Even if you believe to be selling the highest-quality product or providing the best customer service, others won’t until they see proof, and most of the time, it’s online reviews.
Online feedback from your customers not only gives credibility to your brand but improves your rankings in local queries. If you haven’t yet done so, creating a strategy for acquiring more online reviews is a must. Of course, everyone has asked a friend or two after opening a physical or online store to leave positive feedback, or they might have volunteered to do so, and that’s a great way to get started. However, if the only reviews you have are from your friends and family, there’s more work you need to do to stand out from the competition.
Online reviews affect the purchase decisions of 93% of consumers, and just a few of them won’t do much for your business. Still, many business owners find it challenging or might feel awkward asking for reviews, so they wait for self-initiative customers to help, but such customers may not even appear. In contrast, 68% of customers will leave a review if you ask them, so if you are struggling to acquire online feedback, the methods below can help. But before we dive into that, here are some statistics and facts that might help you understand the importance of online reviews and encourage you to invest more time, energy, and recourses into receiving more.
The Importance of Online Reviews for Your Business
87% of people read reviews for local businesses, so even before they visit your physical store, they have already set the expectations of your company based on online feedback. If you don’t have any reviews, they might choose to visit a store that has positive feedback, so you might be losing prospects even before they reach your doorstep. Yikes!
90% of shoppers read online reviews to decide whether or not to buy a product, so the lack of positive reviews might lead them to another company’s product, even if it’s lower in quality. Again, you are losing prospective customers.
79% of people trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or a family member. That means that positive reviews of your company or products can boost sales, which means more revenue.
85% of consumers think online reviews older than three months are irrelevant; that’s why acquiring lots of reviews at once and no longer investing your time and energy into receiving more is a wasteful strategy. Instead, online reviews should be a vital part of your digital marketing strategy, and you should constantly monitor them and work on getting more.
Of course, way more statistics and facts can demonstrate the importance of online reviews, but at this point, you must already be convinced of their value so let’s head to the methods to use to acquire more feedback for your company and products.
Ask for Reviews Via Email
Even during the golden age of social media channels, 95% of consumers still check their emails daily, so running an email campaign is an excellent method to ask and receive more online reviews. Plus, you can automate email marketing campaigns. You won’t need to sit down and write each one to send to your customers, rather than automate the process and send one after a specific trigger like an online purchase, after delivery of an order, or use a segmented list of your customers and ask for reviews in a single campaign. Asking for online reviews after a customer receives a product is something eBay is good at, plus the easy layout and the simplicity of the text will make you want to click the empty stars in the center of the message.
Use Your Offline Resources for Encouraging Online Reviews
Your online reviews can come from offline sources, and if you own a brick-and-mortar store, you have countless options to use your store to encourage online feedback. The methods you can use there vary from asking customers directly after their purchase, especially if they tell you they liked the store, to using brochures, banners, or even a call-to-action at the bottom of the receipt. However, make sure they review the business once they leave your physical store, as using the same IP as your brick-and-mortar store can indicate your influence on customers, and platforms like Google can remove such reviews.
Verify Your Business and Respond to Online Reviews
Although asking and acquiring reviews is crucial, verifying your business on Google Maps is equally important. That’s because only verified businesses can respond to online reviews. Companies that respond to even just one review earn 4% more in revenue than average, plus when you interact with customers’ feedback, others will feel more motivated to write a review. Moreover, some consumers might write negative reviews, whether because of poor customer experience, product quality, or other reasons. Although receiving a negative review can be disappointing, responding to it and solving the reviewer’s issue can show others you care about your customers, and you can help even when things go wrong. Finally, consumers see businesses that respond to reviews as 1.7x more trustworthy than those that don’t, so verifying your business is vital.
Join Multiple Review Platforms
Although Google is where many or most customers find out about your business, it’s not the only place where you should be getting online reviews. Consumer review websites such as Trustpilot can help increase brand exposure, increase your company’s credibility and drive more traffic to your eCommerce website or a physical store. Online directories and review sites not only help you reach wider audiences but boost your local SEO. That means that other directories can impact your online rankings.
Prominence is one of the three primary factors for Google’s local ranking. Prominence is how well-known a business is based on Google’s information about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. So, if until now your only place for acquiring online reviews was Google Maps, make sure to join other platforms like Trustpilot, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing Places, and other directories, as well as industry-specific directories relevant to your business.
Online reviews are crucial for your business, yet many companies struggle to acquire them. The best way to encourage online feedback is to ask your customers for it. Although straightforward, some still fail to do so, but asking for reviews should be part of your business. Use automated marketing tools like email marketing to ask for online reviews. Additionally, make sure to use offline recourses like your physical store to ask your customers for online reviews, and ensure your business is available on multiple online directories where customers can leave feedback. Besides, respond to reviews, whether negative or positive – your interaction with customers’ reviews can encourage others to leave feedback and increase your company’s credibility. We hope the methods above can help you get more feedback and encourage your customers to leave online reviews to significantly help your business grow, improve your online visibility, and increase revenue.