In any business we do, we usually go a long way to please our customers, satisfy their needs, and eventually to keep them loyal to our brand. But how can we be sure that our efforts bring desired results? In the world of digital marketing, human contact might feel like a thing of the past. But if someone is thinking about a purchase, they want advice from a real person.
When word-of-mouth recommendations are passed along by a friend, family member, or neighbor, it’s invaluable for the business. In fact, a 2015 Nielsen study found that 83% of people believe this is the most credible kind of advertising.
That’s where customer reviews come in—they’re like the digital version of advice from a friend.
In today’s post, I am going to share with you how customer reviews are important to your business and the best ways to get them.
What Are Customer Reviews?
A customer review is a review of a product or service made by a customer who has purchased and used or had experience with, the product or service. Customer reviews are a form of customer feedback on electronic commerce and online shopping sites.
Why Do Customer Reviews Matter?
Consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business. According to Bright Local’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey the top five business models, people read reviews for were:
- Restaurants & Cafes
- Hotels/Bed & Breakfasts
- Clothing Stores
- Grocery Stores
- Hair/Beauty Services
But consumers also sought to learn about insurance services, pest control, attorneys, locksmiths and more.
The Best Ways to Get Reviews
1. Help people find you online
Publishing customer reviews can improve your SEO rankings, which help online shoppers find you and then decide to buy your stuff.
Search engines reward content that is unique and regularly updated. Posting reviews is one of the easiest ways to meet those standards. And in many cases, people will specifically search for the name of the product along with the word, “reviews.”
2. Let customers know you care
Asking for reviews do more than help you get future shoppers, it solidifies your relationship with the customer who just bought something. By asking for their feedback, you’re showing them that you care what they think and that you want them to have the best experience possible.
3. Learn what’s working (and fix what’s not)
The co-founders of Everly, a natural, sugar-free drink flavor, conceived of their products while on a canoe trip. The idea was to hydrate active adventurers while camping, hiking, canoeing, or the like. But when customer reviews showed their product was mostly used as a day-to-day healthy alternative to soda, they changed their strategy drastically.
Now they create new products and marketing with their actual customers in mind, and they continue to check reviews for good ideas about their direction.
The four things you need in customer reviews
- Capture honest, authentic reviews. If reviews are presented in a way that reads as honest and authentic, shoppers will get on board. That’s why you should collect reviews from actual customers—it gives other people an idea of what your product is really like from a voice they’ll trust.
- Collect and share a variety of reviews. A study by BrightLocal found that people read an average of 7 reviews before deciding to trust a business. Having a variety of reviews makes people more inclined to believe you sell quality stuff. Plus, it makes it more clear that the reviews are real.
- Balance quantity with quality. It’s important to focus on both the quality and quantity of reviews. A study published by Northwestern University in 2015 found that the perfect number of reviews to compel shoppers to buy depends on what’s in them. When they go into greater depth and are longer, you don’t need as many. When they’re pretty short, you need more.
- Embrace negative reviews. Not all reviews have to be resoundingly positive to help your business. Northwestern’s study revealed that customers are most likely to buy something that has a 4.2-4.5 star rating than a 5 star rating because perfect scores make customers suspicious. If someone has critical feedback, it helps shoppers trust what everyone has to say.
Tips on How to gather reviews
How do you get customers to give you the feedback you’re after? Northwestern’s study shows that up to 80% of reviews originate from post-purchase emails.
Email marketing services like MailChimp, GetResponse, etc. makes this kind of follow-up easy. With any product follow-up or first purchase automation, you can send an email to the person who just bought your stuff and ask them to write back with a product review. These automations send at a default time, but you can make adjustments to the timing based on your own needs. You can also set the automation to send only to customers who bought a particular item, an item from a specific category, or anyone who makes a purchase.
Timing is everything
Decide when to follow up based on what you sell. For example, if you sell clothes, people typically try them on the day they arrive. They’ll be ready to share feedback the day after their package gets there.
But if you sell something like outdoor adventure gear for cats, you might want to give your customer a week or two to test it out before you ask for a review.
Track your reviews
The product follow-up and first purchase automations email marketing services like MailChimp and GetResponse offers you can use them to direct customers to submit reviews on your website or via email. If you have a paid MailChimp account, you can use Conversations tracking to manage customer responses.
Integrations like SurveyMonkey also make it simple to collect and consolidate customer feedback.
In general, it’s important to make it easy for customers to leave reviews of your products. If you allow them to rate the product on a straightforward scale, like with 1 to 5 stars, a review can take just one click. You can even offer incentives like a discount on their next purchase to make it more appealing.
Make the most of your reviews
Once you’ve rounded up customer reviews, be sure to use them to their fullest potential.
- Feature the reviews on your own site, alongside your products. This will encourage shoppers to trust your business and buy your stuff.
- Include reviews when you send emails that promote a specific product or service to give your audience an even better idea of what you’re selling.
- Build a landing page and host reviews on the page to drive an action. If you’re collecting email addresses, include reviews of how valuable your content is.
- Post the reviews on social media to promote your products, your landing page, and the good stuff your brand does.