If you are a film buff, you probably remember the Chicago critic duo of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert who essentially birthed modern movie reviews in the 1970s. If not, there’s a good chance you’ve at least come across their iconic “thumbs-up, thumbs-down” rating system at some point in time. Siskel and Ebert’s “thumbs-up, thumbs down” rating system eventually became the gold standard for movie reviews in the 1990s. People respected their meticulously detailed and unbiased opinions of movies — which could make or break them at the box office. In the digital age, consumers have become Siskel and Ebert of everything. It’s consumers that make or break a product or service offered by a particular business and it’s up to content marketers to understand how to harness those customer reviews in a beneficial way.
A conversion may mean different things to you depending on your business KPIs: contact form submissions, product purchases, phone calls, or even appointment bookings. That said, customer reviews can instill an immediate sense of trust that pushes prospects to convert with more reliability than any other piece of content.
Leveraging Credible Reviewers
Here’s a little food for thought: 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That is a staggering number, especially when you consider these reviews aren’t even coming from people they necessarily know and trust in real life. The sheer optics of a review being tied to a Google or Facebook is enough to make it appear credible.
Why not use some of those customer reviews to your advantage? Displaying reviews can increase conversions by up to 270%. Consumers want to know a product or service has been battle-tested, so to speak, and it’s up to you to show them that it’s not only satisfying other consumers — it’s solving issues other people have experienced as well.
What better way to show that then by embedding these customer reviews directly onto your site? Better yet, you can even embed them on landing pages that generate the most conversions or traffic to boost those numbers even higher. This practice can give consumers who are on the fence that extra push they may need to pursue a particular call to action.
Quality and Quantity Matter with Reviews
If a random person on the street came up to you and told you Chipotle was terrible but couldn’t actually articulate why — you might still grab that chicken burrito bowl for lunch.
The same principle applies to customer reviews. They are not all built equal nor should they be treated as such. If someone leaves a 1-star review on Google with no words or an “it sucks” then you really have no insight into what the issue was. On the flip side, if you embed a 5-star review from Google onto your site or landing page with zero context, that’s also a flop on your end as well.
The hallmark of any great reviewer is a balance between quality and quantity. Someone with a credible reviewer profile usually includes: a mix of positive and negative reviews; descriptions of product or service use; comparing that product or service with other competitors on the market.
By the same token, a reviewer profile can’t simply include one well-crafted review for your product or service either. This will make the entire profile appear like it was created for the sole purpose of leaving a positive review for your service or product — even though that might not be the case at all.
The very best customer reviews come from users who have a balance of quality and quantity. As a content marketer, your goal needs to be identifying those reviews that come from credible sources. Get to know the reviewer community and find the people who are top-rated reviewers who already have some clout in the online community they’re part of.
Repackage Reviews on Social Media
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, condensing your reviews into digestible bites of information can be an especially powerful conversion tool on social media. Not only do they provide users with interesting insights into your product or service, but it also gets users to engage with your company through different channels.
Pulling a couple of strong quotes from a particular review or creating an eye-catching description is a great place to start. You’ll also want to make sure that whatever you’re posting includes how you solved someone’s problem with your product or service.
An often overlooked opportunity is solving a customer’s issue who publicly aired your company out on social media. Responding quickly and with superb customer service can showcase that you value user feedback.
Don’t Shy Away From Negative Reviews
Everyone will get a bad review every now and then, it’s simply one of the costs of doing business. Even the biggest and most lucrative companies in the world have suffered their fair share of critical reviews, and they’ll continue to get them no matter how successful they become.
Resist that immediate gut feeling of anger and frustration when you get a negative review. Kill them with kindness instead. When you see a bad review pop up on your site or a third-party site, make sure you address it promptly and do your best to resolve the issue. In many cases, the issue can be easily rectified.
Be genuine and always answer negative reviews promptly. Try to personalize your response by adding contact information such as an e-mail address or phone number as it adds authenticity to your online reputation.
Even if you can’t resolve the issue for some reason that is beyond your control, you’re inadvertently showing other potential customers that you’re willing to take responsibility for the issue by trying to help as quickly as possible.
Interestingly enough, Harvard Business Review found that businesses responding to negative reviews online actually resulted in better ratings overall.
One thing that is important to keep in mind is that customers are people too. While they want your product or service to do what it supposed to do, issues come up and your willingness to deal with it will help determine how people perceive you as a company.
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