Boost Online Reviews to Drive Profitable Consumer Action
How do you grab a lifeline on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"
You ask the audience!
While experts tend to get a trivia question right two-thirds of the time, the audience gets that answer right 91 percent of the time. Why? Because individually we are limited, but collectively we are genius.
In today's global economy, buyers understand the importance of collective intelligence. People rely on other consumers to help them decide what movies to see, which vet to use for their pets, or the best software to buy.
Recent studies show more than half of adults under age 50 consult online reviews before making a purchase decision. People trust and rely on these reviews, and products or companies that receive positive reviews increase the quality and quantity of their website traffic.
Gather and Manage Your Own Online Reviews
Customer reviews are an incredibly valuable asset in today's world, and businesses have more power over these reviews than they may think.
Don't leave your reputation in the hands of third-party sites like Google, Facebook, or Yelp! As you seek to generate leads and engage prospects, work to:
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. Can you interview a brand loyalist personally? Have you launched an e-mail campaign to ask customers for reviews on recent purchases? Have you tried incentives to prompt greater response?
- Get notified of new customer reviews and efficiently respond. Reply directly online or send a personal message to the reviewer to express gratitude or interest in their concern.
- Aggregate and embed reviews on your business website. This increases the chance of positive reviews showing up in online searches by interested prospects.
- Learn from reviews and improve service. Even negative feedback can signal customer engagement. The more you listen and respond to your customers, the more relevant and successful you will be.
As you flush out and manage reviews, don't assume that search engines and review sites aren't important. According to Mike Bluementhal, online marketing co-founder of GatherUp, Google is crucial:
"We advise small businesses to think of Google as your new Home page. Your Google brand result is one of your most important pages on the internet. That is not to say it can replace your website. It can't. But your Google presence should reflect the best your business has to offer. People searching will see how you appear in Google and make immediate judgments."
A Winning Formula
Bluemental says that 70 percent of new leads start at Google.
While traditionally word-of-mouth marketing the most powerful referral option, online reviews now hold tremendous influence. From phone calls, driving directions, or contact form fills, Google is the number one spot for new users to take action to connect with a business. And this behavior is strongly influenced by the customer reviews Google posts from the business website or social media pages.
In other words, manage your content and take great care of your customers! Care about what they think and streamline your service to their needs. Encourage them to share compliments. And when they do, give that content a boost so it appears far and wide online. Bluementhal says this will help entrepreneurs to improve weak areas while simultaneously growing areas of strength:
"It's a winning formula in today's landscape."