When you’re buying something online, what’s the first thing you do?
According to research, more than 90% of us will head straight to the review section to see what people are saying – and the simple truth is they are now an essential part of any successful online (or offline) business.
How can you get the most from online reviews to boost those sales? Here’s everything you need to know…
Why customer reviews are important
The benefits of reviews are well documented, but let’s quickly cover them again because it’s important to understand the benefits.
More trust = more sales
It doesn’t matter how good your marketing is or how much you’ve worked on your brand – most people will believe what other people say about you FAR more than what you say about yourself.
People read reviews because they want to be confident in what they are buying. They want to get a feel for if it’s the right choice for them, or whether there’s a better option out there.
Essentially, it’s all about increasing confidence and trust – and the more reviews you have, the better. Research shows that 50 or more customer reviews of a product can increase the conversion rate by 4.6% – and it’s not untypical to see a 15%+ boost in overall sales.
Online reviews have a number of SEO benefits and are great for increasing your brand’s visibility in search engine results.
For one thing, Google LOVES websites that have a constant stream of fresh new content, and user reviews are a fantastic way to do just that, helping you to rank higher and gain more exposure. They may also contain keywords that help people find your content and tell Google more about your offering.
In addition, you’ve probably noticed that star ratings often appear next to certain businesses, websites and products in Google search results. This can further increase visibility, making your business/products stand out and improving click-through rates.
Valuable customer feedback
Reviews enable you to get valuable feedback from your customers. You’ll be able to see exactly what people love, and any areas you could improve.
What’s more, online reviews provide a great opportunity to provide a public response, helping you be seen as a trustworthy brand that cares about your customers. By responding to feedback, it’s also possible to turn around the customer’s experience and transform even a negative experience into a positive one.
Collecting customer reviews – and getting more of them
There are so many review platforms and different types of reviews – including company reviews, product reviews, Google Seller Ratings, local reviews, in-store reviews, etc.
If you’re looking to maximise your results, we’d highly recommend using a review management solution like Reviews.io. This provides all the tools you need to collect and manage reviews across all platforms, with support for text, video, SMS and many other review types.
What about getting MORE reviews?
1. Ask, ask, ask!
It sounds obvious, but the single easiest way to get more online reviews is to keep asking for them.
For example, you might pop a note on your checkout page, trigger a pop-up when someone makes a purchase.
Don’t forget that you’ll need to allow time for people to actually use your product, so it’s a good idea to send a reminder email a few days after the order has been delivered.
2. Offer an incentive
If you want more reviews, why not consider offering something to the customer in return? It could be a discount on their next order or a promo code for free shipping.
Customers LOVE this, and if it’s done in the right way it can be a very effective marketing strategy.
3. Engage with customers
We’ve already touched on some reasons to always reply to customer reviews – and the good news is that this can also help you get more of them.
If people can see that you actually read the reviews you receive and take feedback on board, they’ll be far more likely to also chip in with their own thoughts.
4. Make it easy
Finally, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for people to leave a review. If you make the customer jump through hoops, very few people are going to bother!
Again, a platform like Reviews.io can really help with this, enabling people to easily leave reviews through your website, Facebook, live chat and even SMS.
Looking for some expert advice on how online customer reviews can work for you? Contact us today.