Reviews! Your most valuable marketing asset. Reviews create Pre-Sold Prospects for your business who want the same great experience they just read about.
The power of reviews is nothing new. Word-of-mouth has long been the most successful form of marketing. The challenge today is that those spoken neighbor-to-neighbor recommendations are now digital snippets accessible to all and available online forever. Making and maintaining a fantastic business review profile is not solely about reputation management. It isn’t just a PR exercise, though that plays its part.
A strong review profile is one of your most valuable marketing assets. It’s a conversion optimization tool. A trust signal. A mode of customer acquisition. And of course, a crucial ranking signal.
Reviews increase your Search Engine Ranking
Search aside, online reviews are becoming more important to consumers year-on-year. The BrightLocal 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey was definitive in its findings;
• 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations for a business, product or service.
• 91% of consumers read online reviews.
• 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
• 50% of people now read online reviews regularly, compared with just 33% in 2015.
• Only 9% of consumers today neglect to read online reviews, compared with 29% in 2010.
• Just 5% of consumers say they don’t pay attention to online reviews. This is down from 11% in 2015.
Increase your Google, Yelp and FB Reviews
A Google Maps Business review (or at least the average star rating) is one of the first things consumers will see when they conduct a search on Google or Google Maps, so naturally it’s also the foundation of a positive review profile. Yelp and Facebook will also show up high in the search results. Don’t forget them.
7 out of 10 consumers will leave an online review if asked to do so.
Our own research determined in 2016 that 7 out of 10 consumers will leave an online review if asked to do so. You can offer an incentive such as a discount on a subsequent purchase for a review but common sense, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Endorsement Guides and Google’s own policing of incentivized reviews should be your yardsticks for what is and isn’t ethical.
For ease of reference, Google’s policy states, “Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer.
Instead, set up a reviews page on your website which directs customers to the relevant review platform. This dedicated review page should be set up to show your best real online reviews. Online reviews are much more powerful than written testimonials on your website.
Additionally send out emails asking and making it easy to leave a review.
How to get reviews from customers
There are a number of ways to ethically request customer reviews. A combination of two or more methods is most effective, but only trial and error will determine what best suits your particular customer demographic. If soliciting reviews is new to you, try these suggestions and then refine your approach based on what works and what doesn’t:
• At point of sale, hand out postcards or business cards with the URL of your review page (or logos of your preferred review sites) on it. Customers are more likely to leave reviews if you make the process easy for them.
• Send out personalized emails to your customers, thanking them for their business and asking for honest reviews.
• Simple reminders are important. Many consumers won’t specifically plan to leave a review, but remember that 7 out of 10 are happy to do so if asked.
• Make it as easy as possible for customers to leave a review by offering a range of formats and streamlining the process. Try to ensure they only have to click one link and avoid asking them to log in in order to vocalize their opinions.
• Reach out to customers promptly to encourage them to leave a review after a sale. If you get in touch with them two weeks after their purchase, they’re far less likely to post an accurate review than if you contact them a day or two later.
If you’d like more help or an easy to use System to get more 5-Star Reviews for your business – Please get in touch! We specialize in getting you better Google Visibility and more 5-Star Reviews!