Since the early ages of marketing, most businesses have been relying on the power of word-of-mouth in order to establish their customer base.
It is the reputation of a business that makes it afloat and be patronized by its target market. However, recent changes in the way people communicate and share information has paved a way on different types of influences consumers may take their advice from.
Today, being on the digital age, this word-of-mouth has turned into online reviews.
In fact, online peer reviews are increasingly important to consumers’ buying decisions with 92 percent of consumers reading online reviews for local businesses, according to Eric Norstrom, Director of Digital Operations at MDG Advertising.
Related Article: Customer Reviews on Ecommerce: Do We Really Need them?
How Important Are Online Reviews?
Studies show that online reviews are becoming the priority of online markets because of their great impact on businesses. Over-all, 73 percent of consumers create impressions and decisions on a service while reading one to six reviews.
Related Article: Star Envy: 5 Tips to Increase Your Positive Online Reviews
Aside from giving a positive image of one’s business, online reviews are a make-or-break factor in today’s competitive business world. Since businesses are constantly investing in their online advertisement, the competition to rise on top of search ranking has become tougher than ever.
If a product or a service is lucky enough to be found and clicked during a consumer's process, they then turn to reviews around the product as the deciding factor whether to go even further with the buying decision or to abandon the site completely.
With this in mind, how can businesses encourage reviews from the customers?
How to Encourage Your Consumers to Leave Reviews
Since reviews are important in consumers’ decision-making, the pressure for online shops to be more transparent with their customers has become more intense. Therefore, let's explore ways on how your brand could garner more authentic reviews that could potentially close the deal with your potential customers as they navigate through your site.
1. Join review platforms where your customers are already active
There are various platforms where consumers can leave reviews such as Yelp, Trip Advisor and Google My Business. While you have the option to host reviews on your site, it is much easier to set up accounts on these sites and build a community around them since your existing and potential consumers may already be active on them.
Afterward, make sure to link them to your business page so you could easily attract more reviews and easily monitor the conversation around your brand in those channels. Make sure that these links are in prominentlyy visible areas of your site so your visitors may easily spot them.
You may also help facilitate the conversation by displaying clear instructions on how consumers can leave their reviews or by highlighting notable reviews previously left by other customers. That way, your visitors will get a chance of transparency and urgency to share their experiences as well.
2. Offer incentives that will motivate your consumers give reviews
It is easier to mobilize consumers once they know there are tangible benefits for them as they accomplish certain milestones or actions for your company. For example, many online retailers now incorporate raffle draws and other promotions for those who decide to share their online reviews.
While this may be an over-all great idea, be careful with your communications as you'd want to avoid giving them the feeling that you're bribing them to leave a positive review. Instead, make it clear that your main objective is to hear their genuine feedback on how was their experience interactiving with your staff and your brand.
Related Article: Why Testimonials Work: The Psychology of Social Proof
3. Provide them options on how to leave their reviews
You can ask your consumers through various channels including email or over the phone. Start seeking for loyal and long-time customers. Encourage them to leave online reviews and provide them the instructions if in case they do not have access to review platforms.
Providing your customers easy access and several options give them the feeling that you truly value their feedback and not fishing for complements.
By putting emphasies to online reviews, businesses can leverage their presence online. Not only does it provide a good opportunity of getting customers to share their experinece but businesses can learn a lot from the reviews on how to best improve their products and services.