By allowing consumers to leave reviews on open platforms without any sort of filter or monitoring system, brands and businesses have given them incredible power. In a world of social media reviews, brands no longer control the narrative. Customers can say whatever they want without fear of repercussion or censor.
For business owners, this can be slightly terrifying. But for online marketing companies?
This is an opportunity.
They might not be the typical online marketing elements you’re used to hearing—like keywords and SEO and mobile optimization—but user reviews can be used in online marketing campaigns. In fact, if fully utilized, they can boost brand recognition and improve sales.
Here are three ways.
Incentives = Encourage More Sales
A lot of online marketing companies recommend giving customers incentives to leave a review.
Now, some business owners may not be open to this idea. More often than not, they’re worried that it’ll make them seem “desperate” for reviews. However, once you’re more familiar with the world of online marketing, you’ll see that this practice is actually quite common.
Because people value their time. Most won’t bother taking two to three minutes out of their day to leave a review unless they feel very strongly about a product. Just liking it isn’t enough. It’s easy enough to leave a rating—just click a star. But a review takes time.
This is why marketing companies encourage giving incentives. Aside from the fact that a discount code, a coupon, or a free sample is enough motivation for most people to leave a review, it can also encourage more sales.
You own an online clothing store. For every verified review, a customer gets 3% off of their next purchase, for a maximum of five reviews. The reviewer is then encouraged to purchase something else because it would be a waste to not use that 3% to 15% discount.
You own a café. For every verified review on your social media pages, a customer gets a free coffee or pastry. Someone who’s only tried your coffee might use this opportunity to get a free taste of your pastries. The best-case scenario? They end up loving it and ordering it all the time.
Visible Reviews = Positive Influence on Buying Decisions
If you love online shopping, you might have noticed that almost every e-commerce website places the ratings and reviews right on the product page.
Here’s the typical layout, right? You have a picture of the product. Next to it or underneath it is the product’s name, description, and visual star rating. Further along on the same page, you have reviews written by verified consumers.
Why is that?
Because any digital marketing company knows how strongly honest, legitimate reviews can affect a prospective customer’s buying decision. As a society naturally driven to follow the crowd, the prospect is likely going to buy the product if he/she can see—immediately—that 300 people other people liked it.
Likewise, the prospect is likely going to click away if they immediately see that 300 other people didn’t like it.
Basically, by leaving the reviews right on the product page, online marketing companies can use them to positively sway potential consumers.
Positive Reviews = Positive Ranking
Any SEO marketing company will bank on user reviews to boost their client’s SERP (search engine results page) rank.
When a user searches for a general product that he/she is interested in—like “shampoo for dandruff” or “best moisturizer for oily skin”—Google’s algorithm will return products that come highly recommended.
In other words, the products with the most positive reviews.
Remember; Google’s algorithm works to give the best user experience. And, logically, it makes sense. If a product has too many negative reviews, why would Google recommend it?
Consumer reviews can either be extremely beneficial or extremely damaging to your business. However, most (if not all) online marketing companies will tell you that you need them, regardless. Reviews lend a level of validity and credibility that you can’t get through any other means. And as a business owner, you know how important credibility is in this digital age.