There’s little doubt that online reviews have become a staple of successful companies that market their products online.
Amazon has shown the way in terms of how customers can interact safely and effectively with their products online.
If your company is going to compete, you need your customers to spread the good news and become online product advocates.
The good news is human beings are social creatures, so getting your customers to interact might not be as challenging as you’d expect; especially using these five killer strategies for increasing satisfied consumer engagement.
Related Article: Why Testimonials Work: The Psychology of Social Proof
Get Your Business Listed
So many companies fail to list themselves on sites like Yelp and Google Local. This is a huge mistake.
Claim your listing and not only help new customers find you more easily, but offer existing customers the opportunity to become brand ambassadors.
Just to give you an example, my family recently moved and we did a simple search on Yelp to find a local moving company that could handle our simple move across town.
We were able to see customer reviews and then make a short-list to call and request quotes quickly. Having a presence on the sites your potential customers are already browsing is a must.
When we were done with the move, one of the reps asked us to leave a review on Yelp after we complimented his care of our furniture.
He specifically mentioned for us to put his name inside the review so that he could collect a bonus. The owner of the small company was smart enough to realize that motivating his employees to get customers onboard with leaving reviews was smart business.
Aggressively Market Your Brand
Take advantage of the premium offerings that review sites offer. For example, Yelp allows companies to purchase ad-space.
Companies with a Google business/local listing are able to highlight their reviews within their ad-words campaigns.
This is a great way to lend credibility to your advertisements and help boost your search rankings for the terms most important to your business.
There’s never been a better time to start working with outside partners to fund ad buys.
For example, understanding the way venture capital works is a great first step towards accessing financing and expanding your visibility in the market.
It pays to advertise, especially with how cost-effective Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising has become.
Understand Your Market and Isolate Opportunities
Digging into the user traffic that different sites get is an important step in understanding how your brand can interact with customers online.
For example, if you’re selling some of the most expensive cars in the world, it would make sense to look at where your competition is advertising their vehicle listings.
Related Article: Customer Reviews on Ecommerce: Do We Really Need them?
Chances are you will want to target a different market than a plumber or electrician.
Don’t be afraid of taking full advantage of the competition’s market research. I guarantee your major competition is watching how you act in the market and immediately copying the things they like.
Just remember, the more focused you can make your advertising, the smaller the audience you need to cater to and the more effective your advertising dollars will become.
Engage with Reviewers
When a customer takes the time to go out of their way and leave your company a positive review, you need to thank them publicly.
This shows that your company is proactive and monitors its presence online. If a customer leaves a negative review, it’s an opportunity for you to politely respond and invite them to contact you or your manager directly to resolve the issue.
An addendum from a customer that their issue has been resolved goes a long way to building brand credibility.
Consider Listing Your Company on High-Ranked Review Sites
It’s no secret that companies pay a ton of money for their products to be reviewed by the largest review sites on the internet.
Whether it’s providing free products, or direct compensation, it’s important that your company shows up on the lists your customers are looking at.
The worst thing that could happen is someone types “Top 10 [Insert Your Industry]” and your company fails to earn mention on any of the first few links on Google.
In an even murkier part of the market, you can pay companies like Review Shepherd to provide your company with reviews on all of the popular sites.
Companies have been pushing back against these types of services (see Amazon’s lawsuit against fake reviewers), but it’s still an industry standard and ignoring this option may hurt your chances of getting noticed.
Related Article: Easy Ways to Get Happy Customer to Write Online Reviews
At the end of the day, a customer leaving a review of your business online represents the perfect end to a transaction. Even if it’s less than favorable,