Have you made the wise decision to start collecting reviews for your business? Great! Now it's time to make sure you get the most out of your investment by creating a Customer Review Strategy that works. Today, we're showing you how.
Your Review Strategy should be formed of three main parts: Collection, Management and Publishing. We're going to look at these individually to help you develop an appropriate strategy for each.
Review collection is the act of collecting customer feedback. Whilst setting up a platform to collect reviews on is a great start, it's merely the beginning. In order to maximise your collection rates, you'll want to consider where and how to collect reviews.
Where to collect
Deciding where to collect your online reviews should be the first thing any company does when creating a Customer Review Strategy.
Well, all businesses are different, with different target audiences who have different needs, habits and interests. Choosing where to collect is key in connecting with them and encouraging them to review you.
Whilst we usually recommend collecting on more than one review site, not all of them will be appropriate - or necessary - for your business. Keep your target audience and the nature of your business in mind when choosing which of the popular review sites in the list below to collect on.
It's easy to collect on Google. In fact, anyone can review your business on Google right now using Google Customer Reviews without you having to do a single thing. We recommend all companies actively collect on Google, as it's the biggest search engine in the world and most people's first port of call for everything from jeans to cars.
TripAdvisor is predominantly for local businesses. If you're a restaurant, activity centre or similar, it's a good idea to be active on this platform. Complete with app and map, it's a popular place for customers to both read and leave reviews about local businesses.
An estimated 2.7 billion people use Facebook. Whilst it began as a way to keep in touch with friends, it's now become more business-orientated, with many businesses active on the platform. As your Business' Facebook page is likely to show in the Search Results when customers are looking for you, we'd recommend most businesses to collect reviews here too.
Yelp & Yell
It's free to claim your business profile on platforms such as Reviews.io and Trustpilot. Big review sites such as these are places customers often come to look for reviews about eCommerce sites, travel agents, insurance companies and more. If you're a larger company that doesn't just operate locally, we'd highly recommend collecting on one of the platforms. They come with many other benefits that will help you to manage your reputation later on.
If you sell products on Amazon, it goes without saying that you should also be collecting reviews for them. Product reviews help to build trust and confidence for customers and boost sales.
The Reviews.io Reputation Management feature allows you to
How to collect reviews
Once you've decided where you should be collecting reviews, it's time for the next part of your review collection strategy: how are you going to do it?
Organically Providing people are aware of your business, it's almost guaranteed that you will receive some reviews on your profiles and pages on the sites above. However, it's worth noting that when left to their own devices, customers can be relatively passive when it comes to leaving reviews.
Organic reviews - especially for small businesses - will be slow to trickle in and are usually more likely to be negative than positive.
Ask on social media
Being proactive about review collection will yield much greater results. Simply asking your customers to leave you some feedback is often all the encouragement they need.
One of the easiest and cost-friendly ways of doing this is on social media. If you have lots of Facebook fans, why not schedule a post in asking them to leave you a review?
The people that follow you on social media are likely to already be big fans of your business, and therefore a great gateway to some fantastic reviews.
Whilst it may be free to request reviews on social media, it's definitely not the most reliable of methods. For one, social media algorithms make it difficult to get your post in front of everyone.
If you want your Customer Review Strategy to yield good results, we'd always recommend collecting reviews using invitations. This is because invitations get your request right in front of the customer and also enable you to contact multiple people at once.
Not only does it save time, but review invitations dramatically increases the chance of you being left a review.
But it's not as simple as sending an email to every customer you receive - there is still more to consider. In order to create a Customer Review Strategy that's in line with your target audience, you may choose to send requests via Email, SMS or perhaps even by asking in-store. How do you do this we hear you ask? Sign up with a review partner such as Reviews.io and we'll be able to automate your review invitations so that every customer receives one. We'll even be able to send them to past customers using our 'Review Booster'.
Whatever method you choose, you should make a concerted effort to make your review invitations as easy to fill out as possible. Our in-email forms mean customers can review you in the body of the email itself, without having to go to your review collection page.
You'll also want to make sure your brand is accurately represented, by using colours, logos and imagery that your customers will instantly recognise.
Using a Google Licensed Review Partner
We've already touched on using a Review Partner such as Reviews.io as part of your Customer Review Strategy, but we wanted to expand on this as it's arguably the most important decision you'll make.
Using a Google Licensed Review Partner is the only way to get Seller Ratings on Google (these are the stars that appear alongside Google ads). Seller Ratings increase conversions by an average of 17%, so they're not to be underestimated! Along with Seller Ratings, they provide you with indispensable tools to really take control of your online reputation and maximise the benefits of collecting reviews.
What type of reviews to collect
Whilst reviews may often look the same in Google, there are actually various different types you can collect. Some business need only collect Company Reviews, whereas others may profit from Product Reviews which incorporate photos.
Company Reviews provide an overview of your business' performance. They usually contain information such as delivery times, ease of ordering, levels of communication and the like.
We encourage all businesses to collect Company Reviews. They'll get you the most visibility across the web and provide a broad enough insight into your business performance to be useful for the majority of potential customers.
Product Reviews are more specific. They contain information such as sizing, quality, durability and colour accuracy. They can be extremely valuable for other shoppers as they give a first-hand description of the product, helping customers to make more informed decisions and achieve higher levels of post-purchase satisfaction.
It's why we recommend all eCommerce sites to include Product Reviews in their customer Review Strategy. They're best placed on product pages themselves to give extra information and get customers over hurdles. They can be also beneficial for services/experiences such as specific massage treatments or perhaps even paintballing packages.
Written reviews are nice, but a bit of imagery can really bring customer feedback to life. Photo Reviews have long been seen in the hospitality industry, and are now becoming prevalent elsewhere as consumers turn to user-generated content in order to build trust and confidence before they buy. Photo Reviews are an excellent way of proving you deliver on your promises, by enabling customers toshowcase images of the services/products they've received from you. We'd encourage you to start collecting photo reviews if you want to make your product pages more compelling.
Don't stop yet - we've only just begun. Whilst review collection is arguably the most difficult part of your Customer Review Strategy, learning to manage those reviews correctly can bring some amazing benefits.
Reviews aren't just about improving your online reputation - they can tell you so much about your business. It's why we recommend building reviews into your business' sales aftercare to ensure that no review goes unread.
There are some [surprising benefits of negative reviews](benefits of negative reviews), as they can highlight your business' pain points and help you to keep improving - without these customer insights, issues may go unidentified.
Our In-Depth Statistics make review analysis easy - we highlight the most popular words used in both the negative and positive reviews you receiev to pin point aread you're doing great it, and others that could do with some attention.
Responding to reviews
A review is an opportunity to start a conversation, and we recommend you take it!
In its most basic form, review responses show customers their feedback has - at the very least - been acknowledged. But learning how to respond to positive and negative reviews is essential in turning frowns upside down and leaving a lasting impression on your customers. Ensure all employees that deal with reviews are trained up on this before letting them loose - a hostile reply could really harm your reputation.
We recommend replying to all of your negative reviews and some positive ones too, just be cautious of replying to them all. Revenue may decrease if a business starts responding to more than 40% of its reviews.
The last step of your Customer Review Strategy to nail down is Review Publishing - this is where and how you choose to publish your reviews.
When it comes to making the most of your reviews, working with a Review Platform such as Reviews.io will give you the most control and flexibility. Without a Review Platform, your publishing options will be limited and require more manual labour, but that's not to say it can't still be fruitful.
Publishing to third-party sites
We always recommend nurturing your reputation across the web. Often, customers won't just look at one site for an overview of your reputation, but head to several for reassurance. A quick Google search is also likely to bring up several listing for your business across various sites, each with their own star rating - it's important that these are consistent.
Here at Reviews.io, our Reputation Management tool means you can point a percentage of your review invitations to different sites, making it easy to build a consistent reputation across all sites. We can do this on third-party sites such as Facebook, Google My Business, Tripadvisor and many more.
Using reviews in your online marketing
Showcasing reviews has so many benefits. Not only will they boost your online reputation and build trust, but reviews encourage more reviews - it's a chain reaction. Displaying them at as many customer touchpoints as possible is a sure-fire way to build confidence in customers and increase conversions.
The best review strategies showcase reviews far and wide online. Try sharing them in the following places to reap as much value as you can from them.
On your social pages
Wherever your customers go, your reviews should follow! Posting some of your favourite reviews to your social feeds such as Twitter and Facebook is a great way to remind your customers of the brilliant services and products you offer, and also encourage them to leave a review of their own.
Consumers spend an enormous amount of time scrolling through social media - the average is 2 hours 22 minutes a day! - so it's essential to be connecting with them on these platforms.
At Reviews.io, it's really easy to share your reviews at the click of a button. We can automate your reviews so that they get shared on your Twitter, and create nice images for you to use on your Facebook channels too, turning every great review into free marketing for your brand.
In your email signature
Adding your review badge onto your email signature is another easy way to showcase your reputation to customers and clients you're dealing with. It will give every message you send more authority and also increase engagement (and clicks to your site!)
This is another feature that Reviews.io offers.
On your website
Of course, the most obvious place to showcase reviews is on your website. If you're collecting reviews, they should undoubtedly feature here.
The industry you operate in is likely to dictate the type of reviews you're best to feature and the best format to feature them in. For eCommerce businesses, we'd usually recommend displaying both company, product and photo reviews, alongside things such as Q&A to give customers as much reassurance as possible. For a service-based business, such as lawyers, subtle and professional looking review badges are often adequate.
When choosing which review to place where, it's important to carefully consider the buyer journey in order to connect with your customers at multiple touchpoints to encourage them to convert.
Featuring review stars in your ads can seriously increase their effectiveness. Google Seller Ratings alone will improve the conversion rate of your Google Ads by an amazing 17%.
Whether you're paying for ads on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google, make sure to maximise their effectiveness by partnering them with the excellent feedback you've collected - they'll make every penny you spend more worthwhile.
Using reviews in offline media
Just because you're collecting reviews online, it doesn't mean that's where they have to stay. There are a whole variety of ways you can use reviews in your offline marketing strategy too. Consider using them:
On leaflets & business cards
If you're sending out leaflets for your services in the post or perhaps giving out small business cards, be sure to add your reviews. Consumers receive a lot of 'junk' mail so it's important to make your own advertising distinguishable. Stars give instant authority and are less likely to end up in the bin than those leaflets without.
You've paid to get your brand up for one and all to see - make it even more compelling with reviews. Customers are becoming increasingly immune to traditional marketing, so it's essential to keep evolving and do all you can to make your brand stand out.
Simply adding reviews to your billboards will give customers more information - they now know that your products are as good as they look, and your service as good as you say it is, making them more likely to remember the billboard and head to your site/store.
In your window displays
Don't forget to lure customers in to see you by getting reviews in your window displays. This is particularly effective for businesses like Travel Agents, where customer service is often a pain point for consumers.
No two businesses are the same, and no review strategy should be either. The type of industry you operate in, your target customers and the resources available to you (financially and human resources) should be taken into consideration when deciding how to collect, manage and publish.
What's more, don't forget to evolve as you grow! Reviews can be an integral part of the continual improvement of your business and are just as important to nurture as other operations. With Reviews.io, it's easy to start for free and upgrade as you grow. Discover how we can help you put your review strategy into action here.