With the remote world dominating how we do business and our digital marketing practices, you might be surprised just how important ‘word of mouth’ actually is. In the online medium, this is obtained through testimonials and business reviews. Think of a customer review as a form of validation- that your product or service has been tried by a real person and even better is good. Using customer reviews is a powerful marketing tool to not only show, but also convince, potential customers that your product or service is the one they should invest in.
Let’s look a little deeper…
Why collect reviews
As mentioned above, reviews are a powerful marketing tool in both convincing and satisfying potential customers that the service or product you are offering works- and is an option worth exploring. But there are more positives to it than that. Perhaps the most important aspect is that they help to build trust between you and the potential customer. Whether the review is in the form of a testimonial, star rating or even a personal account, they all help reinforce that you are offering an effective customer experience by providing a product or service they can trust. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes- reassurance from another human being can provide the confidence needed to invest, but also provide a real insight into your business, especially if they are new to your product or service.
As the internet grows, so does the competition, and business reviews are becoming more essential to make you stand out from the rest. Recent data from ‘BigCommerce’ has revealed that a whopping 92% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase and that 72% feel a positive review would increase their trust in a business- a huge market.
Other ways killer reviews offer great benefits:
- Reviews improve web traffic and SEO- You want your business to be discoverable right? Well, think about including those customer reviews then. Stats suggest websites utilizing reviews can see traffic increase by 45% and that 5-star ratings can significantly improve clicks on Google by up to 25%- and that’s without even considering keywords!
- They’re a driving force behind revenue. Yep more reviews means more potential sales which means- you guessed it- more revenue for your business. Get into the habit of using your best reviews regularly to increase your revenue by up to 62% as well as improving conversion rates and increasing how long consumers spend on your site- a powerful marketing tool all round.
Bonus tip: The power of video reviews
Most people think reviews are in written format, but have you ever considered asking your customers to provide a video review? Video works particularly well at getting your brand story across quickly, as well as bringing your product and services to life. Recent data suggests this form of content can generate 3x more engagement than other formats, helping to grow your site, business and channel those all-important conversions.
Furthermore, providing consumers with a selection of relevant video reviews ensures they stay on your page longer and are an essential step in the ‘customer journey’. As the way we engage with technology advances, video is now the ‘go-to’ for many consumers, and guarantees you stand out from other competitors who use solely written format.
Where to display reviews
It can be difficult to know where to start with managing the reviews you receive. If this is the case, consider first using third-party sites and letting them do the work for you. Google reviews, for example, have become an important digital marketing strategy especially for local businesses, as many potential customers turn to Google first. Google My Business encourages customers to leave reviews about a product/service and also to browse the reviews already written. But what’s in it for them? Well, it helps to improve their existing business model, whilst in turn making you more visible (potential customers see these reviews when researching your business address or looking at your products online for example.)
You may have less control over what is being posted and how it is displayed, yet if you get a good review you would like to highlight, you are still able to showcase a third-party review on your own website. How? By embedding them into a webpage. You can also consider reposting reviews from these third party websites, just remember to check their policies first to ensure you aren’t breaching any copyright laws! It is also worth noting Goggles review policy allows you to ask the consumer to leave a review. It’s best to ask with a goal or purpose in mind, but worth considering if you have a consumer you know was particularly pleased with the product or service you provided.
How to actually ask for reviews
This leads on nicely to my next point… you have a consumer you would like to leave a review, but how should you physically ask them to do so? There are several methods and mediums you can use here- none of which should involve spamming the customer’s email inbox! It is true email is an effective tool to use- it is one of the fastest and most convenient ways of reaching your customer. If you plan to use this method, consider creating a landing page on your site allowing you to collect testimonials easily., or send a newsletter to your subscribers which directs them straight to the form to do so. The internet has several email ‘review request’ templates available on the best way to achieve this.
Email is great, but is the most common method of asking for customer reviews. So what other mediums should you consider?
- Add a link to your site- a link to the review page should have a home on your landing page, serving as a gentle nudge to customers that their feedback is valued. Likewise, if you have a blog it could be included at the bottom as a friendly reminder.
- SMS message- Since more and more customers consume websites through their smartphone screen, you may consider sending a text message as a more direct method- especially if you fear getting lost in an overflowing inbox or ending up in junk mail! Why not try sending a text with a link asking your customer (nicely) for a review?
- Social Media- The power of social media is growing daily. It is fast becoming a recognised method for conducting effective business, as well as allowing you to stay in touch with your audience. For this method to work, engagement is key. If you have a highly-connected audience, a large number of followers and a social media community, consider asking for a review request on your preferred platform. Instagram or Facebook is particularly effective for this.
When to ask for reviews
So you know how to ask for customer reviews and have selected your preferred method, but when should you ask? Is the timing key? Well yes, like everything in marketing, it is worth considering. Asking for a review too late means customers are unlikely to bother, or remember, to leave a review. The optimal time to ask is when your customer has received the most benefit from your product or service. So for this, we recommend asking for a review immediately or soon after customers have completed their purchase or you’ve provided them with a service- it’s fresh in their mind and they are more likely to have the time to do so.
A couple of other email request tips:
If you are sending an email, consider doing so 1) in the morning 2) in the middle of the week as response rates are known to be higher.
What questions to ask in the review
Ok, so you are all set to go… except what should you be asking the consumer? Before you ask for a review, it is important you have considered which questions are important from a business perspective and encourage your customer to be as responsive as possible. Here are a few to consider to get you started:
- Ask about how they found you
- How did you hear about us?
- Why did you choose our product or service?
- Have you tried a competitor? What made you change?
- Ask about customer satisfaction
- Was the turnaround satisfactory?
- Are you happy with the product & service? Was it what you expected?
- Ask for details
- What features of our product/service do you like the most?
- How did it impact your life?
- Was the price competitive?
Tools you need to collect reviews
As we mentioned earlier, there are ways you can let technology do most of the work when collating reviews. Here are a few of our favs:
Google My Business- Once you have a Google My Business dashboard set up, you can share a short URL with the customer on a computer or by the mobile app. Find out how to get started here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/7035772?hl=en
Boast- Boast makes it easy for customers to share their experience with your brand. You just need to add a snippet of code to your site or share the link provided in your account, which enables you to collect reviews in video, photo or text format; https://boast.io/
Delighted- This tool works by asking customers to take a single question survey, as well as rating your product/service and providing key feedback in their own words. This feedback then appears instantly in your dashboard for your use: https://delighted.com/
Magnfi- This one is specifically for video reviews. A request is sent to the customer’s email with a link enabling them to record a review using their smartphone, tablet or computer. Once submitted, a company logo, background music, and call-to-action is added at the end for an all-round polished video testimonial: https://www.magnfi.com/
And finally, some customer review bonus tips:
- Make it mobile-friendly first: Remember I said more customers are using their smartphones than ever before? It is therefore essential that your text and surveys are responsive and adaptable to different size screens. Designing these mobile first ensures customers are able to properly view your request, which makes all the difference in receiving a response.
- Express gratitude by thanking every reviewer: The way you ask for a review is key, but so too is showing appreciation for those that take the time to leave one. Monitoring your reviews once a week might seem anal-retentive, but you need to be in the know about what is said. Try dedicating a time, like Sunday morning to engage with review sites. In around 10 minutes you could be up to date with your reviews, and it’s your chance to thank customers for the reviews. Address customer comments with one or two personal sentences- this isn’t a ‘like’ or ‘thumbs up’ situation! Instead, use it as a chance to prove you are receptive and responsive to your customer’s comments.
And that’s it! Our guide to how (and why you should) utilize customer reviews for your business.
Are there any tips you have learnt when gaining customer feedback? We would love to hear your thoughts!