After months of in-depth research, you’ve finally established the core need of your target customers. You’ve studied different purchasing trends, competitor offerings and the market responses to them. You’re certain that your product is precisely what your customers are looking for. To ensure success, you’ve allocated a significant marketing budget, and plan to increase your spending in direct and indirect marketing over the coming months.
Since online customer acquisition is important for your business, you’ve also hired a content marketing company that is looking after your blog and creating high quality content to establish you as a reliable brand in your industry. Your marketing team thinks you have all the bases covered. Your plan is flawless and your product is destined for success.
But there’s a little problem.
You have ignored the most important ingredient in your marketing strategy, without which you won’t be able to convert visitors into customers.
Reputation Management – The Missing Ingredient
Your online reputation is the key factor that will eventually determine your conversion rates. You’re not the only one spending money on marketing and advertising. All of your competitors are doing the same. Your potential customers are exposed to different forms of marketing from you and your competitors. But when a customer has to choose one service, your reputation plays a decisive role.
But how exactly does a customer judge your reputation? Let me explain.
When you’re planning to purchase a gift for someone, or deciding the dinner venue for a family get together, do you make the decision yourself? If you’re like me, you’d contact at least a couple of your friends for recommendations. You’d tell them the products or places in your mind and seek their opinion. If they respond positively, you’d go ahead. If they don’t, you’d leave that option.
This is precisely how potential customers determine your online reputation. They look for recommendations, online reviews, ratings and feedback from your past customers.
Advertising and other forms of promotional activities are your claims about your own product or service. They’re effective only to a certain extent. But customer reviews are perceived as unbiased opinions of people who’re not associated with you, and have used your products in the past. Their opinion has a much greater impact.
To help you understand the impact of online reviews, here are some interesting facts.
- 37% of consumers use the internet to search for a local business at least once a month
- 85% of consumers say they read online customer reviews for local businesses
- 71% of consumers say positive reviews increase their trust of a business
- 65% of consumers are more likely to go for a company that has positive online reviews
- 79% of consumers trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations
These stats clearly indicate how crucial online reviews are for your customer conversion rates. Even if you have a sound marketing strategy that successfully attracts potential customers to your website, blog or a landing page, you’ll have a hard time converting these visitors into customers without positive online reviews.
Customer reviews are so important that even Google prefers listing businesses with positive reviews higher in its search rankings. It has also introduced a reviews section in Google Business Pages.
Focus on Increasing Positive Reviews and Preventing the Negative Ones
Reviews are critical for your business and conversion rates, as apparent from the stats in this post. But creating natural reviews is quite a challenge. Most customers, despite being satisfied with your products/services, won’t give you reviews on their own.
On the other hand, dissatisfied customers are always quick to express their disappointment on their social media profiles, online review websites and through feedback emails. Your challenge is to maximize the positive reviews, and find a way to reduce the negative ones or even convert them into positive reviews.
Businesses use different ways to gather positive reviews. In the service industry, for example restaurants, customers are asked for feedback on the spot. Since everyone has smartphones these days, most people are happy to share their positive feedback on their social media profiles or on the company’s Facebook page. Online businesses use survey and feedback forms on their websites or social media profiles to record reviews. But the response rates in both these approaches is quite low. So you need to have a strong follow up mechanism that ensures every customer provides feedback - positive or negative.
Automation Is the Way Ahead
I personally recommend automating the whole process of feedback generation, follow ups and converting feedbacks into online reviews. Reputation Loop is a very effective tool for this purpose. It automates the complete review generation process and ensures that maximum positive reviews are generated and shared across different platforms on the web.
It also counters negative reviews by proactively collecting feedback from dissatisfied customers and emailing their feedback to you. This prevents the negative feedback from appearing on a public platform and gives you an opportunity to address the customer’s concerns. And as soon as you resolve their issues, the clients are approached again by ReputationLoop for their feedback, eventually generating positive reviews that can be shared publicly. The automation of this whole process certainly makes review generation much more convenient.
Wrapping It Up
As I said at the start, your marketing strategy is incomplete and, in most cases, ineffective without positive reinforcement through strong customer reviews. Marketing will give your products exposure. But it will also expose any negative customer reviews floating on the web. So you need an effective process through which you can increase positive reviews and convert the negatives ones in your favor. Adding this final ingredient, to your overall marketing and promotional strategy, would make your product simply irresistible for your potential customers.