Making Customer Reviews a Priority and Part of Your Marketing Battleplan

Customer Reviews Increase Conversions!

We know that reviews are an important and featured piece of information, right? And we know that they can have a dramatic effect on conversion rates, right? Yes, we do and here’s how.

In July 2009, the Nielson company conducted a study of  25,000 consumers in 50 countries. Ninety percent of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.

chart showing where people trust business reviews

70 percent is enough for me to highly recommend making customer reviews a priority in your marketing strategy.

In addition, I stand by my early suspicion that reviews play a roll in the Google Places algorithm. Although not formally confirmed by Google, I’ve seen reviews (or lack thereof) be one of the deciding factors.

So, how do you score a highly sought after customer review? Let’s hope it’s not by upsetting your client so badly that they vow to voice their dissatisfaction on every social networking site available.

Let me rephrase. How do you score a highly sought after, GLOWING customer review? Here are several possible motivators:

  • Feedback Button on Website – Encourage customers/clients to give an evaluation of your service or product by having a Feedback Button right on your website.  This button can be named as “Suggestions”, “Praise”, “Reviews”, “Testimonials”, “Feedback” or any other appealing or descriptive label.  This enables you to gather possible testimonials for use on your site quickly and easily.
  • Incentives – Many of my clients utilize this method in an effort to entice customers to write a review.  Consider offering coupons / discounts or entering the customer in a contest to win a prize.
  • Email Invitation – Provide your customers with a post-purchase reminder to write about their experience. The easiest way to do this is with an automated e-mail that asks customers for a review. Make this part of the order process! First they get an order confirmation, then a shipping confirmation, then a review request. Or for travel related businesses, first they get a reservation confirmation, then upon their departure, they receive a “thank you” email that includes a review request.

So what about negative reviews? I’d say that for most of us, a negative review will occur at some point because “you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. My recommendation in this regard is to respond, and respond immediately. Ignoring a negative review would be foolish. Use the negative comment to locate problems and fix them. A little constructive criticism can go a long way in improving your product or service. I also think people respond well to honesty and humility. So, keep your responses humble and gracious and you will be forgiven quicker than if you respond in a defensive manner.

I hope this convinces you that customer reviews are necessary and helpful in any Internet Marketing strategy. Good luck!

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