When a potential customer begins the process of researching the purchase of a product or service, they generally turn to reviews to help them finalize their decision. A positive online review can greatly influence the buying behaviour of a consumer, even more so than a discount or attractive pricing or convenient business location1
Not convinced? Here are average figures from various marketing studies in regards to the influence of reviews:
Therefore, having customers post positive online reviews is a can’t-miss component of any business’ digital marketing strategy, as it can be the deciding factor that leads to a purchase. In order to take advantage of such an essential tool, we’ve compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts to maximize your use of reviews to engage in more significant interactions.
1. Do: Help your customers publish their reviews on social platforms
Write simple and complete instructions on your website. For example, insert links to your company or products on YP.ca, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, LinkedIn and more. You can also encourage the writing of a review on each of these sites (for example, you could state that customers are welcome to leave a review on YP.ca by clicking on the “Write a Review” button that is located in the “Ratings & Reviews” section).
2. Do: Identify happy customers and encourage them to leave a review
In certain cases, where a customer has responded very positively to an interaction with your business, you can encourage these individuals to leave a review. This will allow the rest of your current and potential customer base to see exactly how good your customer service really is. If they do accept to write a review, send them an email or private message, depending on the platform, with instructions on how to do so. Be sure to follow up after a few days to thank them for leaving the review and be sure to offer an incentive to continue doing business in the future with a potential offer or future discount.
If the review is truly exceptional and detailed, you can ask permission to use their email on your website for promotional means. It would be best to use the review to promote a certain aspect of your business (customer service, product/service appreciation, sale/reimbursement policies, etc.)
3. Don’t: Cheat
The biggest ‘’Don’t’’ in the field of reputation management is having yourself, a friend or family member write a review about your business. It would be the equivalent to liking your own post on social media; nobody is going to take you seriously if they connect the dots. Furthermore, several websites can pick this up and conclude that you’re writing your own reviews. Your business’ brand and image can take a serious hit and push potential customers towards a competitor.
4. Don’t: Incentivize Reviews
You may see other websites online talking about the benefits of incentivizing reviews on their website via contests or draws, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Customers are smart, and will likely not want to be thrown a discount or a prize simply to give you a good review, as it would feel disingenuous.
You want your reviews to come from the heart, and an organic, non-orchestrated review from your customer is exactly what you want to convince potential customers that you’re
5. Do: Send customer surveys that include a ‘’Leave a Review’’ button built in.
When sending your customers a thank you email, include a section in this email where you can encourage them to leave a review. It’s important to do so in a very soft manner while promoting a very positive tone throughout your email. This will increase your chances in receiving a positive review while showing your willingness to communicate with current and former customers with ease.
Reviews from your satisfied customers will be one of the best leverage points to increase your sales. Considering what little time they require, you should prioritize them in your marketing strategy. If you get negative reviews, use them as opportunities to show how much you care about your customers’ satisfaction.
This is why review focused platforms, such as Yellow Pages’ NetSync Complete can help you both pool all your online business reviews on various popular websites on one user-friendly platform and schedule social media posts for Google and Facebook at the same time! Now that is efficiency, and it lets you focus on what’s most important: your customers!