There are several ways to generate online reviews, but the most effective strategies usually involve a combination of approaches. This guide will cover everything you need to know about creating an online review strategy that will help you attract more customers and convert more sales.
Understand the Importance of Online Reviews
The first step in creating an effective online review strategy is understanding why online reviews are important. Here are a few key reasons:
Online reviews build trust and credibility
People are more likely to trust a business with positive reviews from other consumers. In fact, studies have shown that nearly 90% of people say online reviews influence their buying decisions.
Online reviews can improve your search engine ranking
Google uses review as a ranking factor. Therefore, positive reviews can help improve your business’s ranking in search engine results, making it more likely that potential customers will find your business when searching for products or services like yours.
Online reviews can boost your conversion rate
In addition to helping you attract more visitors to your website, online reviews can also help increase your conversion rate. Studies show that four out of five customers trust reviews as much as recommendations from a trusted person.
Identify Your Goals
Before generating online reviews, it’s essential to take a step back and identify your goals. Are you looking to improve your search engine ranking? Boost your conversion rate? Build trust and credibility with potential customers?
You should identify your goals upfront because it will help you determine which strategies are most likely to be effective for your business. For example, if your goal is to improve your search engine ranking, you’ll want to focus on strategies that will help you get more positive reviews.
Choose the Right Platforms
There are a number of different platforms where you can generate online reviews, but not all platforms are created equal. Some platforms, like Google and Yelp, are more popular and have more authority than others. As such, they’re more likely to influence your search engine ranking.
Other platforms, like Facebook and Angie’s List, may not be as influential in search engine ranking but can still be valuable for generating leads and boosting your conversion rate.
When choosing which platforms to focus on, it’s important to consider your goals. If your goal is to improve your search engine ranking, then you’ll want to focus on platforms like Google and Yelp. The platform will also depend on the industry you are in. For example, if you are in the hospitality industry, then reviews on TripAdvisor will be more relevant than any other platform.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Once you’ve identified your goals and chosen the right platforms, it’s time to start generating reviews. The best way to do this is by encouraging customers to leave reviews after they’ve made a purchase.
There are many ways to encourage customers to leave reviews. You will be surprised to know that one of the most effective ways is simply asking customers for reviews. As per BrightLocal, 68% of customers leave a review if asked.
While incentivising, be careful to ensure that you don’t violate the terms of service of the platform you are using. For example, Google strictly prohibits businesses from offering incentives in exchange for reviews. Further, the Federal Trade Commission prohibits offering incentives for positive reviews.
Use Review Generation Tools
There are a number of review generation tools that can help you collect customer reviews. These tools typically involve sending automated emails to customers after making a purchase, asking them to leave a review.
For example, Podium allows you to send automated review requests. This makes it easy for customers to leave a review, and helps ensure that you get reviews from customers who are most likely to be satisfied with their experience. Similarly, Stamped.io helps you collect and post reviews on your website, social media pages, and Google My Business listing.
Respond to Reviews
It’s not enough to simply generate reviews—you also need to respond to them. This shows that you value your customers’ feedback and helps build trust and credibility.
When responding to positive reviews, thank the customer for their feedback and let them know that you appreciate their business. When responding to negative reviews, try to stay calm and constructive. Thank the customer for their feedback and see if there’s anything you can do to resolve the issue.
Monitor Your Progress
Once you start generating reviews, it’s critical to monitor your progress to see if your efforts are paying off. Are you getting more positive reviews? Is your search engine ranking improving? Are you seeing a boost in your conversion rate?
Monitoring your progress will not only help you track your success, but it will also help you identify areas where you need to make adjustments. For example, if you’re not getting as many positive reviews as you’d like, you may need to adjust your strategy or offer more incentives for customers to leave reviews.
Regroup and Repeat
As your business grows, try to regularly revisit your review strategy to ensure that it’s still effective. As your customer base changes, so will their expectations and the platforms they use. What works today may not work tomorrow, so it’s important to be flexible and willing to adjust as needed.
Online reviews are a powerful tool for both customers and businesses. For the customers, it tells them about the quality of the product which goes beyond the company’s marketing material. For the business, it builds trust and credibility that other promotional campaigns can’t.
When creating a review generation strategy, think about the impact reviews will have on the customers purchasing decisions. We highlighted some tips above that focus on getting the most value out of online reviews.
At the end of the day, the key is to simply ask for reviews and let your customers know that you value their feedback. While it may seem daunting at first, generating online reviews can be easy if you have a solid strategy in place.