by Manish Dudharejia, President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc
Today’s customers are increasingly skeptical and distrusting, especially when it comes to marketing. Over-promising and under-delivering simply doesn’t fly, especially in today’s highly competitive business landscape.
This is why having a robust library of honest customer reviews is so essential for building trust and confidence with new customers. According to BrightLocal’s report, 86% of customers now look at past feedback before buying from a new business, and the majority check out at least 10 reviews before they feel they can trust the company. Furthermore, nine out of ten consumers report they trust a customer review just as much as a personal recommendation from a friend.
Making the most of your business reviews is a great approach to attract new customers and increase your conversion rates.
So, how can you optimize customer feedback in a more strategic way? Let’s discuss.
1. Display Them on Your Homepage.
You already know that customers are looking at reviews during the decision-making process, so why not make it easier to find the best ones? Instead of only listing reviews on product pages or third-party sites (i.e. Yelp), feature some on your homepage as well.
Not only does this increase the visibility of your best reviews, it can also help your SEO presence. Reviews make up over 15% of the ranking factors for Google SERPs and they often naturally include common long-tail keywords that new customers may be looking for. Plus, when reviews are regularly added and updated, it generates fresh content that signals activity to search engines, which could boost your rankings as well.
Don’t be afraid to list a mix of reviews, either. This can actually increase the trustworthiness of your brand when customers see that you don’t showcase only have perfect 5-star ratings. For example, the Trustpilot reviews on Capterra show a mix of positive and negative feedback, which helps them come off as more authentic. They even invite customers to list out the pros and cons so that other consumers know exactly what to expect and have a better idea of how the platform works.
By making reviews a key part of your homepage design, you are instantly creating a more trustworthy experience for new customers. It can also improve the overall customer experience with your website – as new visitors are finding the information they are looking for right away, rather than having to search through to find it.
2. Encourage UGC Visuals.
Brands that focus on incorporating visuals into their marketing tend to outperform their competitors in terms of conversions and engagement. The same goes for customer reviews. Consumers want to know what to expect from a product before they buy it, and they are not always willing to trust the curated and heavily Photoshopped versions that are typically displayed on business websites.
Since consumers are more likely to trust what another customer has to say than what the brand’s marketing content says, visual UGC reviews can be highly influential. Be sure to ask customers to upload pictures of the product or share customer posts regularly on your social media pages.
In order to start collecting visual UGC, your marketing team may want to utilize a social listening tool like Mention that will send an alert when your business’s name is mentioned anywhere on the internet. That way, if a customer uploads a picture of your product to their Instagram or posts a video on YouTube about it, your team can reach out and ask to use that content for marketing purposes.
3. Respond in a Timely Manner.
Replying to a customer’s question or negative review quickly can actually make them feel better – and may even change their sentiment. Replying to positive reviews is also important, and other customers do actually pay attention to see how brands respond to other customer reviews. In fact, customers are actually more likely to purchase from a brand that regularly responds to customer’s reviews, especially the negative ones.
In most cases, you will want to respond within a few hours or days, as the majority of customers expect a response within this timeframe. By responding in a timely manner to disgruntled customers, you may be more likely to turn things around and find a way to resolve the issue. Plus, providing an apology and an offer to make things better shows to new, existing, and potential customers that your brand really cares about the experience and service it offers.
4. Offer Incentives for Feedback.
Unfortunately, most customers won’t leave a review for a business on their own. Furthermore, consumers are actually more likely to leave feedback after a negative experience than a positive one. Obviously, this is bad news for companies that are trying to build their brand reputation by focusing on reviews.
Therefore, to get more reviews, it may not hurt to create a promotional strategy that offers small but meaningful incentives if a customer leaves a review. Even something as small as a 10% discount code can be enough to convince more people to leave positive feedback. You can also use this as a strategy to encourage brand advocacy by asking customers to share their experience on social media pages and offering referral bonuses.
If building trust is a top priority for your business, then you need to make the most of your customer reviews. Clearly, buying decisions today are heavily influenced by the opinions and experiences of others, and seeing positive feedback can be just what a new consumer needs to convert.
Be strategic about the placement of your reviews by incorporating them throughout your website for higher visibility and increased SEO value. Give your customers the kind of content they really want by Including pictures and videos from real customers whenever possible. And finally, keep your strategies customer-centric by making it a priority to respond to reviews and offer incentives for honest feedback.
By following these simple strategies, you can start to generate more feedback (and trust) with new customers for a more successful business structure.
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.