Whether you like to admit it or not, we’re all guilty of falling into trends. People have this tendency to follow the behaviors of the masses, which is why things like man-buns, tube socks, and bedazzled jeans were popular well past their expiration date.
This concept is known as social proof: people generally believe a group of people are more informed or “hip” than they are.
So what does this have to do with how customer reviews can generate leads? Well, reviews are the social proof for your customers. When your leads see that a horde of people have already tried your product and have great things to say about it, they’re likely to believe them. And why wouldn’t they? If you have over a thousand people saying your product is great, it’s probably something to write home about!
But we haven’t even scratched the surface of why online reviews work so well. Below you’ll find some of the major benefits of online reviews, along with some tips on how to get customers to write online reviews. But before we dive into all the good bits, let’s first cover some ground on the connection between online reviews and SEO.
Online Reviews and SEO
Let’s get one thing straight—online reviews do affect your SEO. And we aren’t just saying that because we’re a digital marketing agency. According to Bright Local, search engines factor in the quality and quantity of your reviews to determine your search ranking position.
So when there are numerous review platforms left and right, how do you know how to prioritize them? The key is to place a high priority on Google reviews. After all, Google is the most popular search engine, carrying nearly 92% (as of October 2021) of the global search engine market share.
Online reviews and SEO are interlinked because they have the same purpose—to help users find the right products and services promptly. Research shows Google reviews make up one of the top two search ranking factors for earning a spot on the local three-pack.
So, while all online reviews are a driving factor in Google’s search rankings and Google My Business (GMB) rankings, Google reviews can help you fare better in both. With that said, let’s flesh out some of the ways leveraging these reviews can work in your business’s favor.
6 Benefits of Online Reviews
There are only upsides to getting more reviews for your brand and products. Here are six to take into consideration.
1. They Make You More Visible
Google loves to see a business with a lot of reviews. The more reviews you have, the higher you can rank in search engine results. Since reviews can show your history of meeting your customer’s needs, search engines will see you as an authority in your industry. Better yet, you’ll be seen by a lot more people online. When 86% of people rely on the internet to find a business, this visibility is absolutely crucial.
2. They Establish Trust
With more visibility, not only will search engines trust you more, but a collection of positive reviews will also make it easier for customers to trust you—88% of customers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from people they know.
Most customers will look at your reviews before even considering your product. So, only having a handful of reviews or a below-4 star rating can seriously damage your chances of turning leads into customers.
This comes back to social proof. If only a small number of people seem to trust you in their reviews, you’ll have a hard time keeping new people around.
3. They Directly Impact Your Sales
It’s a no-brainer that more customers would mean more sales, but there’s data to prove it. Companies that use reviews in their marketing strategy see an 18% increase in sales compared to those that don’t.
If your leads like what they see in your reviews, they’ll be more than willing to drop some cash on your product.
4. They Give You a Chance to Interact with Customers
Reviews are just as informative for you as they are for your customers. You can read your reviews to find out what the general perception of your company is.
By responding to customer reviews, you get a chance to have real interaction with customers, something that isn’t easy to accomplish when the shopping experience is entirely digital. And who knows, what you learn from your interactions may inspire you to make some changes to your products and how you market yourself.
5. They Give You Free Advertising
Every company dreams of its customers saying nice things about their brand. Those dreams come true in online reviews. These reviews often share captivating stories and unique experiences with your company that interests your leads. More people will see your company’s name and products as they read through your reviews, all the while increasing your brand awareness.
6. They Can Bring Some Character to Your Brand
People can be pretty darn funny. And when the hilarity of the human condition is expressed on the web, it can illuminate your brand in a good way.
Just take a look at these funny reviews for reference:
Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt
This single t-shirt has become an inside joke of the internet and has cult-like notoriety.
One review went viral in 2009, simply stating the following:
People lost their minds. The entire comments section is now full of jokes, including one that swears it turned one man into an irresistible chick magnet. The shirt has become an icon, and everyone wants to be in on the joke.
ThinkGeek released a product called “Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap,” designed to help wake you up in your morning shower.
It didn’t take long for the jokes to come pouring in, with an unsurprising amount of jokes hilariously talking about eating the soap instead of using it in the shower, bringing a whole new meaning to “wash your mouth out with soap.”
Keep in mind, funny reviews can come at a cost. For instance, someone who has never tried the product can leave a one-star review as part of a joke and doesn’t have any reason to object to the product itself. If this happens to you, reach out to the review platform, and they can help you flag the review as fraudulent.
All in all, nice and funny reviews can bolster brand awareness and engagement around your brand and products.
Click here to read more of our favorite funny reviews.
How to Get Customers to Write Online Reviews: 7 Ways
Sometimes the tricky part isn’t getting people to buy from you, it’s getting their opinion. Here are seven helpful tips to help you get more online reviews.
1. Post on Social Media
This works great if you have a healthy following on social media. You can simply write up a post asking your loyal customers to leave a review. Because chances are, if they have the free time to scroll through social media, they can spare a couple of minutes to tell you what they think about you. Plus, a customer that is loyal enough to follow you probably has some good things to say.
2. Offer Rewards for Leaving a Review
Sometimes people need an incentive, so offering a reward for a positive review can be an effective strategy. It shouldn’t be an offer that puts you in financial jeopardy. Instead, make it something simple, like a $20 Amazon gift card to the first five people who leave a review or a 10% off coupon for their next purchase from your store.
3. Run an Email Campaign
When customers have made a purchase, they often leave their email information with you. This gives you a list of contacts who have already purchased from you and likely have something to say. You can automate these emails to go out as part of a campaign to gather customer opinions or after a customer’s product has been delivered.
Let’s take a look at Sew Sweet Minky Designs as an example:
To help our clients create a seamless experience for their customers to leave reviews, Big Leap created an email drip campaign for Sew Sweet. This campaign entailed four emails sent over a set time and encouraged customers to leave a review.
With their drip campaign, Sew Sweet was able to win 123 Google reviews for an average rating of 4.5 (out of 5) stars.
For more details, read the full case study here.
4. Find Happy Customers Using an NPS Survey
NPS surveys tell you how satisfying a customer’s experience with your brand was. The data collected from these surveys can inform you about how likely a customer is to recommend your brand to a friend. From there, it’s easy to find out who the highly satisfied customers are, and you can send those specific individuals a request to leave a review. There’s a much better chance they’ll say something positive.
5. Send SMS/Text Messages
Text messages give you immediate access to customers. Plus, it might be a better way to get your request actually seen. Studies show that consumers read 82% of text messages within 5 minutes but only open 1 in 4 emails. Just make sure to keep your message short—and don’t forget a review link.
6. Ask In-Person
Asking for a review in person can feel awkward, but it’s likely the most effective method. A great time to solicit a review is when a customer compliments or praises something about your business. Then ask them if they’d be willing to share their opinion on a Google Review.
You can also make it as non-threatening as a tablet set up near the cash register with a sign asking for feedback.
7. Make the Review Process Simple
No one likes to be given a chore, and that’s what a review will feel like if the process is over-complicated. Make it as easy as possible for the customer to leave a review. Some ways you can do that include:
- Sending them a link to the review site.
- Giving simple instructions, like leaving a 5-star review and a one-sentence summary of why they were satisfied.
- Letting them know how long the review process will take, so they understand the time commitment involved.
When to Ask for Reviews
Timing is just as important in getting more Google reviews from your customers. It’s in your best interest to pick the moments when your customers are satisfied enough that they would leave a positive review, like:
- After a purchase
- After a product has been delivered
- When a customer re-purchases or re-orders
- After a customer tags your brand on social media
- When customers are browsing your site for other products/services
- If they refer another customer
- Before a customer walks out the door
Get More Reviews with Big Leap
If you have any kind of presence online, you need to incorporate online reviews into your marketing strategy. It’s one of the many things you should be doing to increase your visibility. Lucky for you, Big Leap knows how to make the most of your reviews.
Contact us today to get help with your digital marketing strategy. We’ll work with you to create a plan that’s customized to your needs to get the right leads to your digital doorstep.