Australian consumers are great at doing their research!
According to a recent survey, undertaken by Capterra, 98% of Australians read online reviews before they make a decision to purchase, and 94% believe them to be trustworthy.
It’s often said that there’s no better marketing tactic than generating word of mouth – and an online review is the modern day “word of mouth”.
Some of the best advocates for your business are your customers. Regardless of your industry, a positive online presence gives you a major advantage.
Here we explain why, plus, we’ll give you some ideas on how to boost loyalty and advocacy among your client base.
1. Social Proof
Psychology plays a key role in marketing.
User social proof is when your current users (customers) recommend your products and services based on their experiences with your business.
We trust user reviews (even from strangers) because they’ve experienced the product or service, unlike ourselves.
Reviews help build trust and credibility, and the fact is – social proof drives purchases.
2. Increase SEO and Visibility
Most shoppers turn to Google and Facebook when deciding what to buy.
Online reviews provide a steady stream of fresh content, which the Google algorithm values highly when choosing which search results to serve up.
The higher your business ranking or rating, the higher the chance of the algorithms (and consumers) considering your business a leader, prioritising your business above others with zero reviews or a large number of poor reviews.
3. Lead Generation
Online customer reviews are authentic content that can assist in converting potential customers into sales.
When a customer leaves a review (positive or negative), make sure you’re interacting and responding to them.
Showcasing your reviews on your website will assist prospective customers to feel increased confidence to engage with you.
If a potential customer finds your business (and reviews) via Google, then you can use that site’s traffic to drive leads to your website.
Reviews create a huge network of micro case studies for your business, which helps promote browsers to customers.
4. Turn a Negative into a Positive!
There’s a silver lining in everything, even a negative review!
The reality is, even negative reviews serve an essential role in how authentic and genuine your business comes across to potential customers.
Research tells us that people trust the reviews more when they see a mix of positive and negative reviews because we all know, nothing’s perfect!
When customers leave reviews, it’s because they want to be heard. Whether the review is good or bad, they want to know that someone in the business is listening.
Show your customers that reviews are important to you by leaving replies to every review. If the review is favourable, you can simply reply by thanking the customer for sharing the review and thanking them for their business.
Should the review be negative, you can reply by communicating regret and asking for more information to see how you can rectify the situation. This shows customers that your business takes customer feedback seriously and strives for continuous improvement.
If you’re not receiving the types of reviews that you’re after, read the reviews to find out why. There might be a recurring theme highlighting something specific about your product or service that consumers aren’t happy with. Use this information to optimise accordingly, showing that you pay attention to the wants and needs of your customers.
If negative reviews have led you to make a change in your business, then that’s a whole other opportunity for a marketing campaign, “you told us, and we’ve listened…”
Asking For Reviews Can Be Awkward!
Business people often don’t want to be seen as opportunistic or feel that they’re annoying their customers by requesting reviews.
However, providing a simple review is unlikely to be a hassle for many customers. Most would be happy to give their opinion about their experience with your business, after all, they know reviews can help them too. Asking for their reviews shows that you care about their experience.
Make it easy for them – include a link on your website that takes customers directly to your most popular review platform.
That said, take care with how you ask for customer reviews. Always make sure a transaction is fully complete, with any outstanding customer issues resolved, prior to sending an email, text message, or social media message asking your customer for a review.
If all else fails and your customers aren’t too keen on taking the time to review your products or services, you can offer an incentive.
HOWEVER, businesses that offer incentives to those who write positive reviews risk misleading consumers and breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Incentives should only be offered in exchange for reviews of your business products and services if:
- Incentives are offered equally to consumers likely to be complimentary and consumers likely to be critical, and positive and negative reviews are treated the same.
- The reviewer is expressly told that the incentive is available whether the review is positive or negative.
- The incentive is prominently disclosed to users who rely on affected reviews.
Some examples of incentives you could offer include:
- A monthly prize draw for those who reviewed your business.
- Discounts or freebies at their next visit to your business.
Online reviews have become an essential part of the buyer journey and decision-making process. Nowadays, people are more likely to check Google reviews than ask a friend or relative for a recommendation!
If you’d like some guidance on how to enhance your marketing strategy, reach out to the Amplify Marketing team here.
Written by Vanessa Patience