How to Boost Your Brand with Online Reviews
Having a digital presence is crucial for maintaining and growing a successful business. Digital marketing can include having a user-friendly website, targeting your audience with paid advertising, and/or posting on social media, to name a few. But a form of marketing that might be often overlooked is online reviews. Yes, believe it or not, online reviews are essential for boosting your brand and building a strong customer base.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of online reviews, what review sites to focus on, and how to ask your past customers for reviews.
Why Are Online Reviews Important?
A steady stream of positive customer reviews can help build trust and brand credibility. On average, consumers read 10 reviews before deciding to trust the business. The more reviews your business has, the more legitimate your business will appear.
People trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. They are social proof that deciding to purchase your service or product was a good decision and they recommend others do the same.
2. Decision Making:
Customer reviews are a key variable when making a business decision. Think about the last time you went online shopping. More than likely you scrolled through a dozen reviews to make sure you were paying for a good product or service. In fact, consumers spend an average of 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a final decision.
Many consumers already have their minds made up about what product or service to purchase just from reading the experiences of past customers. Thirty-two percent of consumers go straight to the business’s website after reading a positive review, 16% visit the business, and 11% contact the business.
Online reviews include helpful information on how to improve or enhance your customer experience. What better way to hear how you and your staff or product are doing than to read it directly from the customers themselves?
No review is a bad review. Positive reviews are great because they let your business know you’re on the right track to building a strong customer following. While negative reviews can seem both daunting and destructive, if you know how to respond to reviews and are willing to improve, you’ll find that negative reviews can be incredibly valuable. If something — or someone — isn’t working well, you’ll hear about it through an online review and make appropriate changes before it happens again.
Take the time to read reviews. Consumers are telling you what’s working and what’s not, so don’t miss these opportunities to better your business.
4. Search Engine Optimization:
Search engine algorithms reward websites with high levels of user-generated content (reviews written by your customers) as they show legitimacy to your brand. Online reviews boost SEO by providing websites with fresh, relevant content, optimized titles, backlinking, and keywords—the perfect recipe for a high-ranking website. And the best part is, your customers are creating SEO optimized content for you.
Let’s not forget the importance of keywords when it comes to SEO. However, knowing what keywords to improve your search ranking is incredibly challenging. Online reviews provide valuable insight into how people are talking about your practice and the kind of keywords they are using to describe your product or service. Does the language match your marketing? If not, consider using the same language as your customers to optimize keywords for your online marketing efforts.
Top Review Sites
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of online reviews, let’s discuss the review sites you should be focusing your efforts on.
Top General Review Sites for Businesses:
No matter what your business industry is, your potential consumers will more than likely be heading to one of these general review sites to see what past customers have said about your product or service.
Almost every business in the US will also have reviews of their business on one of these sites so be sure to monitor your reviews accordingly.
Top Review Sites By Industry:
• Medical: ZocDoc, Vitals, HealthGrades
• Nursing and Senior care: Care, Caring.com, SeniorAdvisor
• Technology: Capterra, SoftwareAdvice, GetApp
• Education: GreatSchools, Course Report, Niche
• Legal: Martindale-Hubbell, Avvo, Lawyers.com
• Travel: TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Airbnb
• Banks and Finance: Credit Karma, Lending Tree, SuperMoney
• Restaurants: TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Zomato
• Real Estate: Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com
• Contractors: Houzz, Angie’s List, Home Advisor
How to Ask for Reviews
The next step when it comes to online reviews is to actually ask your customers to write you one. This may seem like an intimidating task, but your customers are willing to help you out if you’ve provided them with a good experience. Seventy-six percent of people who are asked to leave reviews do so.
There are many ways to ask your customers to write you a review:
• Phone call
• Personalized email
• Email blast
• Email signature
• Website review page
• Social media post
• Thank you page
• Receipt or invoice
Follow these guidelines:
- Ask when the consumer is happiest with your product or service. This could be right after a purchase was made, or after having a great customer interaction with them. Your consumer is excited about your business and can’t wait to spread the word about how much you’ve helped them.
- Respond to reviews. Your customers took the time to write a review, so the least you can do is acknowledge their time and willingness to provide feedback. Whether the review is good or bad, responding to their post will let your consumers know that you are taking their feedback into consideration and working to better their experience. Ninety-seven percent of consumers read the businesses’ responses to the reviews and 45% of consumers said they are more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews. So, be sure to actively monitor review sites and respond quickly to let your customers know you’re listening.
- Here’s what to include in your ask:
• Personalized message
• How they are helping you
• How they will benefit
• How long it will take
• How much their feedback means to you
Here’s an example of how to ask for customer reviews:
Here’s what NOT to do when asking for online reviews:
- Do NOT offer gift cards or discounts in exchange for writing a review. Many review sites have terms and conditions against incentives to ensure all reviews are honest and accurate.
- Do NOT forget to respond to reviews. Again, this is your way to show appreciation for your customer’s feedback. Don’t leave them hanging.
Needless to say, good or bad online reviews are an incredible way to boost your digital brand and acquire new business. Be sure to follow these tips to help build a successful review strategy for your business.
Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Pyxl is a fully-comprehensive digital agency that delivers custom digital marketing strategies to help overcome your unique challenges and needs. Contact us today to learn how we can take your business to the next level.
Updated: Sep 15, 2020