The Importance of Online Reviews (and How You Can Get Them)

The concept of social proof drives sales and conversions across all industries. Social proof is the psychological phenomenon where individuals copy the actions or decisions of others when deciding how to behave in a certain scenario. Trends and fads are born out of this concept of social proof and the desire to fit in. Social proof often leads consumers to trust the opinions of those around them, which makes word-of-mouth and other naturally occurring marketing incredibly powerful in building brand awareness and credibility. Customer-driven marketing, like word-of-mouth, is crucial to the growth of your brand, but how can you earn this form of organic marketing?

The simplest way to increase organic marketing from your audience is by receiving online reviews from your existing clients or customers. Reviews on Yelp or Google Business are game-changers in a customer’s decision-making process. Keep reading to understand more about how online reviews can boost your business and several ways to encourage happy customers to leave a review for you and/or your organization.

The Importance of Online Reviews

Build Trust and Credibility

A majority of customers are risk-averse when purchasing a new product or service. When shopping, people are more likely to trust the opinions of customers who don’t have any stake in whether or not they make a purchase. If a shopper can’t personally test the quality of a product or service prior to purchasing it, trusting the testimonies of previous customers is the next best option. Accruing positive reviews may increase your sales and conversions in the long run.

Increase Searchability

Improving the SEO of your company’s website can be a daunting task, but earning online reviews can help ease the process. When leaving reviews, customers naturally use keywords that other customers are searching for. While online reviews might not carry you to the top of Google’s search results, they can strengthen your brand’s association with certain keywords and potentially lead a search engine’s algorithm to view your business’ website as more credible.

Foster Communication with Customers

As a business owner, connecting with your consumer base is crucial. Doing so improves brand loyalty, enhances customer retention, and encourages your customers to recommend your business to others. Any chance to interact with your consumer can help build their loyalty to you and your business. If your business is remote or operates primarily through online interactions, reviews can be especially crucial, as they may be one of your only forms of customer interaction.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Understanding what your customers like and dislike about your business can help you adjust your offerings and operations to better fulfill their needs. Online reviews provide truthful and extensive feedback, as customers have a somewhat anonymous space to give their opinions on your product or services. Use this forum to your advantage to increase future customer satisfaction!

How Do I Get Online Reviews?

Follow-Up Post-Purchase

The simplest way to receive online reviews is by following up with customers shortly after their purchase is received or a service is completed. Simply send an email or text with a link to leave a review. This allows for the sales process to be fresh in your customer’s mind. In addition, if they’re excited about their purchase, you can hope their excitement will translate into a positive review.

Provide Direct Links and Simple Instructions

When requesting reviews from your customers, make the process as simple as possible. For example, include a direct link to the platform you’d like a review on so that the reader is only one click away from leaving the review. It can also be helpful to give your customers an idea of how long the review process will take. Adding a message like, “If you have 3 minutes, we’d love to hear how we did!” may reinforce for the reader that it’s not a daunting or time-consuming task. In addition, have a link to leave an online review readily available on different platforms. If possible, include a QR code on physical collateral that leads to your online review options, or add a link to your Google Business Listing on your website. Make things as accessible as possible so a customer can leave a review.

Respond to All Reviews

Responding to positive and negative reviews will reinforce for customers that your business truly cares about hearing feedback. Let your customers know that you appreciate the positive comments and that you are taking the negative comments into account for improvement Taking the time to actively listen to your customers shows that you value your clients, and it will encourage others to leave their comments as well.

Ask in Response to Praise

Another simple tactic to elicit positive reviews is to ask for a review from outwardly satisfied customers. A client or shopper who is raving about your business is a lot more likely to take the time to leave your organization a review than a customer who is indifferent about your products and services. Similarly, you can use this tactic to avoid sending review requests to customers who had a less-than-ideal purchase process. If their product got lost in the mail, for example, you may not want to follow up with them to ask for an online review.

Personalize Your Request

Let your customer know that their individual voice is important to you. Whether you personalize the request by using the customer’s name in an email, asking face-to-face, or by crafting an individualized message, make your customer feel valued. If you take the time to send them a personalized message, they may be more inclined to take the time to leave your business a review.

Share Previous Reviews

Highlighting past reviews reinforces the idea that you value your customers’ feedback. Take the time to not only read and respond to reviews, but also share them on your website or social media as well. By going above and beyond to show thanks for the online reviews, you will show how valuable they are to your business. When customers see your appreciation for the reviews, they may be encouraged to leave a review of their own.

Trust Us, It’s Worth It

In marketing, earned media is both valuable and difficult to receive. If you can encourage your customers to leave reviews for your organization, a lot of the weight of marketing is taken off of the shoulders of the business. The online reviews will improve your website’s SEO, the credibility of your business, and the reach of your organization, all without you or your team lifting a finger. Start prioritizing online reviews now, and watch your hard work pay off in the future!

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