It’s a well-known fact that consumer purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by online reviews, so it makes sense to pay close attention to them. In fact 92% of consumers reportedly read online reviews and reviews are also considered one of the most important ways to boost your SEO ranking. Here are six ways to incorporate reviews into your marketing strategy to win over new customers on review sites, your social pages, and even search engines.
Related eBook: The Power of Online Reviews
7 Best Practices to Make the Most of Online Reviews
Respond to Reviews
Respond to Positive Reviews
Get in the habit of commenting on reviews. We don’t recommend commenting on every positive review, but you will find plenty of opportunities to comment on some of your reviews with a little more information about your business. For example, your customer talks about the great service they received from one of your team members. You can comment by thanking the reviewer and sharing more info about the person, for example how long they have been working at your business. Engaging with your positive reviewers will encourage other audience members to leave reviews as well.
Also, sending a private “thank you” response is a great way to show your appreciation and let your customers know that you are paying attention to their feedback.
Respond to Negative Reviews
Another online review best practice is to respond to negative reviews. This demonstrates that you are listening and are addressing any potential issues. It’s a powerful tool to build trust with your prospective customers and an opportunity to point out your business strengths. Consider any response to a negative review a marketing message to your prospective customers. Here are some tips for responding to negative reviews:
- First, take a deep breath and wait until you’re no longer emotional. Think of your response as a chance to enhance your reputation, don’t be defensive, and keep it brief.
- Own the issue. Make sure to communicate that the issue is important to you and that you are sorry the customer had the problem. Customers need to feel that you’re listening and that you care.
- Describe how future customers will not have this issue. Tell your (prospective) customers that something has changed and the issue will not happen to them. Describe that you put a new process in place, for example.
- Offer to fix the issue (optional). Your business will spend a lot of time and money on sales and marketing. Although you can’t always fix every issue, your offer to fix a reviewer’s problem is a great marketing investment. In the response, suggest that they contact you directly so you can try to resolve the issue.
This online review best practice is a no-brainer. The more online reviews you have, the better. Solicit reviews from your happy customers every chance you get – in your business, in your emails, on your bill. Plus, the more positive reviews you have, the less harm a negative review can cause. For more tips on getting online reviews, check out these posts:
Share Reviews to Social Networks
Reviews are often more convincing than your own marketing messages. Pick a few positive reviews and share them periodically to your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. It’s quick and easy. If your fans and followers agree with the review, they might share it with their friends for some powerful word-of-mouth marketing.
Monitor Your Ranking in Search Engines
Today, Yelp and Google reviews are shown practically anytime a consumer is searching for a local business – whether they are searching from their phone, tablet or desktop. The number of reviews and star ratings impacts how high your business ranks on maps and in search results. Paying attention is critical, especially if your business depends on attracting new customers. Make sure you know how your reviews compare to your competition and take action if necessary to attract more reviews.
Understand Who Sees Your Reviews
Reviews aren’t just a form of social proof for your business. The information from review sites is widely distributed across the web. The more recent reviews and more positive reviews exist for your business, the more exposure it gets. Here is who sees your Yelp and Google reviews:
Yelp started syndicating their listings a few years ago, and now Yelp listings have a much larger audience than in the past. They are used in:
- Apple maps on all iPhones
- Bing searches
- Yahoo Local
- Voice searches (Alexa, Siri)
Although Google reviews have not been around as long as Yelp, they are growing quickly and have a wide distribution in:
- Google searches
- Map searches on all Android phones
Update Your Information on Review Sites
Inaccurate listings can hurt your business. Update your social and review files so consumers can find up-to-date, correct and consistent information for your business. Their impression of your business is shaped by the full experience, starting with their initial steps to find and learn more about you.
Follow the links below when you need to update the online profiles for your business:
Choose Photos for Review Sites
Pictures speak louder than words! The photos on your social and review sites help browsing customers get a clear idea of what to expect at your business. When customers can easily visualize your business through photos, they’re more likely to select you. Include at least 4-5 key images (and more if you can). Here are some suggestions of what type of pictures to choose for your review and social profiles:
Show Happy Customers
This goes a long way in giving your business credibility and makes the decision much easier for new customers to choose your business.
Include Your Team
We recommend adding some pictures of your staff. After all, those are the folks the customers interact with when they visit your business. Pictures of your team, including the owners, help make your business much more personable.
Capture Your Business Atmosphere
Show your place of business, on the inside and outside. This helps customers get a good idea of what a visit to your business will feel like. We often see pictures that are taken when the business is empty. While this can help to show your space, we also highly recommend adding pictures that are taken during business hours when customers are present to convey the atmosphere at your business.
Show off Your Products and Services
Last but not least, you should post pictures that show off your products and services. Even if your customers, clients or patrons post plenty of pictures of food, drinks, baked goods, trinkets, etc. we recommend that you add some as well to show off your business in the best possible way.
While the majority of online content is ignored, customer reviews stand out and actually get read. Love or hate online review sites, customer reviews are likely one of your most valuable marketing assets. So take control!
For more help with your online review marketing strategy, download our free eBook below: