Do you want to know a secret weapon for growing your business? The answer is online reviews, and they are becoming more powerful as search engine algorithms give them more weight and more buyers depend more heavily on them for insight into different products and services.
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Online reviews don’t have to be a passive part of your business. Instead, you can leverage them to attract more customers on multiple platforms. Here are a few strategies to help you make the most out of your customer reviews.
Strategy #1: Ask Your Fans to Leave Reviews
The best strategy to improve the number of reviews customers leave is by asking them. After they finish their meal, purchase a product or after you complete a service, then ask them to go online and tell everyone about their experience.
Tourism companies on South Padre Island are especially good at this tactic. After you finish your jet ski tour or a fishing expedition, the workers always ask customers to go online and leave a review. They go a step further by asking patrons to include the worker's name in the review so other visitors to the island know who they want to take them out on the ocean.
These companies know that tourists lean heavily on reviews when they choose which of the many charter companies they want to take them out on a sunset dolphin watch dinner, so they constantly ask for people to invest a little time discussing their experience.
Strategy #2: Request Reviews Via Email
It’s not always possible to ask for a review immediately after a purchase. Instead, it might be better to ask a customer for a week or two after the purchase.
Car companies or mattress companies might receive better feedback after the customer has driven the vehicle for a week or had a couple nights of sleep on their new bed.
When you ask customers after they’ve made the big purchase, you’re reminding them how much your company values their business. In return, the next time they buy a new mattress or a new car, you’ll be the first company they’ll want to visit.
Strategy #3: Publicize Positivity
When someone leaves you an honest review with positive feedback, promote it on social media or in your next mass email.
Promoting reviews does two things. First, it lets your customers know that you read their feedback and that it matters to you. Two, if you have a lead who’s not yet a customer on your email list, then they might see the review as a reason to choose your company the next time they’re looking to purchase the types of products or services you offer.
For example, if you’re a restaurant, you could use a review in your email to help promote a new menu item, especially if the customer is talking about their opinion of the food.
Strategy #4: Handle Complaints Professionally
When you start asking for reviews you’re going to find some customers who have complaints about your brand. You might even find a few complaints before you ever ask for reviews. The key to handling bad reviews is not making the previous customer an enemy, and it’s definitely important not to get into a fight with them on the website.
You’ll attract more customers to your business if you handle online reviews with class by solving the problem and improving the unhappy customer’s perspective. It gives potential buyers the confidence to know that if they choose you and there is a problem, that you’ll be sure to fix it.
Strategy #5: Say Thank You
When customers do take the time to leave a review, thank them for their time and effort. Let them know you care about their feedback, but more importantly that you appreciate that they chose your brand over other options.
By writing a little thank you comment on their review, you are alerting prospective customers that you’d value their feedback too and that you’re responsive.
Strategy #6: Let Reviews Influence Business Decisions
Don’t just ask for reviews, actually listen to customers. Is there a consistent complaint? Take a step back and examine why you keep getting this type of feedback. Do you need to change a company policy? Would it be better if you eliminated a certain product or service?
Maybe some insights will give you new ideas on the types of future products and services you should spend time creating. You’ll attract more customers when you are creating more of what they want and need.
Strategy #7: Promote Unedited Reviews on Your Website
Spend time promoting reviews on your website. You could pick and choose what reviews to include, but the best approach is using a widget to embed Google reviews, Yelp, Facebook reviews, or another third-party review platform. If a customer only sees what you want them to see, you might not improve your odds of winning their business. Instead, use transparency as a way to prove why you’re the best choice.
Online reviews and the inbound marketing methodology go hand-in-hand. Together they are a powerful way to increase the number of customers who are choosing your brand. However, keeping track of online reviews is a lot of work.
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