Have you ever made a purchase decision without reading through several online reviews? This is unlikely since almost nine out of ten of us read reviews before buying a product.
Reviews are all the rage – whether you’re comparing skincare, looking for a restaurant, or searching for the best HRTech company, you’ll find them across social media and top-tier publications. But the real question is, how do reviews help businesses?
Today, online reviews are the biggest source of social proof for companies, and they have a clear impact on sales and even website traffic. Even negative reviews can provide constructive criticism and valuable suggestions.
When almost two-thirds of shoppers think that online reviews are an essential part of the decision-making process, you can clearly see why ratings and reviews are important.
Driving Sales With Trusted Business Reviews
The first thing most consumers will do before buying a new product or service is to do a quick Google search to find a review. This ensures that a company has third-party validation from a trusted source like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Facebook.
As you know this is the case, to boost conversions, first things first, find out what your reputation looks like right now. Reputology and The Brand Grader are excellent tools to start off with. If you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, it’s hard to improve.
However, for B2C companies, the most efficient way to secure solid product reviews is through pitching to mainstream and key industry publications. Getting a product placed or reviewed in a top-tier publication, either as a listicle or as a straight review, is a massive hit for brand awareness.
For example, suppose Homes&Gardens gave you a rating of 4.5 stars or Architectural Digest called your product “so nice and nubbly that it just begs you to sink in.” You’d get better search engine results, free advertising, and potential customers would acknowledge your mention in an established publication.
Having a positive online presence and trusted business reviews gives you several advantages for gaining more customers and increased revenue, and it’s becoming a key part of branding. Even 94% of online shoppers reported that a negative review had convinced them to avoid visiting a business.
If we’re even more specific, Spiegel’s and PowerReview’s report “How Online Reviews Influence Sales,” stated that when a product gets five reviews, the likelihood of being purchased increases by 270%. More than anything, it’s a steady stream of positive reviews over a long period of time that makes a customer feel most comfortable to go and buy your product or service.
The Importance of Online Reviews
It’s expected that the average business will have a mixture of positive and negative reviews. Therefore, potential shoppers sometimes deliberately seek out negative reviews, believing they show the company’s credibility and authenticity. If a business has nothing but excellent reviews, it tends to lead to suspicion.
In fact, 67% of B2B buyers want to see a mix of both positive and negative reviews when checking out a business. And these reviews mustn’t exceed three months if you want to remain relevant.
Why not show your appreciation for the importance of online reviews by taking this a step further? Prove your transparency by putting your Trust Pilot ratings on your website using HTML widgets or creating whole testimonial pages. Whatever you choose to boost sales, people want to be reading real reviews – at least six in the business software industry.
And if the cost of your product is reasonable, say in IT software sales, people will search frantically for reviews to feel comfortable before investing in the purchase, which seems too good to be true.
Open Communication With Consumers
Businesses and customers can build a relationship and an emotional connection through reviews – they are undeniably a growing method of customer engagement.
Whether positive or negative, companies should reply to reviews as fast as possible and check review websites regularly. Customers expect a response and can get insights from previous buyers that can confirm or deny their positive and negative feelings. If you don’t reply, this could increase customer churn.
From the ReviewTrackers survey, 45% of respondents said they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews.
By proposing helpful, real-time solutions, you could encourage dissatisfied customers to change their opinion about your whole brand and mitigate negative impact. You can reply to the reviews directly on a review website, comment on a publication’s article, or share customer reviews on social media.
How to Improve Customer Reviews
Don’t focus on one review site only; create a multi-channel footprint. Yelp, FourSquare and TripAdvisor are vital hubs to build your online presence, as Google collects data from their sites when building its own results ranking. However, make sure to diversify where potential customers can access reviews.
“Commerce, shopping, lifestyle writers and editors are those that typically review products. But make sure to pitch your products with personalized messages that mention articles they’ve written before,” stated Catalina Carvajal, Account Executive at Publicize.
Suss out what kind of product reviews these editors write up and make sure that what you’re presenting to them aligns with their coverage. Pitching with a PR package can often help since these journalists don’t want to recommend a brand or product to their audience without having a full understanding.
Catalina went on to say: “With B2C, the key to getting coverage is, of course, having a great product, but also the willingness to give it away so an editor can try it out for themselves and make sure it is worth sharing with their audience.”
Most importantly, inspire customers to leave reviews through follow-up emails. One study found that 68% of customers will leave a review if they’re asked. Also, the company Get Five Stars provides solutions to help you encourage responses from your audience through metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Reviews matter, both on review sites and in top-tier publications, and your company could be missing out on some seriously valuable business opportunities if you aren’t using them correctly.