During a recent webinar with consumer reviews website Trustpilot, they claimed online reviews are trusted more than recommendations from family and friends when deciding to make a purchase online.
That coming from a company whose subscription based business is to encourage companies to use their platform to build online reviews, I can almost hear the cynicism amongst some of you reading this.
But… if you think about it, given that a whopping 92% of consumers read online reviews (as reported by BrightLocal), it’s probably true.
Millions of us online shoppers are craving recommendation and affirmation more than ever before. We all want to know that the decision we’re making is the right one and that our hard-earned cash isn’t going to be wasted. So, who better to listen to than the people who’ve already bought the product, held it, used it and understand its pros and cons? Whether in a B2C or B2B environment, we all seek that ‘nod’ from others prior to hitting the checkout button.
Reviews are everywhere!
The fact is, reviews, customer feedback and testimonials and are everywhere online nowadays:
- On the retailer’s own website (e.g. Amazon)
- Google search results
- Facebook pages
- 3rd party review sites (e.g. Trustpilot, Reevo, Which etc.)
- Mobile app stores
- Within pay-per-click adverts
- Blogs and news sites
Take control of your reviews
Here’s another fact. Whether or not your business encourages online reviews is irrelevant. You’re STILL being reviewed and talked about in one form or another, whether on the above platforms or other online communities, but most definitely offline! I’d want to know what people are saying about me and how they really felt about my products and services. Why would I not provide a platform for them to do that? And I’d want to be managing how this feedback is collated and dealt with as best I could, for the future benefit of my customers.
If you know people are loving your products, don’t be afraid to ask them to submit a review. Likewise, by taking control of your online reviews, it allows you to publicly deal with any potential negatives, giving you a platform to respond positively, perhaps rectify any issues and even turn the reviewer into a positive influencer. All because you didn’t turn a blind eye to something people are going to do anyway. And are probably doing right now.
One online retailer we work with locally, Fuel Exhausts, does this brilliantly, by engaging with their customers through displaying customer reviews and feedback across their website product pages, blogs, social media and PPC ads before, during and after their purchase. Coupled with a top-quality product and after sales service, the reviews roll in. And not just on their own website either, but we also help them gain reviews on Google and Facebook. Lots of them! One way we help them achieve customer reviews is by setting up a series of automated emails designed to engage with a new customer post-purchase and basically asking for the review, whilst also integrating cross-sell items into them emails. It’s been really successful so far, and helps our client understand:
- What their customers like and dislike about their products.
- What their customers think about their brand.
- Whether their customers are likely to purchase again or recommend their products to others.
Online reviews help your SEO
Reviews also provide SEO benefits. In a recent survey, SEO industry experts MOZ predicted that the number of reviews on your website and their quality amounts to around 13% of Google ranking factors in local search results.
And as part of our client’s SEO and Customer Reviews strategy, we’re about to start work on adding star ratings and reviews to their organic Google listings. Known as Rich Snippets, their website content can be marked up with structured data, allowing search engines to display them in their search results. So, if Google is full of your competitor’s websites, consider adding Rich Snippets to your site to help stand out from the rest.
So what are you going to do?
Reviews are here to stay. You can’t opt out. Their ever-growing presence across the internet are influencing millions of pounds’ worth of transactions online every day. They help boost your credibility, add transparency, build authority and ultimately help increase sales.
Perhaps it’s time you considered a review strategy for your business. We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you about it.