Did you know that 90% of customers read reviews before visiting a business? With sites such as Tripadvisor attracting millions of hits each day, positive customer reviews hold a lot of power when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions.
Unfortunately, people are more likely to leave a bad review than a good one. There’s something about indignation that drives consumers to break out their laptops and slate companies online. To attract positive customer reviews, you need to deliver an exceptional service.
However, providing excellent services is only the beginning. If your loyal customers are going to show virtual support, they need the right platform for doing so. Oh, and they may need a little encouragement.
Here’s the good news: promoting positive customer reviews is ridiculously easy. With my five-step guide, you can enhance your online presence the right way.
Use third-party websites to promote customer reviews
Is there a third-party website in your industry that’ll prove useful? Tripadvisor is just one example. Sites such as Yelp allow customers to leave reviews on everything from restaurants through to high street stores.
Then there are arenas such as Trust Pilot, where customers using products and services can express their satisfaction or dismay. And, if you’re really stuck, there’s always Google and Facebook. Last time I had my tires changed, the gentleman who carried out the service asked me to leave a review on Google. I did so promptly, mainly because I had an easy avenue for writing about his fantastic service.
Don’t underestimate the power of using third-party sites for customer reviews
Just in case you need a little persuasion, I’ll use Tripadvisor as an example. According to Statista, around 59% of customers see the words of their peers as being more useful than a star rating. So, even if you’re managing a 5-star hotel, you’ll need some testimonials to ratchet up those bookings.
Statista also notes that 53% of customers will use Tripadvisor as a major influencing factor when booking a hotel. Again, I’ll use my own experience as an example. I’m due to jet off to Orlando soon. A few months after making my booking, I took to Tripadvisor to check out the hotel.
The reviews had plummeted, with the majority expressing their rage alongside a one-star review. In many cases, the guests felt that one-star was too generous. Suspiciously, the same hotel had the odd 5-star review penned by a new user, who often included exact staff names.
I don’t think it’s my work as a freelance copywriter that makes me adept at spotting glaringly obvious fake reviews. Many consumers will arrive at the same conclusion, so resist the urge to pay for such services.
Offer incentives that encourage reviews
Okay, so now you’ve added your business to a selection of third-party websites. Customers are free to leave their comments, but you’re only experiencing a trickle of feedback.
Your work towards encouraging reviews shouldn’t end with excellent service levels and third-party platforms. You need to start incentivising the process.
Although it’s clear that customers are willing to use reviews, only 1-in-5 will write them. If you’re ready to tap into the hidden four that aren’t taking to the Internet to rave about your products and services, try the following:
- Give customers the chance to join an exclusive discounts program in exchange for leaving reviews.
- Provide customers with money off vouchers.
- Consider asking influential individuals to try and promote your products in exchange for free goods.
As econsultancy states, positive customer reviews can lead to an 18% increase in sales. So, when you’re giving items away for free and offering discounts, see your efforts as an opportunity to enhance your ROI.
Encourage customers to share their purchases
Do you shop via Amazon? If so, you may notice that the site gives you the chance to share your recent purchase with friends via Twitter and Facebook. After all, who doesn’t want to know about your latest bonsai tree and rosehip oil purchases?
Once your customers complete an order, give them the opportunity to do the same. Amazon’s approach is in line with the marketing efforts of other brands. Around 92-percent rely on Facebook, and 62-percent use Twitter.
If your business is smaller, you may find that advertising via channels such as Instagram and Twitter is expensive. Big brands often price smaller businesses out of such channels, which means you need to find other ways to use them. Although you can tweet and post pretty photos, encouraging customers to do the same removes a lot of the effort that comes with each channel.
While encouraging customers to share purchases seems like a far cry from positive customer reviews, it’s an infinitely positive action. After all, they’re only going to share the purchases they’re proud of. If they’re an influential member of their friendship network, their actions will soon encourage others to follow suit.
Blog regularly and invite comments
Okay, so of course I am going to promote blogging. I mean, as a copywriter, I’m hardly likely to do anything else. Right?
Although 80% of web traffic is set to go towards videos, web content in the form of writing isn’t going anywhere yet. Content marketing is 62% less pricey than outbound marketing efforts. You’re still gaining exposure, at a fraction of the price.
Admittedly, writing product descriptions and creating website text both count as content marketing. However, Google doesn’t favour the sites that don’t put in more effort. Adding regular blog posts to your site boosts your search engine rankings. It enhances your exposure too. More than 90% of 18-49 year olds get their news and information online. Seize on those figures by adding regular blogs to your site.
By now, you’re probably wondering what using a copywriter has to do with positive customer reviews? When you hire a freelance writer to produce your blogs, you connect with your customers on a personal level. Consistency in terms of tone adds to your brand identity. If you leave the comments box open, they’ll soon start providing feedback that you can use for future marketing efforts. Oh, and if they love what you write, they’ll share it with their friends.
Respond to customer reviews in a professional manner
Now, brace yourself for a glaringly obvious statement: encouraging positive reviews means you’ll attract some bad ones. As we love to say in Britain, you’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea. Or, in normal global speak, you can’t endear yourself to everyone.
When the bad reviews do pour in, respond in a positive manner. Don’t accuse the author of being a troll or a competitor using sleazy tactics. And, don’t blame them when something goes wrong. No, the customer isn’t always right. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll look any less professional when you descend into a tit-for-tat exchange with one.
Stress how you’re going to improve. Thank them for feedback. Encourage them to return. Sure, virtual grovelling feels a little weak. Just see it as an exercise in being the bigger person. Prospective future customers will warm to you as a result.
When the positive customer reviews start to flood in, you’ll experience a reward for your efforts in terms of financial gains. If you have a talent for attracting good reviews, how do you manage it?