Business owners and execs are always thinking of inventive ways to market their products and services. They want to make sure their store or brand name is familiar to customers so that people trust their products and services. Moreover, they are constantly seeking out the most effective and affordable tools to make that happen. What if we told you there is a powerful tool that has the ability to generate a massive amount of new leads for prospective buyers? In fact, it has the opportunity to sway 86%of your online audience according to BrightLocal. Are you standing by with your credit card waiting to see the price tag of this amazing marketing strategy? Well, put your wallet away because this is your lucky day!
- Limitless Reach And Advantage
The oldest and still reigning champ of advertising is non other than word-of-mouth! That's right. Your grandparents' free word-of-mouth advertising technique was found to be bringing in or turning away a whopping 92% of your potential customers by The Nielson Company, LLC.
Now, the key is to encourage more consumers to chat about your business name, products and services. If only there was a free way to build a connection between your business and more consumers while also creating a place for those consumers to share their experiences with your products. Alright, you understand where we are going with this by now. Online reviews might just be the most perfect tried-and-true strategy to grow your business with 91% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 trusting those reviews as much as the word of a close friend or family member per the BrightLocal survey in 2018.
- The Fear Factor Of Limitless Damage
So, if customers rely this heavily on the experiences of others for making decisions, why are all businesses not taking full advantage of this free marketing tool? Simply put, there is a potential downside with the word-of-mouth strategy, especially when the reviews are written for all the world to see. Many business owners and execs shy away from encouraging reviews due to the fact that the reviews can be damaging in the same way they can be helpful. In other words, both current and future consumers are just as easily swayed by bad reviews as they are by the good ones.
- Wait, Negative Is A Good Thing?
While it is true consumers are heavily influenced by both types of reviews, there is no need to fear negative reviews because they can be turned into an advantage with the right response. Just like the saying "All press is good press.", there is a way to use the momentum being generated in the reviews to build your business with these steps.
First, reply to your unhappy consumer's review. Start by telling the consumer how sorry you are that he or she had that experience in your store or with your product. Finish the reply with a request for the consumer to contact your team directly or fill out a brief survey using the link provided that would enable you to collect more information to address their concerns. This step should remain professional and succint to discourage more negative online comments in reply to your response.
The next step is to make appropriate changes in your business wherever feasible based on the customer's comments. This step is followed by making an announcement of the improvements in the social media while crediting your customers for bringing the issue to your attention. It is helpful to not only show customers you are listening to their concerns with a generic reply to their review, but you are also willing to go the extra mile to take action as you value their trust and opinions. Keeping your announcements light, fresh, and using a comical spin wherever possible is also instrumental in placing your consumers in a positive frame-of-mind when reading about your products and services. Remember, if they are chatting about how bad it is, they can just as easily be talking and writing about your improvements and awesome response to their frustrations!
- Improving Loyalty And Advertising Products
If you are concerned at all about altering your current customers' opinions on your products and services by encouraging more reviews, never fear! Both the positive and properly addressed negative reviews are equally useful retaining loyalty with current customers. Consistent four or five-star reviews online can only serve to solidify your customers' belief that your products and services are truly the best around. The reviewers can even help you advertise products and services your other current customers have not thought to try as they will likely mention them by name.
- Reviews Impact Your SEO Ranking
You can think of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO)ranking as yet another free marketing tool that puts your business website at the top of the list of returned links in a search. The rank is determine by volume of current, useful and persuasive information available matching the searched keywords that were entered by the consumer. Therefore, online reviews create another avenue to add more information, interest, and validity for the SEO to utilize in determining your rank.
- Ways To Encourage Customers To Create Reviews
There are several methods businesses use to entice consumers to write reviews about their products and services. Besides providing social media links and instructions for how to post reviews on your website, you can offer rewards or incentives such as coupons. Another great way to increase your review numbers is to work with a local charity to give customers a chance to chat about your role in the community. Perhaps the best method of getting more reviews is to ask your employees, friends and family to write one. While people will see through fake reviews by veiled employees or corporate execs, those same individuals will value the honest opinion of someone who has worked for your company for 20 years or that recently hired employee who values the way you taught her to value customers.
Whatever means you use to promote reviews for your business, the main thing is to use them to get people talking about your products and services. Word-of-mouth reviews online is an amazingly advantageous yet often underestimated tool. If the fear of bad reviews is your biggest obstacle, a well-composed response approach should allay your doubts. Positive or negative, the main ingredient with winning over customers using reviews is to show them you care by taking the time to respond. Sometimes, a few thoughtful, or even humurous when applicable, words can be all it takes to expand your business to the next level.
"Local Consumer Survey". BrightLocal. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/
"Consumers Trust In Online, Social And Mobile Advertising Grows". Newswire. April 10, 2012. Retrieved from https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2012/consumer-trust-in-online-social-and-mobile-advertising-grows.html