What are people saying about you online?
Do they talk about your products? Recommend your services? Mention a personal connection with someone in your business?
Reviews matter. According to an article in Inc, 91 percent of people read online reviews, and 84 percent consider an online review as valuable as a personal recommendation. And they make these opinions quickly, with 68 percent taking action after reading only one to six reviews.
For many business owners, positive reviews are chance. They like it when they show up, but they do little to attract them. In some cases, business owners don’t even know they exist.
It’s only when a negative review pops up that they consider action.
But what if you focused on the positive reviews long before negatives ever show up? The benefits of responding to positive reviews include:
• You can carefully craft your responses to build a deeper relationship with the one who left a review
• You can use that conversation to build trust with potential customers reading the review
• You can increase how visible you are in the online world
Reviews matter. The more you gain, the higher you’ll rise on many of the sites where reviews are published. And that means a healthier bottom line.
How do you build a strategy that includes getting more positive reviews?
Start by asking
Reviews don’t just happen by accident. Negative reviews are often published out of frustration. But when a person is happy and satisfied, life moves on. They may enjoy working with you, but they have little incentive to search out a place to review what you do.
Make it easy for them.
By adding reviews online, you’ll create happier customers. You’ll also increase your chances for better search engine optimization, especially for localized search.
The best way to get positive reviews is to choose where you want them placed. Think beyond Yelp. Google is also a great place to add reviews. If you have specific places that are optimized for your industry or business, use them too.
Then ask. Make it easy. Send them a link and ask them if they would be willing to offer a review. Add it to your newsletters. Or even add links directly to your site.
And as they come, be sure you engage with your customers after they leave a review. They might not leave keywords, but you can as you respond. You can boost your visibility and your SEO simply by responding with words that matter to you: your company name, location, keywords, industry.
By adding and growing your positive review base, it can far outweigh a negative review that may pop up from time to time.
Make your responses personal
Some reviewers will leave short little notes. Others will take time to write out a thoughtful response. Some might even make suggestions.
Respond to each reviewer with something that shows you are listening, and that you care.
Skip the quick “thanks”. Instead, personalize it by adding the reviewer’s name, mention something specific about the experience without revealing something they might not want displayed. Answer questions or respond to feedback letting them know you’re listening.
Don’t make your responses feel robotic – they should never feel “copy/paste”. This is a part of your marketing, so putting time and effort into your words can have a major impact.
Match their tone as well. If they are enthusiastic, give them the same energy back. They’ll be equally as excited that you care about what they think. And when it comes to making another purchase, you can be sure they think of you.
Why positive reviews make your business grow
When an online visitor reads a positive review, it triggers emotional connection. Human nature dictates that we want to follow a happy crowd. If someone liked a product or service, there’s a greater chance we will too. It confirms what we already had in mind.
When someone has an emotional connection to you, they are more likely to recommend you to their friends. They are more likely to repurchase from you again. They are less likely to shop around. And they are less price sensitive even if they find another resource with a better price.
Reviews work because they tell what might not have been revealed in your website content. It often gets into the feeling rather than the benefits or features. It’s hard to write how you hope a customer will feel in your write-up. But when a customer takes note and makes that a part of your review, you can highlight it in your response. “We’re glad you noticed! We take pride in making you feel the way you did.”
Here’s where you can also add branded terminology if you have it in place. Have a trademarked keyword? Have a special process you refer to in a certain way? Add that to your response. It will increase the likelihood of it coming up again in search rankings.
Plus most humans are conditioned to speak up when others are talking too. While one might be “afraid” to leave a first comment, once you have one in place it targets others to leave one too.
Studies show that if you market with reviews, people are conditioned into thinking about leaving their own. It makes it a more natural process if a review is what sold them on you in the first place.
So what is your review strategy? Do you leave getting reviews from your customer base to chance? Or are you actively reaching out and gaining reviews to promote awareness of your products and services further?
Positive reviews can make a big difference to your business. But it’s up to you how well it fits into your business strategy. Is now the time you take charge of your positive reviews?