In this new era of social media and information sharing, when it comes to creating an impact on customer perception, no other fancy marketing technique, advertising or sales pitch comes close to the power of word-of-mouth.
For a small business, the easiest way to developing a killer word of mouth strategy starts with getting a handful of online reviews.
Online Reviews Directly Impact Buyer Decision and Google Rankings
According to BrightLocal, 72% of consumers will trust a business more after reading positive customer reviews; that number increases if there are more than 2 reviews. 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation from a friend or colleague. 70% of potential buyers always or sometimes taking action based on online reviews.
Besides having a strong and immediate effect on customer perception and their final buying decision, reviews on external sites as well as your own website also have an impact on your search rankings.
Feedback and positive ratings on directories and social reviews sites like Google+ can increase your chances of being placed in Google’s local 3-pack. They can also help your business claim a much-coveted higher spot on search results pages, as positive reviews are a sign of trustworthiness and useful content.
As the importance of word of mouth surges higher every year, it’s a great idea to start building your online reviews arsenal early. Here’s how you can go about doing it.
How to Ask For Reviews From Customers
The best candidates to review your business will be your recent, happy customers. Here are a few tactful tips for getting your best customers to write you a review.
This might seem simple but sometimes simple solutions work well. All you need to do is ask your customers to leave a comment about your products or services. The best time to do this is when you’ve just finished a job or when your customers are satisfied with your products and comment about it to you personally. Be honest and explain that it will help your business if they left a positive comment online.
Give Them Access
Customers will rarely go out of their way to write reviews and that’s why it’s a struggle to get positive comments. When they’re upset, they’ll have no problems making the extra effort to find a business on a review website and leave criticism, but they’re less likely to comment if they’re satisfied with your services. Encourage your customers to review by giving them easy access. You can add links to Google+ and any other directory you are on, on your website. Sample testimonials are a great way to help customers write a good review.
Incentives and Rewards
This can be a bit of a double-edged sword because the last thing you want is to make others think you’re buying reviewers. If search engines find an abrupt increase in glowing reviews about your business; they might suspect you’re buying them instead of earning them. If you intend to offer incentives, keep them small and relatively unsubstantial tokens of appreciation.
The Red Carpet Treatment
Customers can be great influencers; and if treated well, they’ll recommend your products and services to others. If you find that someone has recommended your products and services to others, feature them on your website. If someone has offered a glowing review, initiate a public conversation or hold an interview with them. This would make your customers feel valued and special. That in turn would encourage others to review and leave their suggestions as well.
Buy or post fake reviews
Customers can guess which reviews are genuine and which are not. If you have many reviews, absence of bad opinions and criticisms can be suspicious. For example, if you have 50 reviews about your services and all 50 are glowing praise, readers might become suspicious.
Fear negative reviews
If you respond to them promptly, and offer to help your disappointed customers in as many ways as you can, it would actually have a positive impact on your reputation and prove that you genuinely care for all your customers.
Do you have online reviews published on Hotfrog?
Reviews can boost sales by over 50%. Ask your customers to review your products and services on Hotfrog.
Simply go to your Hotfrog profile and click the Customer Reviews tab above your business description.