The internet has created communities and connected customers in a way that has never been seen before. These customers, even though they don't know each other, help one another through the use of customer reviews online. Whether in stars, comments, grades, or tomatoes, these reviews are aggregated, sortable, and can be viewed by anyone publicly.
Online retail platform, Shopify, examined the impact of reviews and how it generates further business for companies. They found that consumers love online reviews and after reading reviews, a potential customer is more likely to visit your website. Studies have also found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as they would a personal referral. That is why, as part of your online marketing strategy, it is important to understand what these reviews can do, where to find them, and how to respond to them when warranted.
It is also advantageous to cultivate reviews by asking your promoters to say a few words that can be used on your website or on well-known review sites that your target customers look at frequently. All of this will deliver more marketing leads to the top of your sales funnel, which helps you to build the pipeline of prospects, and grow your business.
In this guide, we take a look at the different strategies for sourcing, getting value from and responding to customer reviews. Customers will talk about you whether you like it or not, so being proactive in generating positive reviews and responsive to the negative ones can make a huge difference to your business.
Review sites allow customers to provide public comments about a product or a company which can be used by potential customers. As part of your strategy, you need to be conscious of where your customers are rating you and where your competitors are being rated. Unlike most social media platforms, which have B2B and B2C companies intermingled, review pages do tend to focus on one type of vendor or the other. And if your competition is there, you will want to be there for comparison purposes.
Sites such as Amazon, Google My Business and Yelp are used mainly for B2C reviews. These sites collect feedback from customers or purchasers of a product and aggregate the ratings with both a quick overview of the overall sentiment, as well as a way to read specific comments for more detail. In all cases a user can provide a review with details and the owner of the business can respond in public to the post. These sites often do rankings of businesses by location or style of product, which can attract more attention to your business.
For B2B businesses, Capterra and G2 Crowd are examples where you can review an organization on certain criteria. These sites contain reviews that have both been requested by the company and ones that purchasers have added themselves. Their ratings typically require more details about the user's experience and allow them to express specific positives and negatives in addition to the customer's overall rating. To help combat fake reviews, they often require login using a LinkedIn account or a verified email. They are a powerful tool for marketing and sales to showcase the values your product drives.
Another aspect of tooling that should be considered are tools like Feefo and TrustPilot, which help connect reviews to your Search Engine Optimization strategy. If you are confident in your ability to generate buzz through positive online reviews, you want to make sure those reviews are exposed to search results from your potential customer base.
As with survey tools, which review tool you choose is highly dependent on your business and demographic. Keep in mind that the tool you need to use may be chosen by your users by virtue of them posting to a site even if you hadn't planned on responding to reviews there. With so many places to look for reviews you will want to control the message as much possible. There are a few ways to maintain control of your reviews. A good marketing strategy will include soliciting positive reviews from identified promoters and shaping the user-generated conversation.