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No matter how good you think your brand, products, and services are, it is what the customers think that is the most important thing. These days a lot of people will make a purchase based solely on the number of positive reviews that a company or product has.

Online reviews provide social proof. Persuasive copywriting will certainly help to make create sales or encourage people to opt into your email list but social proof usually makes the real difference. In this article, we will explain how positive online reviews can build trust for your business and how you can get more of them.

Online Reviews Sell

If you are comparing two similar products on an ecommerce website and one product has no reviews and the other has hundreds of positive reviews which product are you more likely to purchase? Of course, you will go for the product that has the reviews. Your customers think like this too, after all, your customers are thinking about themselves, they are not thinking about your well-being, and we understand this.

  • Social proof – online reviews provide the proof that potential customers are looking for that what you are offering is a good investment
  • They are not the first – very few people want to be the first to purchase a product. Online reviews make them feel comfortable as others have bought before them
  • More reviews equal more sales – the more positive reviews that you have the more likely you are to make a lot of sales

You will get more attention with Positive Online Reviews

It is in your interest to increase the visibility of your brand wherever you can. If your website has a lot of positive reviews then it is far more likely to rank higher in search engines such as Bing and Google.

Online Reviews build Trust

If potential customers are seeing a continuous stream of online reviews on your website then there is a much greater probability that they will trust your brand and what you offer. Of course, if all of your reviews are poor then this will have the opposite effect. People are skeptical of businesses that have all 5-star reviews as well.

A search engine will treat every online review as new content. The algorithms for search engines look for this, and if you have a website where there are always new reviews added then higher rankings should follow. Visitors will view your website as more as an authority when you rank high in the search engines.

In 2017 there was a survey conducted by Bright Local asking people what the minimum online rating was for them to consider doing business with a company. The results were very interesting:

  • 1 out of 5-star rating – in 2017 only 4% of those surveyed said they would do business. In 2015 this was 13%
  • 2 out of 5-star rating – in 2017 8% said they would do business which is a drop from 14% in 2015
  • 3 out of 5-star rating – in 2017 39% felt comfortable doing business which is a drop from 45% in 2015
  • 4 out of 5-star rating – this was again 39% in 2017 and was an increase over the 2015 figure of 20%
  • 5 out of 5-star rating – this was 9% in 2017 and was at 8% for the two previous years

What does this tell you? Well in general people do not expect a business to be perfect. The sweet spot from this survey is between 3 and 4 stars. So getting the odd bad review is not going to destroy your overall credibility.

You get Essential Feedback from Online Reviews

No business, product or service is perfect. Your customers should be encouraged to provide you with totally honest feedback both good and bad. When you have reviews like this then people will trust your brand more. Honest reviews help you to:

  • Identify what you are really doing well
  • Identify what you are not doing so well
  • Highlight problems with products and services which you can fix
  • Show that you are a trustworthy business that responds to the views of your customers

How to get more Online Reviews for your Business

The best way to get more online reviews for your business is to ask for them. Some people will leave a review as a matter of course but most people require a little gentle persuasion. When you are asking for reviews you need to consider the following:

Asking at the Right time

Timing is very important when you are asking your customers for a review. If you leave it too late then the likelihood of you receiving a review will go way down. People that purchased something from you weeks ago, or even days ago, will be the least responsive.

You need to hit your customers with a review request when their excitement of what you have provided is at its peak. So ask for a review:

  • Immediately after the customer has purchased your product or service
  • As soon as the customer has used your product or service
  • Straight after the customer has benefited from using your product or service

The last one of these timings can be difficult to gauge. Some people will use products and services immediately while others will take a day or two. You need to test this to see what works best. Take a look at how your competitors handle this too.

Ask for a Review in the correct way

You need to use the right approach when asking a customer for a review. If you get this wrong then you will reduce your chances significantly. A good approach is to just ask the customer outright to provide a review if they liked what you provided. Make your request personal and don’t use templates.

There are a number of ways that you can contact customers to request a review:

  • Send an email
  • Call them on the phone
  • Send a text message
  • Use a push notification
  • Ask them in person (if you operate a restaurant for example)

If you have a lot of customers then look at ways that you can automate the process of asking for reviews. There are tools available to help you with this.

Give your Customers a choice

Although it is good to have reviews on your website it is likely that you will benefit from having positive reviews on a number of other websites too. You can set up a specific page for reviews where your customer can choose where to leave them. Here are some suggestions for external website reviews:

  • Google My Business
  • Facebook Reviews
  • Yelp and other business directories
  • Amazon

If you are in the travel or hotel business then you can ask customers to write you a review on Trip Advisor for example. Restaurant owners can ask for Zomato reviews. Find out which review websites are the most relevant for your business.

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