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From Yelp to the bottom of a page on Amazon, online reviews have made their way to the top of consumers’ minds and list of priorities. Clicking on an item online and immediately scrolling to the bottom of the page to see what other buyers said about the product is almost mandatory. Consumers trust other consumers more than they trust brands these days. Having an online review strategy as a business is crucial for customer retention. It promotes authenticity and sales. Here are some ways to incorporate online reviews into your marketing strategy.
User-generated content (UGC) is the form of digital marketing that encompasses reviews and ratings from customers. Anything that customers create for your brand is UGC. Because trust in brands is almost as important to consumers as quality and value, UGC is crucial. Reviews are important because they can be very descriptive and visual for potential customers. They also can include all the emotions and reactions held by one customer while using your product. Rating scales from one to five stars or from one to 10 are also important because they are quantifiable and can measure experience. Customers want to see feedback through quality and quantity. Ensuring them an opportunity to provide both is important for the success of UGC.
Facebook and Google, for example, offer the chance for customers to provide a rating/review ranging from one to five stars. It’s one thing to receive a good review; it’s quite another to leverage that review for your benefit. Fully integrating these reviews into your social media strategy is essential. Those ratings and reviews should be used on a broad scale (through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media channels that work for you and on which you are active) and you should share them as frequently as you feel is appropriate.
Fortunately, you’ll find that consumers are more often motivated to positive than negative reviews about your product or service. It’s important to cultivate and continue those positive relationships in a timely manner. Send out emails asking for reviews each time customers make a purchase. Amazon sends out emails like these for many of its products. Engage with reviewers to show appreciation and add a human touch. Consumers appreciate being shown that their voice matters. Once you receive a positive review, you can remarket these reviews on your social channels.
Some ways to utilize online reviews of all kinds (yes, even the negative ones) include using filters, features and numbers. Allow users to search keywords so they can see the reviews that will be most helpful in their decision to buy your product. Featuring posts that are the most descriptive and honest about your product make it easier for the customer to understand the breadth of your product. Using data to show the increase in ratings and reviews over the past week helps promote your product. Naturally, items that have been in the market longer will have more reviews. Customers are drawn to products with more reviews. If you show that the number of reviews for your new product is growing, your item will gather more attention, more purchases, and, in turn, more reviews.
When focusing on reviews as part of your marketing strategy, it’s important to be wary of some ethical decisions that could hurt your brand. Never create fake reviews or ratings. It’s unethical and skews the integrity of your product. Do not delete negative reviews. Customers deserve to read everything that has been said about your product. Products with only good reviews can make consumers skeptical. Skeptical consumers are more reluctant to spend money. If you place an incentive on writing reviews, ensure that the customer knows he or she can write whatever she wants about the product and will still receive the incentive. Otherwise, incentivized reviews will be biased and affect other customers’ shopping experiences. In fact, it can be beneficial to address negative reviews directly without lashing out or blaming the reviewer. Consumers tend to respect brands that acknowledge bad reviews and take responsibility for legitimate grievances.
Enacting an effective review strategy is crucial to a brand’s authenticity. Here at BrandStar, we help businesses display trust from consumers by incorporating strategies like these to motivate consumers pleased with their experience to share their thoughts. This motivation ensures product promotion that is easy and cheaper than traditional advertising.