Customer Reviews: How To Get Them
Customer reviews: the business forefront
Google’s recent acquisition of Zagat and Yelp’s snarky response once again boosted customer reviews, bringing them to the business forefront. Therefore, it’s now a good time to start thinking about how attaining more online reviews fits into your branding strategy.
According to Andrew Shotland, the owner of Local SEO Guide, a leading search and blog consultancy, there are three types of businesses when it comes to reviews:
What the types that are heavily dependent on referrals and ignore reviews don’t realize is that some time, in the next year or two, someone is going to make a comment about them online and there is a good chance it’s going to be anything but positive.
If it manages to get around, which it usually does thanks to online connectivity, their referrals are at a risk of drying up. A business is potentially screwed if the first thing that shows up on Google about their services is a negative comment by a user.
How you do it
While positive reviews are great, the real power lies with the reviewer. A customer willing to take time out to review you is a brand ambassador, and instead of just asking them for feedback, you should think about harnessing your relationship with these valuable people, spreading the word both online and off.
Those business owners or marketers who try but can’t seem to get traction with reviewing should consider the following four tips to build review generation into their business processes.
The local search directories
Local search directories such as Merchant Circle, Yelp, and Google Places allow individuals in their business networks to write reviews about local services. If your brand happens to have great reviews on these platforms, you should consider sharing them on your testimonials pages as well.
However, why would you want your customers to share reviews on these sites opposed to posting them directly on your pages? It’s quite simple. If you’re trying to drive Google search traffic to your local business, you would want your company to come up in the search with the most reviews.
Many search directories tend to be interconnected as well. For example, Google gets reviews from its users, while also pulling in reviews from other local search sites like Yelp.
Merchant Circle allows user feedback and also pulls them in from City Search, Yahoo Local and other sites. So, what does your brand need to do to start receiving reviews on these sites? Start by claiming your listing on them, and promote your lists directly on your company domain so customers know where to go to send their reviews.
What do you think is more impactful than a text based review? How about a video review of your client talking about how your services or products helped them? Encourage your loyal followers to post videos on their social media accounts, for instance YouTube, and let you know the link – you can add these pieces to your interface as ‘Favourites’ and create a casual playlist of customer reviews.
Your team can also put a flip camera at the office/store and film testimonials on the go to add to your own YouTube channel. Customers will be more than happy to get featured for their perspective on your domain, considering you have strong channelling to begin with.
The Experience LG domain is a good example of customer ‘video’ reviewing, with testimonials posted all over their site; home appliances, computer products, mobile phones and home entertainment.
Automate your marketing process
Many local companies can easily get more reviews using reputation marketing software. The tech-options help customers to easily provide product feedback. One example of the system is a tablet Kiosk that sends out friendly emails and texts, inviting users to share their reviews. One of the customer who used the reviewing system of a renown reputation management software went from 27 Google comments to over 70 reviews in just a matter of weeks. During that time, revenues of the company skyrocketed as more visitors started coming in.
If you own an ecommerce store, there are plenty of software available for you to automate the review acquisition process. The key to success is to pick one and start using it before competition gets way ahead of you to ever catch up.
Rewarding customers who review
So, considering all of the sites mentioned previously where you can ask customers to share their feedback, what can you do to encourage them to create these reviews? If you have visited a restaurant lately, and saw an offer on your receipt for a chance to win a ‘cash prize’ upon doing voice review over the phone, fret no more. The same strategy can be used for online reviews.
Offer your clients incentives for making testimonials. Local search directories allow you to share discounts and coupons on their sites. You can even offer giveaways to people who send in a video review. The possibilities are endless, and the better you offer, the better feedback you are likely to receive.
Figment, for example, is an online branded community that caters to the younger masses who love to read and write fanfiction.
By providing more than 30,000 members a chance to create, share and moderate content, the highly engaged individuals become brand advocates giving sincere reviews and earnest feedback of the products they enjoy, touching multiple facets of other community members.
All in all
In modern times, business is more cutthroat than ever, making it important for companies to differentiate themselves using proven psychological factors like social proof to connect with their audiences. Whether it is about sharing your company’s core values or showcasing your reviews, every brand needs to implement relevant marketing strategies that reduce risk, builds trust, and has a meaningful impact on the minds of your prospective clients.