I recently read a definitive guide about how to generate 1000’s of reviews by a friend of mine, Duncan Jones. It got me thinking and it’s safe to say that small business reviews and testimonials have changed the face of online marketing.
For businesses hoping to compete in such a crowded and competitive environment, reviews can make a world of difference and set them apart from competitors.
Here are five reasons you should start focusing on generating reviews for your business:
1. The stats and data say it all
According to a survey by Dimensional Research, 90% of consumers said that positive online reviews influence their buying decisions. A recent survey by BrightLocal also found that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more.
You can find stats like these everywhere, which frequently show the positive impact that reviews can have on consumers. But there is also plenty of hard data that proves why reviews matter.
For example, eCommerce company Express Watches split test all of its product pages, changing the “why buy from section” to a “reviews from Trustpilot” section – increasing their sales by 58.29%.
This is just one example, but it goes to show that adding reviews can improve your conversion rate, and in turn, your marketing efforts.
2. Review sites are becoming more important
Review sites such as productreview.com.au are becoming increasingly crucial to people’s buying decisions. In fact, they are now channels in their own right, with consumers using them to find certain high-quality products, services and companies (instead of using review sites to vet these).
This shift has meant that review sites can generate substantial volumes of leads and sales. Plus, getting reviews up online helps to improve your ranking and visibility on search engines, giving your business a steady stream of SEO keywords.
The trend of using review sites doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. According to Vendasta, 92% of consumers in 2016 read online reviews compared to 88% in 2014.
3. Better understanding of your customers
Looking (and responding) to the reviews people leave, both positive and negative, helps you better understand what your customers expect from you, what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.
Reviews give you a solid idea of how your average customer thinks about your business, rather than what you think about it. They give you a peak behind the curtain, which helps you make proactive steps to meet your customers’ needs.
This could mean thinking about ways to improve your offering, retraining staff on how to best deal with customer complaints, or simply terminate the product or service if it isn’t working.
4. Improved customer engagement and loyalty
Reviews and testimonials give your customers a voice, making them feel like they have something to say and are able to offer meaningful feedback.
Importantly, this gives you the chance to open a public line of conversation and showcase your customer service skills. Whether you’re responding to positive or negative feedback, putting your own voice out there lets customers know that you care about them – that you’re willing and able to resolve issues.
Review pages can often become active social communities in their own right – particularly if your own voice is in the mix. Customers will often leave reviews and keep coming back to see if others have commented.
It’s important to nurture this kind of customer engagement. The more active your community is, the more loyalty you can build. You may even find that consumers will start do the marketing for you, through advocating your business to others and encouraging more conversations.
5. Increased sales
This is the end game. Put simply, reviews and testimonials can help boost your sales. They give people authentic information about your product, service and industry, which is everything they need to make the decision to become a customer or not.
And as noted earlier, people are always more likely to purchase something that has been recommended by others.
Start generating today
Reviews and testimonials matter. It’s that simple. And if you haven’t already starting taking advantage of this, it’s time to start taking action.
The good thing is, there are many ways to generate positive reviews and testimonials. It might take a little time and effort, but you’ll find the rewards for your business are more than worth it.