Few consumers base their purchase decisions solely on the influence of advertising. The average consumer is now far savvier and has easy access to an abundance of information that guides their thought process along the purchasing path.
If you’re in the market for a new product, or some service offering has caught your attention, considering the time/money equation favors the former, your next move will likely be to research it via Google, Reddit, or a specific consumer feedback site like PissedConsumer.
What will this research tell you? Well, quite a lot. From professional, personal, and sponsored product reviews, many of which go into quite some detail and illustrate experiences of day-to-day use of a product, a lot of pertinent info can be gleaned and projected onto your personal situation and expectations of the product.
Most consumers actively seek out such, let’s say, ‘grassroots’ reviewers, in favor of the advertising material or marketing campaign content of the company that the product originates from. In the mind of the investigating consumer, customer reviews are seen as unbiased, credible, and more akin to personal recommendations than the persuasive techniques of commercial advertising.
So, far from neutralizing a company’s ability to curate its messaging and identity to its potential customers through its digital marketing strategy, this shift in purchasing trends has opened up an entirely new field of engagement. Forward-thinking organizations have not only adapted to it but actively sought to exploit it to maximize their impact and ability to make the most of the advantages it presents.
- Why does a business need customer reviews?
- How do customer reviews help marketing?
- 7 ways to use customer reviews in marketing
Why Does a Business Need Customer Reviews?
An abundance of online customer reviews means an abundance of opportunities to leverage them in your digital marketing strategy, maximize exposure, and gain access to potential customers through improved search engine rankings and a positive brand image.
Furthermore, the social proof concept often talked about in marketing campaign examples is employed as a testament to this impact of peer opinion. With such a variety of choices, many find the purchasing process to be a stressful and not particularly enjoyable experience.
Being able to see that ordinary consumers, just like them, have tested and lived with a product, goes a long way to alleviating these inconveniences, and gives people the confidence they are making a wise, informed choice.
How Do Customer Reviews Help Marketing?
Having already established that the majority of consumers base their buying choices on positive customer reviews examples, the question arises, how do you incorporate this feedback into a marketing campaign that draws potential customers’ attention to the positive feedback that you’ve received? What is the smart approach to using customer reviews in marketing campaigns?
Reviews hold enormous power over brand reputation, hence persuading satisfied customers to share their experience online, specifically on social media and online review sites, can help businesses devise and build a marketing strategy that creates social proof of the quality of their services and products.
Hence, a thorough marketing review is needed if you don’t already incorporate reviews in your current strategy. Here are several marketing campaign examples that you can draw inspiration from.
7 Ways to Use Customer Reviews in Your Marketing Strategy
Encouraging and actively engaging with online reviews is now not only essential to outline your marketing strategy, it, arguably, more importantly, is the most effective way to establish, maintain and improve your company’s reputation.
1. Maximize visibility on popular consumer review websites
Online review sites have become the main repository of consumer feedback on the full spectrum of commercial enterprises, from restaurants to delivery companies.
Sites like PissedConsumer.com provide a platform for consumers to share their feelings on businesses based on their personal experiences. Review sites have also become the first port of call for customers looking to make an informed purchase based on research.
Have an active account on a review website to benefit from one of the most useful digital marketing tools available. Proactively respond to feedback, positive and negative, and maintain constant engagement with your customers.
Statistics have revealed that 87% of consumers look up online reviews of businesses, and the majority won’t commit their time or money without referencing previous experiences.
Furthermore, circumstances can and do change. If there’s a six-month gap between now and your last visible review, people will ask themselves why that is. Hence, it’s necessary to encourage reviews and maintain a steady inflow to keep them current and up to date.
2. Encourage reviews and make the process of doing so simple
In a recent BrightLocal survey, 8% of consumers questioned stated they are ‘likely’ or ‘highly likely’ to review a business if they feel the business went out of its way to ensure a satisfactory customer experience.
Timing matters here. Wrapping up a customer service interaction that went well is the ideal moment to politely request that the satisfied customer leaves a review.
Emails containing a request for a review sent to your past customer database are an effective marketing tool, as are incentives such as discount codes or vouchers.
Ensure that it’s easy to leave a review. Make links visible and the instructions clear and concise, and focus on building a presence on popular and user-friendly online review sites.
3. Take the questions to the market
Customer interviews can be great marketing tools that let you have an open dialog with a customer in which you can ask what is most important to them, what their expectations are, and, for them, what specifics make one company stand out from the competition.
You can use consumer interviews in marketing campaign strategy also. Publishing an interview that goes in-depth and covers the common questions, as well as pre-empting those that are less frequent, won’t stop people from checking online review sources, but will show that you are conscious of the consumer perspective and acknowledge and legitimize their questions.
4. Use bad reviews as an opportunity to show you are receptive and listening
A poor public review is not a PR disaster or a marketing strategy failure, and by no means should it be swept under the carpet.
Most consumer review platforms enable businesses to respond and follow up on both positive and negative examples of reviews. So, seize this opportunity to make good on your carefully cultivated company image and take the time to acknowledge the criticism, and start a dialog about what you can do to make things right.
Accepting mistakes and showing a genuine willingness to learn from them, incorporating customer feedback as you do so, shows maturity and growth. For the thousands of potential customers that are looking for a reason to go with you over your competitors, or vice versa, a public example of a bad experience turned positive is, without doubt, more valuable than a gleaming five-star testimonial.
5. Spotlight on the positives while recognizing where improvements can be made
Focus on drawing attention to your strengths. One of the main advantages to your business is the varied and detailed product feedback that online reviews provide you with.
Knowing what your company does well is essential when determining what to emphasize in your marketing approach and social media management, yet attention to areas that need extra focus and investment is important also.
Reviews are an excellent ally here. Long-term reviews can highlight possible quality control issues. In contrast, weaknesses in customer service, service delivery, or other processes can be revealed through patterns of similar complaints that pop up frequently.
6. Use reviews as a window into the activity of the competition
Public reviews also allow you to gain useful insights into what your competitors are doing. Are their customers happy? If so, why? If there are complaints, what do they appear to revolve around, and what action is the company taking to address these problems?
These insights can not only help you strategize to avoid making mistakes but also help you determine areas in which to expand or offer new services.
7. Build visibility of your brand and establish a strong reputation
When faced with an unfamiliar brand, consumers will almost certainly Google the name and check customer review websites for background and testimonials. In the absence of such, it’s a given that they will pass you by and resume their search.
The more public reviews you receive, the better potential for a positive impact on your reputation.
The importance of customer-business engagement to the prospects of your company cannot be overstated, and review management is at the forefront of shaping the results.
Online customer reviews prompt direct interaction and dialog between business and customer, an invaluable channel to gain insight into the wants and needs of your market, as well as allowing you to publicly address and resolve complaints, an incredibly effective way to build trust in your business.
Want to start monitoring your customer reviews? You can give it a try at our review platform. Learn more on how to do it here.
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