Online Reviews. How important are they?
Customer reviews are becoming increasingly important for a whole range of reasons, including consumer trust, conversion rates and even SEO.
So, if you’ve been patiently waiting for reviews to come in all on their own, it’s time to step up your game. You need to make actively seeking reviews part of your marketing strategy in 2021.
Why are online reviews important for your business?
These days, consumers love to do their research. Why take a risk by trying out a business you know nothing about when you have the ability to research every hair salon within a 5km radius at your fingertips?
Particularly in a world that’s more and more focused on online, reviews simply help consumers get a feel for whether they can trust a business they’re about to engage with, or whether a product is all it’s cracked up to be. And the numbers of people relying on online reviews are trending upwards.
According to a study from BrightLocal:
78% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020.
Recency is also a concern amongst customers, with 73% of consumers only paying attention to reviews written in the last month. This means that you can’t just rely on that handful of good reviews you got from your friends and family when you first opened your business. You should be aiming for a steady stream of reviews and feedback.
No matter your business, reviews still matter…
The study also found that consumers are most likely to have read reviews for 1) restaurants, 2) hotels, 3) medical services, 4) automotive businesses, 5) clothing stores.
So, no matter your type of business, and whether you’re looking to get more leads for your salon or professional services business or increase conversions on your online store, regularly gathering reviews will have an impact.
So, now you know why you want be pulling in the star ratings on a regular basis. But how do you actually get more online reviews?
- Make it easy
First things first. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave a review, and customers are generally more likely to leave a review on a platform they’re familiar with. Set up review options on your website and be sure to claim your Facebook and Google My Business pages so your customers don’t have to hunt across the web just to leave a review.
- Ask your loyal customers
It might seem disingenuous or pushy to ask for reviews, but if your customers genuinely love the product or service you offer, you’ll probably be surprised to see how willing they are to help you out. Don’t be shy. Identify your most loyal customers, and just ask! If you’re a small or local business, you might like to send them a personalised email. If you’re a bigger business or eCommerce store, you can set up an automated email sequence, triggered to be sent to customers after a certain number of purchases (we do love an email automation). It can also help to explain in that email exactly how reviews can help your business. That way, your customers will know they’re making an impact and feel even more motivated to write a review for you.
- Incentivise customers to leave a review
If you’ve been struggling to get reviews for your business, a good old-fashioned incentive never goes astray. You can set up an automation that’s triggered to be sent to your customers a week or two after they’ve made a purchase or used your service.
Experiment to figure out what offer your customers find most appealing. It could be a discount on their next purchase, a free download of some great content, or the chance to go into the running for a monthly gift voucher giveaway.
Tip: Make it clear that you’re offering an incentive in your email subject line to increase the chances of your customers actually opening it up and leaving the review.
- Share your reviews on social media
Sharing positive reviews that you receive on social media shows your customers just how much you appreciate and value them. Some customers will even get a kick out of seeing that you’ve shared their feedback. This can encourage more customers to leave reviews, along with the added bonus of sharing your positive reviews with potential new customers who might be lurking on social media.
5. Use a review tool
There are plenty of plugins, softwares and tools out there that can help you collect and manage reviews. Here are a few to get you started, but you’ll find plenty more by doing your own research!
We hope you found these tips helpful, and let us know in the comments if you’re planning to implement any! If you’re looking to for more help to take your digital marketing to the next level in 2021, get in touch with our team today. We’re ready to help you generate quality leads for your business, and we’d love to hear from you.