There is no denying it: Online reviews run the culture in which we live in.
In an openly opinionated landscape, review sites are popping up almost every other week to help consumers make the best decisions about businesses.
It goes without saying that online reviews can make or break a business.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by MarketingLand.Com, 90% of customers said that their buying decisions were influenced by online reviews.
In other words, the success of your business is partially-based on its ability to generate online reviews.
Let's look at why and how you should generate online reviews to succeed.
The following are some reasons why you should be taking online reviews seriously.
Reviews can help keep your feet above the ground.
They can tell you what you are doing wrong or what exactly you should improve on.
This information helps you understand what you should be doing to better serve your customers.
As the biggest source of social proof, the impact of online reviews on sales is clear.
If the feedback left about your business is positive, it can help encourage other visitors to buy from your store.
After all, people are more likely to buy if those around them – even complete strangers – agree that they should.
Most shoppers usually begin by searching for products on platforms like Google and Bing.
While the way these search engines rank content might be different, one thing is clear: They all value content that is both fresh and original.
Consequently, with online reviews, you are able to get higher rankings, which also leads to more exposure as people start to see your business as an authority.
The steady stream of positive reviews can help you build significant trust and credibility.
Shoppers mostly consider businesses that have ratings with four stars and above. Negative reviews indicate that users might have bad user experience.
Online reviews can provide you a forum in which you are able to communicate directly to consumers.
You are not only able to respond to comments, but you can also rectify any poor reviews.
But more importantly, you're giving your brand a face that consumers can relate to.
Now that you understand the importance of online reviews, the next step is to know how to generate them.
Here are the steps to follow.
Today, everything is online. The days of sifting through mail flyers or searching newspaper ads are long gone.
To stay on the radar of online consumers, you need to have a social media presence.
Some of the social media powerhouses you want to use include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
These platforms make your business incredibly visible on the internet.
Your goal here should be to have customers leave 5-stars reviews of your business.
This is arguably one of the most crucial aspects of generating positive reviews for your business.
If you provide great service, a customer is more likely to leave a glowing review. Poor customer service is the perfect way to get BAD reviews.
As the business owner, your responses to both good and bad reviews help build trust and rapport.
Yes, even bad reviews. If you get one, use the review to demonstrate that you’re willing to resolve the problem.
This is a no-brainer!
A great experience is the fundamental building block of a glowing review.
Bottom line: If you want your business to get good reviews, then you need to ensure that you provide quality products and services.
Admittedly, there are times that your products and/or services will not be 100% perfect.
But, making an attempt to resolve any issues gives you a chance to salvage a good review.
To get people to leave reviews about your business, you need to plan strategically.
Make it easy.
One way to do this is to have your social media accounts linked in your messaging, ads, etc.
Another way to encourage customers to rate and review their experience is by offering incentives.
It can be gift cards, discounts, coupons, drawings, and even money.
Besides having a skilled and qualified team of employees, you also need to train your staff to ask for reviews once a purchase has been successful.
When a customer transaction is completed, your team should specifically ask for a review and give very clear instructions on where and how to do it.
Here are three email templates ThriveHive offers that you can use to generate online reviews.
How you deal with negative reviews can make all the difference.
To manage not-so-good reviews, take an authentic and thoughtful approach, such as this one:
Even when dealing with fraudulent cases, always make sure you avoid online arguments. Instead, let the user know what actions you will take.
Even the example of an online review below shows how quickly an issue can be resolved when handled correctly.
Here’s a final example to inspire you and your team to respond to negative online reviews the right way – and possibly turn those negative situations around.
Use the REST model as a guide for successfully handling a negative review:
And remember: You CAN ask the user to remove the review – but only after you’ve gone the extra mile to fix the problem.
Generating online reviews is key to your business’s success, whether you're an ecommerce business hoping to rank higher in search engines, a longstanding B2B company, or anything in between.
Alexander Hassoulas is a digital marketing consultant and co-founder of Upkeep Media Inc. Upkeep Media specializes in working with the real estate industry to improve their online presence through SEO, Paid Ads, Content Marketing, Website Development and Reputation Management.