Cincy SEO

Guide to Online Reviews (and Why You Need Them!)

Did you know that 54.7% of consumers read a minimum of four reviews before buying a product? That’s right – there’s power in real-life testimony, and it could make or break your marketing efforts. While this may sound a little daunting (especially if you’re a small business or start-up), securing excellent reviews isn’t rocket science.


To help you make the most of online reviews and help your business thrive, we’ve put together a handy guide below. 

Why Online Reviews are Important

Still not convinced that online reviews are fundamental to any decent marketing strategy? Here’s why you should think again!


1. Reviews boost credibility and offer social proof

Like it or not, people are social creatures who love to follow a crowd. Before social media came crashing into our lives, people often made purchasing decisions via recommendations from trusted friends and family members. Today, shoppers only need to log onto review sites and social channels to find product reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the greater the social proof of your brand’s excellence!


2. Reviews offer ideas for improvement

Reading customer reviews is one of the quickest ways to ascertain whether your customer service is up to scratch. Even critical reviews can be valuable in pointing out problems of which you may not have been aware.


3. Reviews help to build customer loyalty

Consumers love to feel heard, so encouraging your customers to leave reviews is a great way to build strong relationships with them. Responding to reviews and engaging in conversations on social media will help to strengthen this bond even further.


4. Reviews represent a low-effort form of marketing

If you’ve ever worked on a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, you’ll know how complicated the world of digital marketing can be. With reviews, however, you can let customers do all the hard work for you! Reviews help to build up brand awareness over time and could drive conversions in the long term. 


5. Reviews could boost your search rankings

Reviews are fundamental if you want to climb up local search rankings. Just remember to include reviews containing location names and relevant keywords on your landing pages.


6. Reviews tend to generate more reviews

Being the first person to leave a review can feel daunting, particularly if you find writing tricky. However, once the first customer has taken the plunge, you can expect more and more customers to provide their own feedback. 


According to a survey of online consumers, 61% of US shoppers claim the number of reviews a product receives plays a vital role in their decision-making process. After a few weeks or months, this snowball effect could produce impressive results (i.e., more web traffic and higher profits).


Tips for Responding to Reviews

Don’t be fooled into thinking your work is done once the reviews are in. Whether you’ve received a stellar crop of five-star reviews, a litany of complaints, or something in between, you must respond to at least a few of your valued customers. This is particularly true for companies whose reviews leave a lot to be desired, as responses have been shown to improve ratings in the long term. Follow these simple tips to ensure your responses nurture (rather than sabotage) your brand image:


Address negative reviews first and foremost: This will demonstrate that you’re proactive about rectifying problems quickly and professionally. 


Be polite: This should go without saying, but it can be easy to respond aggressively if you’re feeling emotional or wound up. Remember to apologize and, if necessary, ask follow-up questions that will help you make amends. 


Thank customers for positive reviews: Have you just received a heartwarming review that brightened your day? Let your customers know how much their words meant to you! This will increase the likelihood that they will return and could encourage more people to leave reviews. 



Tips for Getting Online Reviews

So, now you know why customer reviews are important, how can you maximize reviews of your goods and services? Here are a few ideas to get you started:



Ask for reviews: Yes, it really is that simple! You could, for example, send a follow-up email to customers after they have made a purchase using the subject line “How are you enjoying your purchase?” If you’re struggling to drive reviews, you could even offer incentives such as future discounts or free shipping on their next order. 


Create accounts on Google My Business and other relevant sites: You can’t expect customers to leave reviews if they’ve nowhere to post them! Google My Business is a very popular platform for customers to leave reviews, followed by sites such as FacebookYelpAmazon, and TripAdvisor


Highlight reviews on your site and marketing materials: Including reviews on your landing pages, social media accounts, or marketing emails is a great way to demonstrate that you value your customers and, therefore, encourage more people to leave reviews. 


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