Online reviews are critical to the sales success of your business – large or small.
In fact, 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Source: Search Engine Journal), and personal recommendations are the number one driver of consumer purchase decisions at every state in the purchase cycle (Source: Forbes).
I hope you agree that this is enormously important.
For emphasis, allow me to rephrase this… For 72 percent of consumers, online reviews are the number one driver when making a purchase decision.
So, enough about that; let’s discuss how you can go about getting more online reviews from your consumers or clients to favourably influence consumer purchase decisions.
Ask for them
This is dead simple, but sometimes asking people for a review is all it will take. Maybe they would like to leave a review, but wouldn’t think of it on their own. Or, particularly if you own or work for a small business, maybe they don’t realize just how much an online review can help.
So go ahead and ask your consumers and clients to give you a review.
Seek them out, and republish them
Chances are high that people are talking about your business or brand on various online and social media channels already. Through naturally occurring discussions, people are probably leaving what amounts more or less to being a review.
Conduct some social listening and online investigative work to track these people down, find quotes, comments, or anything that resembles a review and ask those people for permission to republish them on your own digital and social media channels for prospective customers and clients to reference.
Reward consumers for them
Writing, filming or photographing a review takes your consumers and clients time and effort.
You can reward them for providing an online review by giving them something in return. Perhaps you could consider giving them a discount, cash back, an extra something or other, a free add-on, additional servicing, extended warranty, or anything that will reward them, or increase the value of your offerings, in exchange for their time and effort.
Inspire your consumers or clients
There are two ways to dramatically increase the likelihood that your consumers will provide an online review. First, you could dazzle them with the quality of your product, or blow them away with the impeccably high quality of your service. And second, you could really disappoint them.
Aim to please, and completely over-deliver on expectations and you’ll find that your consumers and clients will be more likely to sing your business’ praises online in reviews.
The statistics in support of online reviews are very compelling, and obviously any business owner or employee should pounce at the opportunity to positively influence purchase decisions.
If you’re not already, you should be taking online reviews seriously, and be working to find techniques, tools, tactics and strategies that are effective for your business to acquire them.
I know that online reviews can be nerve-wracking to some business owners and brands. What if they’re bad? What if the person reviewing your product isn’t in your target demo? What if nobody has anything positive to say?
Try to get over these fears if you have them. Focus your business on providing amazing service, or exceptional products, and your reviews should reflect that quality.
If you get the odd negative review, well, it’s really not the end of the world. Believe it or not, the occasional negative review can actually have a positive effect on your business.
How do you encourage your consumers/clients to create online reviews? How do you mitigate the chances of receiving negative reviews? If you do receive one, how do you deal with negative reviews?
As always, it would be great to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial