With news breaking this week that UGC and review platform YotPo just received $22m in funding, it seems as though the importance of user-generated reviews for your business are not going to start getting any less important, any time soon. There’s money to be made in user reviews it seems, and not just for the platforms that are helping brands do it.
Now, opinions are like assets – everyone needs them in order to be successful online. So in today’s post, we’ve taken a look at why it’s so important to generate online reviews for your brand, and some clever methods of doing so.
Why it’s so important to generate reviews online
Reviews, if done properly, are the often overlooked silver bullet of the marketing world, and can help you achieve everything from higher rankings and increased sales and conversions, to a beefed-up content stream on your website and social channels.
To start off with, some tidbits for ya Twitter feed:
- 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase decision (source)
- 61% will read product reviews before making any purchase (source)
- 90% of consumers will read online reviews before visiting a business in person (source + a kickarse infographic)
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family (source)
If these stats alone aren’t enough to make you jump out of your desk chair and start pursuing an aggressive review generation strategy, then there’s more. Apart from just influencing purchasing decisions, reviews can help you achieve total online domination, including:
- Potential higher rankings – The results are in – Reviews definitely impact your local SEO. In MOZ’s recent Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up a ‘uuuge 10.3% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results.
- Higher eCommerce conversions – If you sell stuff directly on your website, reviews can help massively with getting people to click on that magic little ‘add to cart’ button. According to recent Forrester & Jupiter Research, products with reviews had a 12.5% higher chance of converting. But wait that’s not all – In the case of reviews, it seems that more is most definitely more. Products with more than 20 reviews had an increase of 83.85% in conversions. Boom.
- Free content – Look, we get it. Creating new, epicly fantastical content every friggin’ day like you should be can be a pain in the arse. So let your users help out. Encouraging users to share reviews, blog posts, and photos of themselves using your product or service is a great way to keep your Instagram feed lit with new photos of your product that you don’t even have to hire a professional photographer to take. One of my favourite online stores, Nourished Life, does this really well on Instagram by sharing their customers’ flatlays of the stuff they bought. More on how to do this shortly.
Where should you get people leaving reviews?
The short answer? You should be aiming to generate reviews anywhere and everywhere you have any kind of an online presence, including:
- On Facebook
- On Google
- Directly on your website
- Instagram (in the form of the selfie endorsement)
- Local directories such as Yelp!, True Local, or if you’re a restaurant, platforms like Zomato.
SO – How to do it?
We’ve gone into the why – now we’ll share some handy tips on the how. You can leave us a positive review later.
Use a review tool or plugin for your site
If you want to start adding reviews to your eCommerce products online, the good news is, you shouldn’t need to carry out any drastic site redesigns to do it. There are a number of plugins and tools which should let you do this fairly easily. The aforementioned YotPo is one option, as is Bazaarvoice. Check to see what specific plugins are available for the ecommerce platform you’re using.
Incentivise people to leave a review
This doesn’t mean offering people a discount or free product directly in return for reviewing you. What you can do though is offer a monthly prize draw, which those who leave a review are automatically entered into.
Source: The Body Shop Australia
Make it super easy for people to review you on Google
Use the Supple Google Business review link generator to generate direct review links to your Google product pages, as well as QR codes that you can print out which take mobile users directly to where they can leave their words of praise. These links and codes can then be shared via email, social media messages, in your Instagram bio, on your business cards, tattooed onto your forehead, etc.
Feature your customers’ and users’ photos on social media
Again, Instagram works particularly well for this, as in the aforementioned example of Nourished Life, especially if you already have a relatively large social following. People on social media are generally vain enough that if they think there’s a chance you’ll re-post their photo for your thousands of followers to see, they’ll gladly snap pics of themselves using/wearing/eating/drinking your product and tag your brand in their description.
Incentivise your staff members to get the most reviews
If your business has physical store locations, hold a monthly competition amongst your store managers and employees to see which store location can get the most positive reviews every month. Staff can politely ask their customers for reviews as they leave, or placing aforementioned printed QR codes on instore posters, or in little business cards you can drop into their shopping bag. Best performing store each month wins a prize.
Mad Mex has QR codes in their stores to make it easy for customers to recommend and review them.
We have a client who has a sophisticated email autoresponder sequence set up which gets sent to every client after making a purchase. The email asks them to fill in a review survey, telling the company how they did. Great right? Well, to a point – Apart from giving them the serious warm and fuzzies every time they got a glowing review from one of their customers, and collating the feedback and recommendations to make decisions on how to improve their service, afterwards that great review would become about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, because they weren’t getting published anywhere. So here’s what they did:
- Copied and pasted the customer’s great review into an email, along with a direct link to their Google review page
- Emailed it back to the customer asking if they would take a couple of minutes to copy and paste their great review into the company’s Google Business page
- Basked in the glory of generating 8 reviews in a single week – and counting
A few parting tips on reviews
- Know how you’re going to respond to negative reviews – It may happen from time to time. What’s most important is that you have a negative reviews strategy to deal with them swiftly, and that you never delete negative reviews (unless they’re downright slanderous, racist, sexist, or homophobic). Consistently getting more negative reviews than positives? Then we suggest you take a long hard look at your business, your products and services, and fix what’s wrong with them first.
- Set up Google Alerts for your business name – If you think you may be mentioned somewhere online other than on the platforms you have control and constant visibility over, set up Google Alerts to monitor brand mentions, so that you can actively respond to all comments about you online.