Word of mouth has always been the holy grail of marketing.
Nothing builds trust in a brand more than a personal recommendation, but word-of-mouth marketing has always been a tough thing to harness… until now. These days with so much of our lives happening in online spaces, online reviews have become the new “word of mouth” and they are more important for businesses than ever before.
A recent survey conducted by BrightLocal found that not only are more consumers reading reviews than ever before, but 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from friends or family.
According to the same survey, a whopping 81% of consumers use Google to search for businesses (and read reviews), so if you want to start incorporating customer reviews into your business marketing strategy, Google is the obvious place to start.
One of the best things about Google reviews is that they can have an incredibly powerful impact on your business but they don’t cost a single cent. “Claiming” your business on Google is free of charge, and any customer is free to leave a review. Your only investment is time – and it’s a simple as reaching out to customers and asking them to leave you a review, and engaging with reviews as they appear.
Positive reviews about your business will naturally increase click-through rates to your website, but it will also change the mindset of the customer before they’ve even seen your site. Positive reviews boost your brand credibility, so visitors to your site will already be “warmed up” to your offering before they’ve clicked a single link.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is – or should be – a high priority for any business looking for success, and Google reviews are a great way to get ahead of the curve. The more positive reviews your business receives, the higher it may rank in Google’s SEO algorithm, massively increasing the visibility of your business online.
Using Google reviews effectively will allow you to receive essential feedback about your business. Whether positive or negative, feedback can be a valuable tool for your future growth. The reviews you receive on Google can also be used as testimonials across other areas of your business; incorporate them into your product pages on your website, include them in your email marketing, or share them on your social media pages.
Engaging with customers through their reviews demonstrates that businesses value their feedback. Responding to both positive and negative reviews fosters trust and shows your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction. This active interaction nurtures loyalty and can lead to increased repeat business.
Potential customers often look for ‘social proof’ before making a purchase. When they see others vouching for your product or service through positive reviews, it significantly influences their purchasing decision. It’s the modern-day version of word-of-mouth recommendations.
Not all reviews will be positive, and that’s okay. Negative feedback, when addressed correctly, can offer invaluable insights into areas of your business that might need improvement. By addressing these concerns promptly and effectively, you demonstrate a proactive approach to enhancing your services.
The first step is to claim your Google Business Profile. Unless you’re a very new business, you’ll likely already appear in Google Maps and local searches. You may already even have some reviews! Claiming your business profile is completely free; simply search your business name and click on the “Own This Business?” button to get started.
Reach out to your most valued customers and ask them to leave a review; starting with some glowing reviews from customers who know you well will get the ball rolling nicely. Then, incorporate asking for reviews into your sales process. Send out review requests a few days after customers have received their items in the post, or the evening after they’ve used your services, when the experience is still fresh in their mind. You can also ask friends and family to review your business, but be careful, soliciting reviews by offering product incentives (like a free cup of coffee for patrons who leave a review) is against Google’s terms of service and if you get caught, your ranking could be forever harmed.
Not sure how to ask? Ask us about our Review Automation Solutions here.
Positive reviews are always a delight to read. Be sure to thank your customers for taking the time to review you – showing gratitude in a public forum will elevate your brand even further in the minds of your potential customers – but don’t be afraid of negative reviews. Your response to public criticism can turn a negative review into a positive for your business. Be professional and kind, respond quickly and fairly – potential customers will be able to see that you did your best to resolve a tricky situation and will respect you for it.
When utilised correctly, customer reviews can be a powerful business tool that will help your business grow. By integrating them within your overall marketing strategy, you can make the most of the value that they offer. Here are some general tips to consider when offering the option to leave reviews for your business.
Highlight a few standout reviews on your website’s homepage or dedicated testimonials page. It provides instant credibility to visitors.
Turn positive reviews into shareable graphics and post them on your social media platforms. It’s a way to celebrate and acknowledge satisfied customers and also attract potential new ones.
Encourage more customers to leave reviews by offering incentives, like discounts or freebies. This not only boosts the number of reviews but also enhances customer engagement.