visible across multiple channels, in a consistent way, if you really want your business to thrive.
Online reviews can help you boost your visibility via the algorithms used by various sites for indexing content. All of these sites value online reviews as a form of content, especially when it comes to credibility and authenticity.
You need to be visible where your customers are searching, and where they’re going to make their decisions. As we talked about earlier, that is very much wherever online reviews can be found.
Different review platforms are more important for certain industries. For example, Tripadvisor is crucial for hospitality, food, and tourism industries, but not for e-commerce. For specific products, Amazon can be most helpful.
For most local businesses, Google My Business and Facebook are going to be the big platforms to focus on.
We’ve written before about the importance of a Google My Business listing so we won’t go into detail on that here, but just to say that reviews on a GMB listing are some of the most helpful online activities to utilize.
The more reviews you have, the higher in the search results you’re going to be. The shiniest website and slickest social media feed won’t be as useful without some good reviews.
Be Transparent With Your Reviews
So, how do you take advantage of the capacity of online reviews for driving sales? It’s by observing the two following principles: be transparent and be proactive.
By demonstrating that you’re willing to listen to your customer’s feedback, positive and negative, you’re showing that you’re a transparent customer-driven company.
Additionally, you should consider putting your reviews and ratings on your website or sharing them in your marketing communications.
Be Proactive and Take Advantage of The Power of Reviews
Online reviews aren’t something you can take advantage of passively. The best approach is one where you’re as proactive as possible.
Proactive does not just mean in terms of responding to reviews once they happen, but in encouraging customers to leave them, and in optimizing your review listings across multiple platforms.
You should be periodically checking (and responding) to reviews on various platforms. Consider it a key part of your customer service experience, as well as giving you a direct channel for communicating with your target audience.
Not only that, but customers will often read the business’s response, meaning it’s important not only that you respond, but that you respond in a way that reflects your brand.
Get Help With Your Online Review
There’s always something else to do when running a business, and dealing with online reviews might not be top of your list.
That’s why for our clients we offer the service of managing Google My Business reviews for them, including answering reviews.
There are also a number of ways of soliciting reviews from your customers. Asking for reviews can sometimes feel a bit awkward, but that all depends on the timing of it and method.
We Use The Power Of Your Own Customers To Get Authentic Reviews
We have developed our very own automated email service that will encourage your customers to leave reviews.
We ask your customers to write reviews for your business. Happy clients are directed to Google reviews to post publicly. Even small improvements to your Google reviews can make a world of difference to your online reputation, your page rank, the traffic to your site, and ultimately, the success of your business.
An organized and strategic approach to Google Reviews will engage your customers and lead to more positive reviews and a better business reputation. We’ll help you make the transformation from where you are today to where you want to be.
Interested in utilizing online reviews? Get in touch!