How to Turn Online Reviews into Powerful PR Tools
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Have you made a purchase with an assistance of online reviews? Chances are that you have, and thousands of other people rely on them, too. Thus, for business owners, they represent a great opportunity for PR.
What can be done to take advantage of this opportunity? Let’s find out.
Let’s begin with a simple demonstration of the potential of online reviews. Imagine a situation: your job has you relocating to Boston, Massachusetts. You bought a nice home there for you and your family, but the lawn is far from perfect.
Something needs to be done about that lawn but you’re super busy with moving and adapting to a new city. So, to resolve this problem, you turn to Google and type “lawn renovation Boston MA” in the search bar.
Here’s what the search returned. Obviously, there are many companies providing these services, so you’ll have to choose one. Who do you call first?
Most people would choose Lawn Doctor of Boston. Why? Well, it’s simple: they have a 4.7-star rating based on many reviews. The other businesses on the list clearly cannot compete with that, so they don’t appear as credible as Lawn Doctor of Boston.
This simple experiment shows that online reviews play a critically important role for businesses these days. A wide range of marketing surveys and studies back up this claim; for example, the 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey found the following:
- 85 percent of online customers say they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family
- 49 percent of online customers say they need at least a 4-star rating to choose a business
- 30 percent say that if a business responds to online reviews, their perception of it will more likely to be positive.
As you can see, online reviews are important for online businesses than ever before. To get ahead of the competition, you absolutely have to get as many reviews as you can and use them to showcase how trustworthy and great your business really is.
Let’s see how it’s done.
How to Get Positive Online Reviews
If you want online reviews to work for you, the first thing you have to do is ask for them. Of course, this implies that you’re asking for positive reviews.
Unfortunately, many online customers don’t leave reviews unless prompted or asked, but many businesses choose not to ask because they think it’s a bit awkward.
Well, yeah, but if you ask properly, no one will feel awkward.
And that’s what you’re about to learn right now.
Ask Them Directly Using Email
A perfect time to ask directly is shortly after the customer has made a purchase. But instead of simply asking to leave a review, try something like this:
Thank you for your purchase! Can you please share your experience with our business on Yelp [social media page of your business, your website etc.]? We promise it’ll take less than 30 seconds!
Why this message is good:
- “Experience” is more neutral than “review”
- It estimates the time needed to leave a review which is important since customers don’t generally want to spend a lot of time writing reviews
- It uses a simple, conversational language and comes from a real person.
Make it Easy to Leave Reviews
The easier you’ll make it for your customers to leave reviews, the more of them will actually do it. Here’s what you can do to get as many reviews as you can:
- Avoid asking for information you don’t really need (address, gender, age etc.)
- Don’t ask more than 3 questions
- Use rating scales instead of asking to write a review in words, which takes longer.
Now let’s suppose that you’ve got a bunch of reviews. It’s time to turn them into powerful PR tools! Here’s how.
- Proudly Display Reviews at a Prominent Spot on Your Website
Since online reviews have that much power over people, featuring them on your website at prominent spots is definitely a good idea. This way, they’ll be one of the first things the visitors see when they land there, so you’ll have a better chance to lure them to purchase your products.
Let’s see how Best Buy does it.
This selection of popular products is featured on the homepage. Each of them has a great rating marked by a bright yellow color, so it’s impossible not to notice it.
A clothing brand Ugmonk is another great example who uses another approach to increasing credibility of reviews: showing only reviews of people who actually bought their products:
But you can do it even better by following these tips:
- Feature the name and a photo of the customer who left the review (don’t forget to ask their permission!) to improve credibility
- Let people know who is a real buyer
- Create an entire page dedicated to great testimonials
- Share Positive Reviews on Social Media
Establishing and maintaining social media presence is critical for every company. Since a lot of your customers spend a lot of time there, it’s a good idea to let them know how awesome your business is.
Besides, the 2016 DigitasLBi’s Connected Commerce Report found that Facebook influenced 52 percent of online customers’ online and offline purchases, so it definitely has the power to influence the minds of your customers as well.
“Collect and share positive customer reviews on Facebook and other social media platforms you’re using. They will help you find new customers in a very genuine way” – says Frank F. Nix, marketing specialist an A-writer. Here are some examples of how other businesses do it.
Although rather succinct, this review can greatly influence purchasing decisions of other people because the review comes from a real person.
Next post provides a more detailed review, which may be more useful for customers who want more information on the experience that they can get from your business.
Reviews like these can greatly improve social media image of your business, so don’t hesitate to share a positive review.
- Use Reviews in Email Marketing
Email marketing is a serious promotion tool that remains incredibly effective. According to Year in Review report from Campaign Monitor, the average return for email marketing in 2017 was $44 for every $1 spent. Clearly, taking advantage of this marketing method is a good idea.
This requires you to send a lot of emails, but don’t worry: there are free automation tools like Mail Chimp to provide an email marketing assignment help for you.
Besides, online reviews can help to improve its effectiveness.
Here’s an example of an email from a British insurance company Aviva that features well-added reviews.
- Respond to Reviews
This is a critical part of leveraging the power of online reviews because if you ignore them (especially negative ones), the viewers can perceive your business as indifferent to the opinions of customers.
In other words, being lazy in this situation can cost you a lot. Besides, it’s not like writing college papers, so it won’t take a lot of time off your schedule. You can always use such tools as Prowritingpartner, Proessaywriting or College Papers if you have some struggles.
This is something that should avoid at all cost, so here’s how you can respond to reviews in a proper way.
Let’s begin with positive ones. In the example below, a user gave a 5-star rating to an Italian restaurant and thanked them for a great celebration of her 50th birthday.
Clearly, not responding to such an incredible review would be a crime!
Here’s what the responder did to ensure a good response:
- Loved the review
- Wrote a short but meaningful answer that thanked the reviewer and encouraged to come back.
Now, let’s see how to deal with negative reviews. Responding to them in a proper way is just as important because 53 percent of online customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week, according to 2018 ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey.
The same source also revealed that only 63 percent of online customers received a response to their negative reviews. Well, it’s safe to assume that the businesses that failed to respond were never contained again.
This response rate is simply unacceptable.
This means that your business should be better and don’t ignore opinions of those who have chosen to buy from you.
So, here’s how to respond to negative reviews, courtesy of a popular NYC-based restaurant Vapiano.
Why it’s good?
- The business actually responded (this is important because many businesses choose to ignore negative reviews)
- They offered to help with resolving the issue (and they did it publicly, which demonstrates a commitment to improving customers’ experience).
The power of online reviews should not be underestimated because they greatly influence purchasing decisions of online customers. It’s simple: telling people that your business is the best won’t compel anyone to buy from you, but hearing the same message from fellow customers surely can.
Use these tips to get as many positive reviews as you can and make your business an obvious choice among others!