Quick – when was the last time you looked up reviews for a business? Do you remember why you did it?
Chances are you were unfamiliar with the company in question and wanted to do your research before reaching out. What we’ve just described is the journey most consumers take before interacting with businesses. The internet is a wealth of information that has totally transformed the way consumers and companies interact. And if you’re not playing the game by the right rules, you could be setting yourself up for failure before customers even know what you do.
What is a customer review and why do they matter?
A customer review is a testimonial made by someone who has purchased or used a product or service. Customer reviews are not limited to any single industry. From e-commerce companies to restaurants, customer reviews have become a staple of consumer behavior.
Customer reviews are no longer a nice-to-have for your business. Before your customers even begin their customer journey with your business, they are doing extensive research online. 97% of people read reviews for local businesses and 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
Your customers are leaving reviews, whether or not you’re actively engaging with them — an online reputation management solution can help you identify what’s being said about your brand. And if those reviews are negative it means any potential customers are getting a bad first impression of your business right out of the gate. If your team doesn’t have a strategy for cultivating and leveraging customer reviews, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity.
How can customer reviews help your business?
People trust their peers more than they trust your team. Consumers are tired of being marketed to and are getting better at spotting savvy marketing ploys. This is why customer reviews have become a staple and businesses like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and G2 put such a specific emphasis on customer reviews.
How do these reviews help your business? That’s simple. Your most passionate promoters can become online advocates for your brand through online reviews. Customers are willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews. The math is simple. More positive reviews means more business, more sales pipeline, and more revenue.
Customer reviews can also help your business in times of crisis. When marketing budgets get slashed and leads dry up, it can be difficult to figure out a path forward. Customer reviews are a simple and relatively cheap thing your team can focus on highlighting during times like these. Just a handful of positive reviews about your product can have a significant impact on your business overall.
How to ask your customers to leave reviews for your product
Knowing why customer reviews are important is just the first step, now how do you get your customers to rave about your business? You could sit around and just hope your most passionate supporters will write reviews about your product. But if you’re looking to build a scalable, actionable marketing strategy with customer reviews, it’s going to take some work on your end. In this section, we’re going to cover four ways you can ask your customers to leave reviews.
1. Invest in a review collecting software
If you’re a company with a huge customer base, you might be better off automating your customer review solicitation process. A product review software allows your business to moderate and manage reviews, collect new reviews from customers and offers modules for email follow-ups, review collection widgets, and more. This automates the review process and takes a lot of the trouble off your hands.
There’s a key difference to note between a product review software and online reputation management software. While online reputation management software allows you to manage your online reviews, it doesn’t allow for integration with your e-commerce platform or other marketing software. If you’re specifically looking to collect reviews for your product marketing efforts, you’ll want to invest in a product review software.
2. Incentivize leaving a review
People love free stuff and your customers are no different. If you’re looking for an easy way to encourage your customers to leave reviews, try incentivizing them with things like gift cards, discount codes, and more.
One important thing to note: do not directly ask for positive reviews in these communications. It will look slimy and rub your customers the wrong way. Instead, ask them to leave an honest review based on their experience. This will help you avoid getting reviews that sound fake or forced, which will perform better with your audience (while also providing valuable feedback on what’s working for customers and what could be improved).
3. Ask the customer directly
Do you have a loyal customer that has been using your product successfully for years? Don’t wait for them to leave a review on their own, just ask them! Your most loyal and supportive customers are more than willing to leave a review if it helps your business. Asking your customers for reviews can be as simple as shooting them a quick email with your ask. It’s the most straightforward approach to gathering new reviews.
Be sure to include links to the review sites you want your customers to use in your email. Give them a few options, they might review you more than once! Make it as simple as possible for your customers to tell the world how awesome you are.
3 ways your product marketing team can use customer reviews
Customer reviews are great for inbound marketing, but did you know they can also be used for outbound marketing as well? Once you have a collection of positive reviews, you can use them in things like social media advertising, emails, or even web copy.
Your product team can also use negative reviews to help your company grow. Negative reviews are your chance to find problems customers have with your product and fix them. Let your haters be your motivators by allowing negative reviews to show you where you can improve your product.
1. Product optimization
Negative reviews can often include complaints about how your product or service isn’t working for the user. If you start to notice a pattern in your reviews, you should use that feedback to optimize your product. Meet with your product team and explain the common complaints you’re seeing in reviews. Ask if there’s a way to improve the product to fix these issues. This shows you’re listening to the negative feedback and actively working to make your product better.
2. Gauge your NPS score
If you’re not tracking your NPS score, you should be. NPS measures the quality of the customer experience and the likelihood they would return to your brand. A low NPS score means customers are unhappy with the work you’re doing. NPS can only tell you how people are feeling, your customer reviews will shine light on why. Pairing your NPS score with your customer reviews will give you the full picture of what it’s like to be a customer of your business.
3. Support sales leads
Ultimately, the goal of all of these product marketing efforts is to create a better product that is easier to sell. Customer reviews can help support sales in a number of ways, including stimulating brand awareness, enhancing search engine results, and making it easier for customers to know what your business is about.
Positive customer reviews mean more visibility for your product, which turns into an increased pipeline for your sales team. Even negative reviews can be helpful for BDRs on your team. If they know the common complaints people have about your product, they’ll know how to combat that when closing a deal. Think of all the ways your reviews can support sales and result in better-qualified leads!
Let’s review everything we’ve discussed
Customer reviews, both good and bad, aren’t going anywhere. So, why not make your customer reviews work for you? We hope this guide will help you build your confidence and your review strategy into something incredible!