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Review marketing is vital to the continued success of every business. Customer reviews are the valuable social proof needed by those looking to finalize purchase decisions based on experience from previous customers.
A significant amount of reviews culminates in an overall rating that easily tells whether your brand is worth the investment or if people should go to a competitor.
For many, having that many customer reviews can be difficult, which makes the art of asking for reviews and building a successful review marketing strategy a sought-after practice.
Being effective at asking for reviews shows that your business values each customer’s opinion (which also increases their trust in you), and that you are turning to them for ways to improve the experience for the next visitor.
After all, only 28% will write customer reviews after a good experience. Proactively requesting their feedback increases the chances of satisfied customers willing to write a review for you.
Over time, those positive reviews can also be used as free yet powerful marketing assets, which adds to the visual social proof needed for people to purchase from you.
When done correctly, this process becomes a constant cycle that can make any brand the envy of the competition, and it all starts with knowing some of the best practices in asking for reviews:
Before asking for customer reviews, you should make sure that your brand has a listing you control on popular review sites.
The most notable places online where people are likely to leave reviews are Google and Facebook, which hold a combined 76% of all reviews.
The same data shows that of those two sites, it’s even more important to get your Google listing up and running because 63% of consumers will check your Google listing for reviews before they step through your doors.
Aside from Google and Facebook, there are plenty of other business review sites that might be worthy of a listing, but you will need to do some research of your own to see if these sites are worth your time - and in some cases - money.
Whether it’s 3 or 30 listings, you will need to be diligent in managing these public-facing parts of your online presence. Make sure that the details provided in each listing - contact information, hours, and address to name a few - are correct and updated.
If the listing allows for any questions from users, make sure to answer in a timely manner – this is an essential part of your review marketing strategy.
If a customer leaves a review, make sure that you have a plan in place to reply, especially if it’s a bad review. Learning how to respond to negative reviews is vital to winning customers back.
By establishing and actively monitoring your listings, you can have a better understanding of your brand perception.
There are many ways to go about asking for reviews, but the unifying idea across every method is that the process for writing and submitting a review needs to be as easy as possible. In other words, reduce the friction, or the amount of steps needed to take when leaving a review.
If you are handing them a physical card at checkout, make sure the link you provide in the text is not a long URL. If you ask for a review via SMS messaging, ensure that the link takes people directly to your online listing and not to a step-by-step process of how to leave a review.
Those sending review requests via email can even take it one step further and add an appealing email image or design that also serves as a direct link to where people can leave reviews.
Another way to make it easier is to know when to ask for reviews. ReviewTrackers research shows that the best time to go about asking for reviews is between the hours of 2-3 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.
There are customers out there willing to spend their valuable time telling others about your brand. Don’t make it difficult for them to talk about you in a positive light.
When the time comes to ask for a review, don’t just think of it as a way to get more feedback about your current operations; think of it as another way to enhance your relationship with each customer.
By providing context and transparency as to why you’re asking for their review, you cement their place as a valued investor in the success of your business.
For example, you can collect user feedback about a specific update with a tool like Beamer. Users can react to each announcement with a smiley face and leave a detailed comment.
However, this doesn’t mean that you need to write a long-form message to convey that feeling (remember to not waste their time). One or two sentences should do the trick in addition to a compelling image that conveys the value of each customer’s review.
Fortunately, you don’t have to constantly write the same messages multiple times with every customer.
Review management solutions like ReviewTrackers include features that let you create and customize multiple review request templates so that you can easily send them to customers in a matter of seconds.
Getting more reviews also means that you have to show the best of your current set of reviews in the right places. In addition to your listings, you can show off your rave reviews on your social media accounts and business website.
Before doing so, keep in mind some general tips when it comes to showing off reviews.
Similar to listings, you shouldn’t just make a post about a review and leave it out to dry. Instead, find a way to make it a more valuable piece of social media content. Turn it into a graphic using a template like this one below.
Can you use it to attract more people to try a specific product or service? If possible, try to also tag the user who left the review. People love the limelight, especially when it comes from a brand they love and support.
Be sure to also engage with those liking, sharing, and responding to the post. They might be prospective customers who want to know more before making a purchase from you.
Taking the time to talk to those engaging with the post is a great way to start community management, which can net you more trust online, on top of more customers willing to leave you a review in the future.
The most obvious place to implement reviews on your site is on the home page. When coupled with appealing images or animated landing pages of your product or service, a customer’s words can easily convince those visiting to learn more about your brand.
However, take the time to also find other places on your site that could benefit from customer reviews.
If you allow direct purchases from your site, you can add reviews related to your offerings in each product page.
You can even create a dedicated page full of testimonials from happy customers, and it doesn’t have to be something you build from scratch. ReviewTrackers’ Amplify widget allows you to display reviews as a whole page or widget with a simple and clean design.
Having these reviews readily available to see adds to the social proof needed by future customers. ReviewTrackers customer reviews research shows 70% of consumers use rating filters and the rating trusted by most is 4 stars followed by 4.5 stars.
By showing off your best reviews in this star rating range, you make it easier for people to see why they should choose you over the competition, creating a faster purchase decision and overall conversion.
Generally asking for reviews is easy because the worst that people can say to you is “no.”
However, the real challenge lies in creating that loop where review requests lead to more reviews, which in turn attracts more customers who are then also willing to provide feedback.
The best practices above are foundational pieces for that loop. If you take the time to listen, implement customer feedback, and engage with consumers, you can elevate your brand to new heights that make it easier for you to gain and retain loyal customers.
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