If you are about to purchase a new product online, what is the first thing you do? You may have gotten a recommendation from a friend or family member, but you would probably also consider checking the product reviews online. According to a recent survey, 72% of U.S. online users state that customer product reviews are important when shopping online. Online reviews are an effective marketing tool to promote your business and products quickly and efficiently to people who are already in the market for your products. When a consumer is reading reviews, the decision and urgency to buy are what had prompted the search in the first place. That’s an invaluable opportunity for small businesses with tight — or non-existent — marketing budgets. With the help of a quick Google search, Yelp Review or a Facebook recommendation, having those positive online reviews is what will set your business up for success.
This graph shows the complete shift in digital behaviour with 26% of adults almost constantly on the internet and 43% being online multiple times a day. Consumers are using the internet to figure out where they want to spend money, and their visits are increasingly prompted by real and urgent purchasing intent. Keeping this in mind, roughly 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s massive! Most potential consumers will consider star ratings, total number of reviews, and typically most people will look at the highest rated reviews, as well as the lowest rated to get a well-rounded perspective of the business and what they might expect from it. This will assist in helping them decide whether or not they should move forward.
Online reputation management is valuable for any business and if your business is actively monitoring and responding to online reviews, you're then able to take control and help shape the conversation. This also shows prospective buyers the business cares about their customer’s experience, which most people value.
Don’t just sit back and hope customers will give your business glowing reviews – be proactive! Take the time to encourage customers to post reviews about their positive experiences working with your business. 68% of customers will leave a review if asked. This strategy is meant to keep your happiest customers reviews the most visible and hopefully ensures a healthy positive-to-negative review ratio.
Keep in mind there will always be negative reviews but having balanced positive and negative reviews also helps make your business seem legitimate. It is important to use any negative reviews as a second chance. Having quality responses and engaging with dissatisfied customers in online review forums can actually lead to repeat business, and up to 70% of complaining customers will give the business another shot if their concerns are resolved. In the past, dissatisfied customers would have never likely voiced any concerns and therefore most companies would not have the opportunity to turn the negative into a positive. When prospective buyers are also reading business responses to negative reviews this can also indicate to them the business genuinely cares about their customers. Reading these reviews also give business owners the opportunity to understand where there may be room for improvement with their service or product.
Embrace online reviews and use them to your advantage because with the digital shift, they are the new word of mouth and prove to be a make or break for many when in that final purchase stage.
There are various ways to approach customers for reviews. Consider the appropriate tactic depending on the situation and take full advantage. Asking for a review in person can be intimidating but it is often the most effective, however, here are some other options:
Ask for Reviews via Email: This approach is less personal, but still effective since most people live in their inboxes these days.
Email Blast – less personal but will help cast a wider net.
Personal Email – this is another great way to contact your more valued clients. Consider sending a follow up email within a certain timeframe to a customer who has purchased something. For example if you know a customer has recently purchased a dress from your e-commerce website, you could send a follow up email asking how they found the dress and prompting them to leave a review about it!
We ultimately don’t know what the future holds for review sites, but what we do know for now is that they play an instrumental role in helping guide prospective customers on their journey to purchase products or services. So how are you going to start using this valuable tool as a marketing strategy to take advantage of the opportunities online reputation management can provide your business? Unsure where to begin? Don’t have the time or resources to keep up with daily check-ins on the various review platforms? If you are looking for more information and solutions regarding managing online reviews, MarketTap is here to help! Book a free consultation call today.