Today, people turn to online reviews for everything from choosing where to order pizza for dinner to curating the best SaaS stack for the marketing department. It’s hard to overstate just how important online reviews have become – just think, 86% of online shoppers (and 51% of those who shop in-store) won’t buy products without reading reviews first, according to a recent survey from PowerReviews.
Online reviews are seen by thousands, and potentially millions, of people. An average local business’s Google My Business listing is viewed 1,260 times each month, according to BrightLocal, whereas TrustRadius has found that 92% of B2B buyers who use reviews share them with at least one other person.
What’s more, people truly trust online reviews. For B2B buyers, user reviews are the third most-used resource for B2B buyers, according to TrustRadius, and they’ve been among the top five for five years in a row. Reviews are also one of the top three most trusted sources of information, alongside free trials and product demos.
When Bizrate Insights asked consumers what factors impact their purchase decisions the most, 32% said reviews, 24% said free shipping, 22% said coupon or discount, and 6.5% said loyalty programs.
User reviews are seen as unbiased, honest, and therefore more trustworthy than any content you could produce. But how can you make the most of them?
Table of Contents:
- Gather Reviews Together
- Resist Deleting Negative Reviews
- Leverage Niche Review Platforms
- Consistently Encourage Reviews
- Proactively Display and Broadcast Reviews
- Online Reviews Have More Power Than You Realize
Gather Reviews Together
One review isn’t enough. Potential customers feel more trust towards businesses with more reviews. Bizrate found that over 25% of consumers look for companies with 11-50 reviews, while almost 40%, or 2 out of 5 shoppers, expect more than 50 reviews. Only 22% say 1-10 is enough, and just 13% say it doesn’t matter.
The trouble is, reviews can be scattered across the internet and in places you wouldn’t expect. Not just on your website and review sites, but also Amazon reviews; reviews on social media like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook; and YouTube, Reddit, and Better Business Bureau pages. People even leave reviews on payment platforms like Square and PayPal, and delivery and logistics sites like UPS.
While prospects might visit a few review sites, they won’t invest much energy hunting for reviews across the net, so you need to bring reviews to where your customers come, namely your website, just like Under Armour does on this product page for running shoes.
Reviews from experts have more weight than those from Mr. Average, so track them down bloggers, influencers, and writers who’ve written a review, pull them out the blog or Instagram post, and give them a prominent position on your site.
After all, if Kim Kardashian used your waxing service, Kim down the block is more likely to give it a try.
Resist Deleting Negative Reviews
“How to delete Google reviews” is a frequently-searched query, but it’s a mistake. Consider this: 96% of consumers specifically look for negative reviews at least sometimes, while 69% always or regularly seek them out, and 46% of consumers distrust products with a perfect five out of five star rating, according to PowerReviews’s data.
If your reviews look too good to be true, someone’s going to get suspicious. Even if someone wants to do business with you, they still want to know what the potential drawbacks are.
What’s more, negative reviews can actually be a gift, because they are an opportunity to show how you respond to criticism. Your calm, sympathetic, and prompt response could convert a displeased buyer into a loyal customer as well as earning you respect from prospective clientele.
Plus, a negative review could open your eyes to a defect in your product or service, which you wouldn’t otherwise know about.
Leverage Niche Review Platforms
Beyond worrying about how to get Google reviews, you should also consider reviews on dedicated sites for your vertical.
We’re talking sites like TripAdvisor for tour guides, Care.com for babysitters or carers, Edmunds for car sales, Houzz for home improvement services, and G2 for SaaS tech, to name but a few.
Reviews on these sites can move the needle for you even more than those on Google or Yelp, because people who come to dedicated niche review sites are likely to already have more purchase intent than someone browsing Google.
Additionally, 72% of BrightLocal’s respondents said that it matters if a business appears on multiple review sites, so spread reviews across all the places potential customers may be looking.
Consistently Encourage Reviews
No business or vertical can afford to be without reviews, but they don’t grow on trees. You need a continuous strategy to encourage customers to leave reviews. Recency is one of the top factors people look for in a review, with 71% telling PowerReviews that it matters to them.
About 34% look for reviews that are between a week and a month old, and a quarter look for reviews that are between one to three months old, so you need to be consistent with your reviews strategy. It’s not enough to check up on things intermittently.
Make it easy for people to leave you a review by sending a link to your review page on Yelp, Google My Business, or your website in your thank-you email. This also helps to respond to people’s reviews; people are naturally more inclined to leave a review if they feel appreciated for it. And yes, people notice.
Google sends a notification to the person who wrote the review when you respond, and BrightLocal’s data says that 20% of consumers expect to receive a response to their review within one day.
Proactively Display and Broadcast Reviews
Finally, make sure it’s easy for people to find the reviews that matter. Display them prominently on your website, adding a headshot if you can, especially if it’s by an expert or a celebrity.
Draw attention to top reviews by turning them into social ads to present to more eyes on Facebook, just like MizzBloom does in the example below. You can also include average rating badges on your website’s footer and mention reviews in your nurture emails.
On your site, allow users to search reviews by keywords, like filtering reviews about shoes by “running” or “arch support,” and by star rating. PowerReviews has found that prospects who use the search feature on a product page convert at 202.9% higher than average, including those looking for one-star reviews.
Online Reviews Have More Power Than You Realize
Online reviews have the power to make or break your business, regardless of your vertical or industry, so it’s crucial to get behind them. By embracing negative reviews, ensuring reviews are posted consistently and are easy to find, allowing visitors to search for the most relevant reviews, and encouraging reviews across numerous sites, you’ll be able to leverage the strength of online reviews to boost profits and raise your bottom line.