Using customer reviews as a key part of your content strategy is imperative in today’s buying cycle. Consumers are becoming more skeptical towards brands, and a lack of trust in business leads to lost conversions.
One of the best ways for companies to establish a trustworthy relationship is by incorporating real customer reviews into their content strategies. More and more consumers are basing their purchases solely on the recommendations of strangers on the internet. Crazy right?
In fact, according to BrightLocal’s report, up to 91% of consumers find reviews from strangers to be just as reliable and trustworthy as a personal recommendation. Furthermore, considering that 86% of customers actively seek out a business’s feedback before making a purchase, it’s quite clear that companies need to take customer reviews seriously.
So, what are the best approaches to make the most of your reviews so that they actively influence more conversions?
Although most customers will look to a business’s website and popular review sites like Google Reviews and Yelp to conduct research, it is important to keep more niche review sites in mind.
By using multiple sources to display your customer reviews, not only will you attract comparison shoppers who are looking for brand alternatives, but it can also boost your SEO value. According to Moz, one of the strongest ranking signals that Google uses is the number of external links that lead to your website. So, by listing reviews on multiple platforms, you can boost this number and therefore increase your business’s searchability.
There are niche review sites for everything from restaurants to doctors to software solutions. Using industry-specific platforms can also give customers a different perspective or deeper insight into various aspects of your company. To give you an idea, here is a look at the general prompt for customer reviews (both positive and negative) of Trustpilot:
Take a look to see what other niche review sites exist for your industry’s specific niche, such as ones for restaurants and the food industry, clothing and style, or home repair services. By utilizing these websites, customers who are searching for a new brand will be able to find your business more easily. Additionally, it can offer some more focused perspectives – areas in which your typical reviews on general sites might fall short.
The worst thing that you can do with your customer reviews is to pick and choose which ones get published. While you may certainly want to highlight some great testimonials on your website, it is absolutely essential that every single genuine review that you receive is published.
If a customer notices that your brand has only perfect five-star ratings and glowing feedback, it could actually cause them to distrust you. Further, if they catch wind that your reviews are fake or sponsored by incentivized parties, it could do irreparable damage to your brand’s credibility.
Don’t pick and choose, or even worse, pay or incentivize with free products for good reviews. Make sure that every single customer (even the unhappy ones) has the opportunity to leave honest feedback. You may even want to send out an invite to every customer after they receive an order.
Moreover, make sure that it is as easy as possible for them to post a review. Embed a link into an email invitation or clearly display review boxes on your website. For example, Old Navy sends out a follow-up email after a customer receives their purchase with every single item listed for individual reviews. That way, customers can choose which products they really want to share their opinions about, rather than making a vague overall review or having to list off the items one by one on their own.
Many customers now use social media to conduct research on products and brands. Therefore, you need to make it primordial to share customer reviews and testimonials. Often times, this is going to be a common resource that customers will use to size up your business and see what your brand is all about. Customers expect brands to use social media as a way to engage with followers through meaningful content. By displaying UGC (user-generated content) on your social pages, you are showing consumers that you care about your customers and their experiences.
Gunas NY, a handbag retailer, does a great job of this through their Instagram page. Not only do they share text-based posts of customer reviews on a regular basis, but they also re-post pictures from real customers. This creates a healthy mix of curated and user-generated content that gives new customers a peek into the brand community.
According to the report from BrightLocal previously mentioned, nearly 90% of customers pay attention to the responses businesses post to reviews. More particularly, the negative ones. Why so?
Well, when a company takes the time to respond to feedback individually, it shows they care about the experience they are offering. Responding to negative feedback is especially important because it creates an opportunity to turn things around. This typically involves a sincere apology and an offer to make things right.
Make sure that your brand is super responsive on social media as well. If a customer shouts out your brand name on their post, a little interaction can go a long way. Whether it be a public comment or a private message thanking the person for sharing, these little interactions can build positive sentiment and encourage brand loyalty. Take this interaction from Emmy’s Organics with an Instagram follower as an example. This friendly conversation shows the brand’s appreciation towards their customers – and it even opened up a door to share information about their upcoming product release.
Customer reviews are a super powerful tool that every business should be using to influence sales. By incorporating them throughout your content strategy on multiple sites and utilizing them as an avenue to connect with customers one-on-one, you can establish a brand that is both trustworthy and engaging. This is what will positively impact conversions and build a loyal customer base for years to come.