Think back to the last time you purchased an unfamiliar product or service. How did you find information on that product or service, and what guided you to make your buying decision?

Chances are that you did an online search and looked for reviews from previous customers who expressed their satisfaction about their experience with that company.  These reviews helped make you feel more comfortable with your choices, you narrowed down your options, and you made a confident final decision.  Am I right?  🙂

This illustrates the most important reason reviews are paramount for your business, product or service. They can make or break your relationship with future customers without any additional work on your part.

So, if you’ve been wondering about online reviews and how they relate to your company, keep reading. Here’s a list of reasons why reviews matter, and what you can do to improve the chances that your business’ reputation online is helping (not hurting) your bottom line.

5 Reasons You Need More Reviews

The fact that customers care to look for reviews before making a purchase decision is an aggregate result of many other components. Here are five of the most important ones you should keep in mind:

  1. Social Proof: Sometimes, customers purchase a product or service with a lower aggregate review because it has more individual reviews. More reviews provide more social proof i.e. proof that the product/service was bought and used by hundreds or thousands of people and not just a handful.
  2. Ranking: Search engines prefer to connect users with popular products and services. The more reviews a product or service has and the more people talk about it, the more likely Google, Bing, Amazon and other platforms are to rank it ahead of competitors.
  3. Brand Identity: Reviews can become an unintentional echo chamber for many of the values a company espouses. Examples might include good customer service and durable products. Over time, this might form part of what the brand is known for.
  4. Consumer Trust: Very few companies are willing to air their weaknesses to the public. Instead, marketing campaigns and website information share strengths and might even exaggerate them. Customers prefer to trust real-life takes on products and services.
  5. Feedback: Inevitably, every product or service gets a bad review. Even good reviews might include a few disappointments or dislikes. Companies can use this information to improve their products and show customers that they’re listening.

The Components of Review Management & What You Can Do to Help

Many companies believe that if they put a great product or service out there, people will automatically buy it and review it. Sometimes this does happen. However, most companies could benefit a lot more from actively managing reviews in the following ways:

Creating Platforms: There are several online platforms that allow reviews, based on your product or service. For instance, hotels can use TripAdvisor or Google My Business. Meanwhile, companies that sell products might turn to Amazon or partner with Walmart and other retailers.

Sourcing Reviews: You can source reviews in person or online. There are lines of ethics you should not cross when seeking reviews, so be mindful of this when aggregating feedback. Otherwise, it could come back to haunt you.

Moderating Reviews: Some platforms allow you to moderate reviews, especially if the claims are obviously false. Even when you cannot delete or change bad reviews, responding to them to clear the air or offer customers a solution might also work in your favor.

How To Source Reviews Ethically

There are many easy ways to ethically encourage customers to review your business, product or service. Note that even reviews that do not get posted on a star-rated platform still count as free marketing and PR that you should encourage. With that in mind, here are a few options:

  • Ask customers via social media, text, email or snail mail to share an honest review.
  • Start a social media campaign with a hashtag that customers can use to share their experience with your product or service.
  • Advertise a raffle that automatically enters every person who posts an honest review, whether the review is good or bad.
  • Include a reminder to review the product in the packaging it comes in, even if that’s just writing on a coffee cup at your cafe.

The Bottom Line

Digital marketing strategies are at the heart of a successful review campaign. An experienced marketing company will help ensure to deliver the results you seek. Sprout Media Lab has served our clients for over a decade and delivers an average ROI of around 1200%.

Interested in learning more, or working with our online review management and marketing experts? Contact us today for a no obligation, free consultation today!