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Why Positive Online Reviews are Important—And How to get Them!

March 16 2012 by admin one Commented

The Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) has released its findings and validated one thing that we already new—online reviews are VERY important to your business! Let’s explore together why consumers are searching online reviews more than ever and why it is crucial to have an arsenal of online reviews accessible to them. Once we understand why this is important, we’ll delve into how to work this to your advantage.

Why Quality Reviews are important

According to the study, 52% of consumers who make their decisions based on quality over price report that positive online reviews will help sway them to make the leap and do business with that company; this is compared to just 28% of consumers who look for price and location before anything else. Another positive finding is that 52% of consumers trust online reviews as a valid source of information just as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend or colleague as long as the review looks authentic. Another survey published by Bazaarvoice Survey added an additional side note in that 51% of their respondents actually found the reviews more important than the opinions of their friends and family.

This is good news for marketers and businesses, and hopefully the last push that may be needed for those that are still hesitant to try to build their online review arsenal. This puts the power of controlling how your business is seen in your hands as long as you take an active role in generating reviews online.

The survey also found that 76% of consumers use online reviews regularly or occasionally to choose which local business they will use. Over time, consumers have been able to tell the difference between quality reviews and reviews that were added just to provide quantity as seen in the graph below that shows how online review perception has changed in the past two years.

reviews needed for busines trust

Most people look at 2-10 reviews before making a decision on whether or not to use a business, with the majority looking at just 2-3. While this statistic is encouraging, it doesn’t mean that you can just stop your efforts after getting 10 reviews. Having more reviews makes a high star rating more legitimate to consumers, which makes sense. The higher the sample size, the better your five star rating seems earned and valid.

How to Generate Online Reviews for Your Business

So how do we take this new information and implement it into a business plan that you can follow to get more reviews?

Here’s how:

Dominate Search Engines With Your Review Presence

Before we get into ideas on how to generate reviews in new and creative ways, we must understand the importance of having a presence on social media sites. Socialnomics reports that for the world’s largest brands, 25% of search results return content written by users on social media sites, blogs, and review sites. Emarketer also reports that 65% of consumers 18-24 read and trust information on social media sites before making a purchase decision. If your name will be out there with reviews anyways, why shouldn’t you control what goes on there and encourage happy customers to leave feedback?

Creating accounts in Yelp!, Google Places and Insider Pages will give your customers an venue to post their feedback. Although you may already have social media sites set up, having accounts on sites that focus solely on reviews will help you in the long run as well. Just setting up the accounts isn’t going to do you any good. After they are created, you must let people know they are there and ask them to go write reviews!

While you might get reviews organically, you shouldn’t just sit there and wait for it to happen. Would you just put your website out there without any work and expect to get to the top of Google? No! This is the same idea; you have to promote the page to get the results you want. Focusing on clients that you have already worked with that had a positive experience will help ensure that you have good reviews and an overall good rating. While you may have the occasional bad review (it’s inevitable) having several positive reviews will help outweigh those not so nice ones. Train your employees to recognize really happy clients and encourage them to write a review stating the feedback they just provided.

Create a Designated Review Space on Your Website

While having external sites with reviews for your company will help, why not provide feedback in a venue that your clients are already visiting on a regular basis—your website! Creating a dedicated place to showcase the words of your happy clients on your website will not only make the clients that wrote the reviews happy to see they were heard, it will also provide feedback for other potential clients that are visiting your site. Having reviews within your website will help prevent you from having to send them to other sites where they might get lost or find other businesses in the area. The Molly Maids company has the right idea, providing an easy form where clients can submit their reviews.

molly maids

Making it easy for clients to submit their testimonials (via lead capture or offering a link to an email address) is very important. It’s also a good idea to link to this page from your homepage to make it easy for new customers to find and read and easy for current customers to access and submit their reviews.

Having a testimonial submission on your website will not only help you gather positive feedback, it will also let you collect negative feedback so that you can correct the situation before they go to outside sources to voice their complaints. This will not only help your reputation, it will also help you improve your customer service as a company which can only lead to positive results.

Send an Email Marketing Campaign Dedicated to Generating Reviews

After someone has converted to a customer and had a chance to assess how happy they are with the product, send a follow up email to ask them to write a review. Providing both a public and private forum will help ensure they are comfortable leaving feedback. If you have weekly or monthly newsletters that go out on a regular basis, it is a good idea to add a section with a call to action for people to lead feedback.  If you have the resources, you can also create a customer feedback survey to get specific items of feedback that you are looking for to improve your business.

Include Links to Your Review Properties in Your Email Signature

Companies that get a lot of positive reviews advertise their review sites in every place possible. Making the pages accessible in your email signature is an easy way for clients to find you and leave feedback. There should be a link to your review sites in the email signature of every one of your employees, especially those that interact with the clients directly. It is most helpful to include all of the sites that you are set up on as this will help them choose the one that they are most comfortable with or one where they already have an account.

Leverage Your Blog

If you have your whole inbound marketing game together, you probably have a blog and are always looking for a new topic to post. UncommonGoods is one company using their blog to their advantage for generating feedback. They regularly encourage customers to send in comments about their products and feature the best comments in posts on a regular basis. Tagging these posts as Product Reviews or Customer reviews will help these come up for the appropriate terms.

Using comments in this manner create a more permanent avenue to feature the feedback than another social media site would provide while providing material for your blog. Wouldn’t it be great if someone typed in “ yourcomanyname reviews” and your blog post came up as one of the first in the results?

Tailor it to Your Point of Sale

Just because you close most of your sales over the phone or in person doesn’t mean you can’t steer those clients towards writing online reviews or even reviews on comment cards. Giving a comment card to a customer at the point of sale is a great way to ensure positive feedback is given because they are most happy right after making a purchase. If a card is handwritten, you can then ask that customer for permission to post it on your website. You can also attach directions that steer your customers towards writing an online review to their receipt or contract and send them home to share their experience.

One tip that may help generate even more success in collecting feedback is incorporating a bonus for your employees to collect reviews. This will make them more motivated to ask and follow up with a customer to make sure you receive feedback.

Create Case Studies

You can create a case study to find out feedback about certain areas of your business. These don’t have to be long, drawn out, written studies per say, they can be based around shorter videos. You can ask clients to provide short video snippets telling you why they love your product and feature these videos on your website.

Leverage Your Lead Generation Content

Are you the type of company that provides helpful information to consumers before they even pay for your services? Use these lead generating strategies you already have in place as a platform where people who haven’t given you a dime can write a review telling the world how helpful you are to everyone. Adding a link to your review sites in a “thank you” auto response will help incite the person to share their positive experience whether they decided to do business with you or not. While it is not a direct review of one of your products or services, it does help because it shows that you are willing to help everyone even before collecting money.

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One comment on “Why Positive Online Reviews are Important—And How to get Them!

  1. Training your staff to manage and follow up on reviewers is lots of work. Having an effective system that manages the entire process cost effectively is the way to go. Companies like ReviewInc work great with businesses like 220 Marketing to help monitor, collect and get reviews shared on review sites.

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